When Gabriel de Jongh sat opposite Mr Brendon Grant at his Queen’s College admission interview he had only one question in return for his examiner, “Is golf still a sport at Queen’s College? I would like to earn a white blazer for it before I leave.”
His got the blazer and is now applying for honours. The matric pupil has had an excellent year thus far, being selected to the Border men’s side (although being U19), winning the Eastern Cape Districts open golf tournament and even scoring the all too rare albatross – three shots under par on one hole.
“The important thing for people who take part in sport is to set goals. Try to achieve those goals. Always keep your goal in mind and focus on what it is you need to do. Put in the hard work because nothing worthwhile comes easy,” said Gabriel’s dad, Tim de Jongh, who has been a steady guiding hand in his career.
Before Covid hit again and level 4 was reinstated, De Jongh was due to attend the National Order of Merit (Noom) for U19 which was to be held at the St Francis Links. The tournament had to be cancelled because of travel restrictions as most top junior golfers were based in Gauteng and could not make the trip to the Eastern Cape.
There will be a second bid to impress at the premier competition after falling out earlier this year at a Noom held at the Waterkloof Golf Club in Pretoria. “The greens at Waterkloof are rated as some of the fastest in the world. The Queenstown greens rate about eight, those at Waterkloof are 12. The fastest you get is 13. It takes a lot to adjust. Your short game in golf, chipping and putting, is really the most important,” said De Jongh.
At the moment he has shifted his attention back to school. He will have to seat out an invitation to the U19 Triangular IPT with Southern Cape & EP which will be in Port Elizabeth. He was also invited by the Border Men’s side again to represent them in their IPT. Both tournaments are in Septmeber.
“We are back from the holidays. It is a few more weeks before the trial exams and then the finals. Not much time left to play around at this time in my life.”
What comes next? “I just want to be more consistent. I definitely want to improve my mental strength. It is the downfall of a lot of golfers. When you are in the lead at a tournament you do not want to make a mess of it and fall.”
The plan is to study architecture at the University of Pretoria. He will also hopefully have a chance to take his game to the next level with a leading golfing university.
“They have a good setup and golfing range. We met with the director of golf when we were there for the U19 SA championships. Psychology in any sport is very important. In golf when you make a mistake you can lose your focus very quickly. I keep telling him ‘you have not reached your full potential’. I believe once he is exposed to that kind of level, he will reach his full level,” said De Jongh snr.
While many decisions are still to be made, the Sunshine Tour is definitely in the offing.