Stop us if you’ve heard this before: A teenage golfer is hanging with some much older competition. Yes, golf’s youth movement has been a huge part of pro golf’s story in recent years, and this plot seems to be unfolding on the European Tour more than anywhere these days.
Last May, 14-year-old Yang Kuang made the cut at the Volvo China Open. An 18-year-old, Rasmus Højgaard, won the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open last month. And now, an 18-year-old amateur, Jayden Trey Schaper, sits one shot off the lead entering the weekend at the South Africa Open.
Drawing a pairing with his idol and the event’s defending champ, Louis Oosthuizen, Schaper has more than held his own, edging his fellow countryman by two shots through two days.
And the 2010 British Open champ has been impressed.
“Jayden’s got this wonderful ball flight off the tee with a little cut,” Oosthuizen told reporters after the first round. “A lot of the guys hit high draws for more distance but what Jayden has is pure class. We’ll be seeing him right at the top in the future.”
For now, see some of his highlights from Friday:
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland leads by one after 36 holes at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.
Not surprisingly, Schaper has dominated the junior and amateur golf circuits in his home country. He also won the AJGA Junior Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in September. Schaper is currently No. 85 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking—and climbing.