Soweto Golf Club makes history

2016-04-26 11:19
Pieter Kruger (Supplied)

Johannesburg - As the only township in South Africa to consistently host a professional golf tournament, the Soweto Golf Cup has made more history this year. For the first time it has been won by a professional golfer from outside Soweto.

Pieter Kruger, who runs the Colbyn Golf Park in Pretoria, won the recent 54-hole tournament with rounds of 68, 66 and 68 for a total of eight-under-par 202 on the par-70 Soweto Golf Club course.

Kruger beat Musiwalo Nethunzwi by seven strokes. His victory ended the dominance of the Soweto golfers over their tournament for the past three years. Nethunzwi won the first two Soweto Golf Cups, and last year Sipho Bujela took the title.

The tournament is supported by the PGA of South Africa, which invites its member professionals to compete.

A total of 25 PGA members and 5 Soweto professionals took part this year, including Theo Manyama, a Soweto local and the only rules official in Africa to have been invited to officiate at all of the four Majors.

For Jimmy Headbush, the promoter of the tournament, the greater significance of the tournament is its ability to grow the game in Soweto and support the local community.

“Soweto is such an iconic township, not just in South Africa but throughout the world. I don’t know of any other township in South Africa that has its own professional golf tournament. It’s important for us because it shows that golf is a game for everybody. We also use only Soweto service providers for the tournament for catering and so on. And we invite unemployed youngsters to come and caddie for the tournament,” said Headbush.

“The support we get from the PGA and our other sponsors is helping us to grow the tournament. South Africa has many champion golfers and they are doing well all over the world. So to have a tournament in Soweto, which is a big-name township, shows another side of our golf success.”

Soweto has consistently produced professional golfers that have qualified to play on the Sunshine Tour, from the days of pioneers such as Manyama, Cox Nhlapho, Vincent Tshabalala, Derrick Lekomo and Norman Mashaba to the younger generation of Bafana Hlophe, Mawonga Nomwa, Thabang Simon, Bujela and Nethunzwi.

One of Soweto Golf Club’s oldest active members is Dr Andrew Mlangeni, who spent over two decades on Robben Island.

“When Jimmy first approached the PGA regarding the Soweto Golf Cup we didn’t hesitate because it’s a wonderful vehicle for our members to showcase the sport of golf and interact with a very important part of the South African golf community,” said Ivano Ficalbi, Chief Executive Officer of the PGA of South Africa.

Read more on:    soweto  |  golf

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