Cape school girl, Crystal a rising golf star

Crystal Beukes, a 16-year- old from Somerset West who is a rising star of South African golf, finished as the top girl and tied for 7 th overall at the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series tournament at Paarl Golf Club on Sunday 20 August 2017.

Crystal, who dreams of joining her hero Michelle Wie on the LPGA Tour, has come through the ranks of the SA Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and is 11th on the Women’s Golf SA (WGSA) Junior ranking list and 17th on the Senior list. A member of Stellenbosch Golf Course, she has been the women’s club champion for the past two years.

It was Shawn Adriaanse, manager of the Boland-region of the SAGDB, who suggested Crystal play in Paarl and she has become an instant fan, encouraging other junior golfers to enter the series.

“You mustn’t be afraid to play with better players, because it will improve your game,” she says.

The Bridge FM Junior Series juniorseries.bridgefm.co.za is an 18-event national junior golf development initiative sanctioned by GolfRSA, with the top two U19 golfers being flown to the USA to compete in the prestigious Junior North and South Championship in 2018.

“The Series is managed by the SAGDB and has a strong development angle,” says Paul Stewart, Executive Director at Bridge Fund Managers.

“So it is thrilling to see Crystal perform with such a competitive combination of skill and temperament. She is an impressive young woman with a sparkling future.”

Having narrowly missed out in Paarl, Crystal is looking forward to flying to Australia later this year for the Jack Newton International Junior Classic. “I am very grateful that golf is opening doors for me,” she says.

Crystal got her start in golf aged eight. “My brother Riaan played in junior events and I would tag along with my parents, so one day I thought I may as well start playing. I received lessons through the SAGDB and by nine I was competing,” she explains.

There have already been many highlights in her short career, but Crystal points to winning the Boland Senior Women’s Matchplay Championship last year, and pushing eventual winner Cara Gorlei to the 19 th hole at the SA Women’s Amateur Championship in 2017.

Academics are a priority as she aims to secure a golf scholarship to a US college; Crystal was top of her Grade 8 class at Hottentots Holland High and was awared a scholarship to Reddam House, Somerset Lakes, where she is excelling.

Golf is expensive, and Crystal is grateful for the SAGDB’s assistance with tournament entrance fees, transport and accommodation, as well as coaching and equipment. She is also thankful for the support she gets from her mom Norma and dad Franklin, as well as former coach Anna Becker and current coach William Guy.

Her golfing hero is US star Michelle Wie. “I am a fan because of her attitude,” Crystal explains.

“She went through a very bad patch, but is back playing brilliant golf. I admire her passion, of never giving up and knowing you are good enough to get back to the top.”

Next up for Crystal is the South Cape Championship in Mossel Bay, another step towards realising her dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.