After winning the Prince’s Grant National Amateur Invitational, NMMU’s Luke Jerling is ready for a follow-up victory in the Challenge Cup, which takes place in Johannesburg from May 16 to 20.
Jerling, a 23-year-old lefthander, is a key member of the University Sport SA side.
“It feels good to be chosen for a team knowing that you have performed well enough to be selected,” said Jerling.
“I have not seen the team sheets yet, but I can only imagine that Central Gauteng will have a really strong side.”
Six representative teams will be competing in the Challenge Cup.
Jerling, a KPMG NMMU Golf Club member, attended Sunridge Primary and Grey High and invested hours on the Londt Park driving range as a child.
Continued encouragement from his father propelled Jerling on a path through the provincial junior ranks, culminating in him winning the national U19 match play title and being selected for the Junior World Cup in Japan in 2010.
He went on to receive a scholarship from Lamar University in Texas and played at the highest level in US college golf.
“After finishing my undergraduate degree in finance, I moved back to PE to do a post-graduate diploma to learn more about the financial sector.”
Jerling said that the Prince’s Grant victory had bolstered his confidence after a challenging past three years.
“I went through a major slump during my last few years in America.
“I got to the point where I was questioning my abilities and whether I still wanted to play competitively.
“That’s why the win was particularly important.”
He is targeting a place in the top 10 of the national amateur rankings, a prelude to trying to earn a spot in the Sunshine Tour qualifying school in December.
Jerling, who arrived back home in September last year, acknowledged his parents and coach Graeme Whale as major influences in his career.
“My parents have always been there for me. And without Graeme my game would definitely not be where it is now.”
The Challenge Cup will be held at Parkview Golf Club, where the students will face the Saga Junior and Presidents teams, Western Province, Gauteng North and Central Gauteng.