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Jarvis makes his mark

He turned pro a year ago following a stellar amateur career.

State Mines Country Club’s Casey Jarvis has become the second youngest person, at age 19, to shoot 59 or lower in a 72-hole tournament on one of the major professional tours.

He is the first to shoot a genuine 59 on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.

The Sunshine Tour rookie’s 13-under-par round came at Dainfern recently, in the third round of the Stella Artois Players Championship. He enjoyed seven consecutive birdies from 2 to 8 to turn in 29, then two eagles at 12 and 17 (holing his second on this par 4) plus another two birdies.

“I stood on the par-5 18th needing a birdie for 58. I hit a bad drive, so now had to worry about making par for 59. It’s so tough to do,” said Jarvis.

The youngest to have broken 60 was 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa who in 2010 enjoyed a 12-under 58 in the final round to win The Crowns tournament on the Japan Tour.

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The youngest to break 60 on the PGA Tour was Justin Thomas (23). The Sunshine Tour’s first 59, by Peter Karmis, happened in Swaziland in 2009.

There were two 59s in the Nelson Mandela Championship at Mount Edgecombe in 2013, but those rounds by Colin Nel and Jorge Campillo were not recognised as the course had been shortened due to weather conditions.

Jarvis turned pro a year ago following a stellar amateur career. He won the double of SA Amateur and SA Strokeplay in 2020, the Freddie Tait Cup (SA Open) in 2020, back-to-back African Amateur titles in 2021-22, and Northern Amateur Strokeplay in 2021.

At age 15 he shot 27-under at State Mines, including a 61, to win the 72-hole Ekurhuleni Open by 11 shots.

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Jarvis tied for second at Dainfern with a 24-under total and is still looking for his first Sunshine Tour victory, having previously been a runner-up in the PGA at St Francis Links and SDC Open at Zebula. His earnings are almost R2.1m.

Dainfern saw a tour record-breaking 30-under total by Kyle Barker, who finished with a 61 to win.

Barker and Jarvis had 57 birdies and four eagles between them. The average score by the field was 69.9 (1800 birdies, 99 eagles from 403 rounds), making it the easiest course on the Sunshine Tour this summer, edging Steyn City (70.04 with 2040 birdies, 56 eagles from 468 rounds).

The toughest were Euphoria (73.0), decided over 54 holes, and St Francis Links (72.74).

There have now been 18 recorded rounds of 59 or lower in South Africa. Only four have been in tournaments.
Colin Nel has had three, and Louis Oosthuizen two.

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