November 2018

Cole Stevens (right) with his playing partners at the
Junior Olympics in a cold Argentina.

Cole cherishes Olympic experience

He didn’t quite reach the goals he set for himself, but the SAGDB's Cole Stevens will have gained an enormous amount from his performance at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina. The GolfRSA National Squad member was selected with Kaiyuree Moodley to represent South Africa at the event and he came away with a wealth of experience.

After an opening 75 and second round 72, Cole closed with a 10-over-par 80 to finish 21st on his own on 17-over 227. Moodley followed earlier rounds of 77 and 81 with a final round 76 to grab a share of the five-way for 22nd on 234.

“Kai and I both aimed for top 10 finishes and we both came up short,” said Stevens. “We set our expectations too high and we were both bitterly disappointed, but when we talked it through after the round, we realised that the chance to compete against the best juniors in the world was amazing and the experience outweighed the disappointment one hundred fold.

“I was excited to start the final round after a much better second round, but the final round was a train wreck. The wind was pumping and my putter was colder than the weather. I started with seven straight pars, but I couldn’t convert any of my birdie chances.

“I hit my driver right at the eighth and my second into the bush, so I had to take an unplayable and turned two-over after a double. I dropped shots at 10 and 11, and had another double at 14. More bogeys at 15 and 17 and another double at 16 when I hit my driver out of bounds.

“It definitely wasn’t the final round I hoped for, but I learned a lot. You can’t compete at this level without an A-game, and I wasn’t at my best. I battled with chipping and putting and on the final day, I let myself down with the driver.

“On the positive side, it was fantastic to play against top juniors and a golf course that is so different from anything we play at home. The course is incredibly tight and the greens are really small and play hard and fast. It was a challenge to try and figure out how to score on the course.