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Teenager Betschart posts top-five finish in Orlando

Oliver Betschart (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Teenage golfer Oliver Betschart battled his way to an impressive top-five finish at the recent Rio Pinar Junior Open in Orlando, Florida.

The 14-year-old finished fourth in the 15-player field at the 54-hole event this week after carding rounds of 78, 76 and 77 to finish on 15-over in his first overseas appearance for the year.

After mounting a rally during the early stages of Monday’s final round, Betschart fell off the pace after failing to convert a string of birdie opportunities on the back nine.

“I played the front nine well. I was even on the turn and then made a couple of mistakes, which threw me off,” Betschart told The Royal Gazette. “Shooting 5 over on the back was disappointing.

“The course was narrow and tree-lined, so if you made a mistake off the tee you paid for it. The greens weren’t great and I feel I lost a bunch of shots there, but everyone plays the same course, so I know it is something that I need to keep working on.

“This is my first overseas event in about six months so I hope that I can build on this and get more experience.”

Darren Zhou, of Hong Kong, won the 14-15 boys’ title by a comfortable seven shots over China’s Yuma Nemoto with Florida resident Nicklaus Downing (220) rounding off the top three finishers.

Betschart enjoyed considerable success last year with three victories on the Southern Texas PGA Junior Golf Tour and another in a regional under-14 Swiss Golf-sponsored tournament in Lucerne. He also became the youngest player to win the Port Royal Golf Club Championship and made his debut on the Advocates Professional Golf Association Tour (APGA).

The youngster’s primary objective for the year is to qualify for the PGA Tour-sanctioned Butterfield Bermuda Championship, which he missed out on by a solitary shot at last October’s local qualifier at Port Royal, while he also hopes to gain vital American Junior Golf Association Ranking or World Amateur Golf Ranking points to gain entry into more overseas tournaments.

As well as working on his craft, the promising player is still coming to grips with his new set of clubs.

“I am still working in my new Titleist clubs, but it is coming along well,” Betschart said. ”I really like them, but I always have things to work on, mainly the yardages.

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Published February 23, 2023 at 7:50 am (Updated February 23, 2023 at 7:50 am)

Teenager Betschart posts top-five finish in Orlando

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