Post-Covid and for the first half of last year, Randpark’s teenage golf star, Johan Bredenkamp was regularly winning junior tournaments at home here in South Africa, quickly shooting up to the No 4 spot in the national rankings. Then he went to America in August, to Tyler Junior College (TJC) not far from Dallas in Texas, to study over there and play college golf. His talent at making birdies was immediately evident and he earned himself the No 2 berth on TJC’s college team. But, according to his father and well-known Randpark member Rouan Bredenkamp, Johan had a setback in January when that month’s icy weather caused havoc all over America. “There was no golf for a while as going outside was just not on and Johan unfortunately broke his toe while playing soccer inside in a dormitory,” Rouan explained.
“When it warmed up and there was golf again, Johan was unable to take part in the team trials because of his broken toe and – as policy dictated – couldn’t be considered for the side.”
When the injury healed and he was able to play again, there were of course no college tournaments for him because he wasn’t on the team. So he opted to enter a few events in the Dallas area which were part of the nationwide American Amateur Tour Series. And, as was the case in South Africa last year, his name was soon on top of leaderboards again. In the Creek Run Classic in Fort Worth, in a line-up of 86 golfers, he shot 71 to win by two shots. Then, on his 20th birthday, he shot the lights out in the Mansfield Invitational at Mansfield Country Club with a brilliant 66, made up of five birdies, an eagle and just one bogey. There were 76 players and this time Johan won by four! What a birthday present! Tyler Junior College took note, of course, and are pretty sorry that policy had dictated he couldn’t be on their team.
Fortunately, this is only a temporary measure as in the middle of May, Johan returns to South Africa during the American colleges’ mid-term break (while here at home he plans to take part in a few Bushveld Classic and Big Easy Tour events) and after that, he’ll be back at TJC for the next semester and will again be eligible for team selection.
Johan started swinging a plastic golf club at, believe it or not, just 11 months old. As he grew up phenomenal all-round ball skills soon became evident. At primary school he excelled in cricket and rugby and at high school – Trinity House Randpark Ridge – he continued to do well at cricket. But golf ultimately prevailed over team sports. And a highlight last year was getting to the final of the Western Province Match Play at Royal Cape before losing out to British Amateur and South African Strokeplay champion Aldrich Potgieter.
An exceptionally long hitter with a super sharp short game and a right-hand above left-hand “reverse” grip, Johan aims to turn professional one day. “But first,” says Rouan (also a hot golfer incidentally), “he needs to complete his studies at TJC as a backup in life.” Sensible thinking, Dad.
Then, time will tell of course, but Randpark’s talented Johan Bredenkamp looks to be heading for the top in golf.
Written by Randpark member Grant Winter
Photo: Johan Bredenkamp – Winner : Creek Run Classic in Fort Worth Texas & Winner : Mansfield Invitational at Mansfield CC Texas