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Record turnout for sixth edition of Malta Junior Open

Young golfers pose for a commemorative photo at the Malta Junior Open. Photo: Malta Golf Association

99 young golfers from 23 countries take part in ranking tournament

In a remarkable display of youthful talent and international camaraderie, an astounding 93 young golfers from 22 different countries, alongside six local participants, gathered in Malta to partake in the esteemed 6th edition of the Malta Junior Open. Endorsed by the R&A and contributing to the World Amateur Golf Ranking points system, the event promised an exhilarating showcase of skill and sportsmanship.

The competition, conducted over 54 holes, followed a medal stroke play format, with the coveted title bestowed upon the player boasting the finest gross aggregate score. Embracing inclusivity, the tournament featured three distinct categories catering to under-21, under-18, and under-16 age brackets.

Notably, gender equality was paramount, ensuring equitable recognition for both male and female champions within each category. Moreover, the joint victors of the Malta Junior Open were exclusively drawn from the under-18 division as according to the terms of the competition, Katharina Schroll and Yves Koller were declared winners.

Of the 99 entrants, comprising 56 boys and 43 girls, formidable handicaps underscored the calibre of talent on display. Noteworthy figures included handicaps of +6.5 and +4.0 for leading male contenders, juxtaposed with +3.1 for their female counterparts.

Impressively, 24 competitors boasted handicaps superior to scratch, while an additional 33 showcased handicaps better than 5.0, setting the stage for a fiercely contested tournament.

Despite an auspicious start under favourable weather conditions, the ensuing days bore witness to formidable challenges, with blustery winds testing the mettle of competitors.

Out of a total of 297 scores tallied over the tournament’s duration, a mere sixteen managed to achieve level par 68 or better, with only two aggregating scores dipping below par. Notably, these sub-par performances emanated exclusively from male competitors, highlighting the demanding nature of the course.

In the under-21 category for girls, Laura Mizlerova of the Czech Republic emerged triumphant, securing a commanding six-shot lead over compatriot Nela Travnickova. Meanwhile, in the under-21 boys’ division, Timotej Formanek of the Czech Republic, clinched victory with a commendable four-under-par aggregate, fending off stiff competition from French prodigy Maxime Lam.

Elena Duduleanu of Austria showcased unwavering resilience en route to clinching the under-16 girls’ category title, while Maltese player Noah Gratil staged a captivating comeback to claim top honours in the corresponding boys’ division.

Two Austrian prodigies, Schroll and Koller, emerged triumphant in the fiercely contested under-18 categories for girls and boys.

In a subsidiary Stableford competition for its Eagle players held by the RMGC Junior Academy, local talent Mark Ganado distinguished himself by clinching the coveted prize for the best net score.

As the tournament drew to a close, organisers extended heartfelt gratitude to sponsors, volunteers, and patrons for their unwavering support, cementing the event’s status as a resounding success.

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