Soweto golfers eye PGA glory

2013-03-24 10:00

Two Pimville players have carved a niche in the professional ranks since they burst on to the Sunshine Tour scene.

Two local golfers Musiwalo Nethunzwi and Sipho Bujela are expected to be the main drawcards when the Soweto Festival of Golf tees off next month.

The festival to be staged at Pimville Golf Course from April 4 to April 6, is the first big event endorsed by the PGA to be staged in Soweto.

A field of 30 professional golfers from different clubs across the country will be competing.

Nethunzwi and Bujela, who hail from Pimville, are regular players on the course, also known as the Soweto Country Club.

They are eager to make their mark at their home course during the event, which also incorporates the Soweto Golf Cup.

Both have carved a niche in the professional ranks since they burst on to the Sunshine Tour scene three years ago.

Nethunzwi (24) is known by local golf enthusiasts as the future Tiger Woods of Soweto because of his long, straight drives on fairways.

He has made great strides on the greens this year as he played the entire rounds in the Vusi Ngobeni qualifying school and the Sunshine Tour qualifying school in January, finishing seventh and 36th respectively.

Although he missed the cuts in seven big events, Nethunzwi managed to give a good account of himself in early rounds before he bombed out of the contests.

Last year was a particularly wonderful one for the golfer and he enhanced his career highlights by winning the Free State and Northern Cape Open.

He was also awarded Springbok colours following a splendid showing during the Africa Zone VI international tournament played at Lilongwe Golf Club in Malawi.

Last week, Nethunzwi played in the Telkom PGA Championship qualifier in Joburg, where he scored 80.

Before that, he shot 71 in the Tshwane Open Qualifier in Pretoria.

Bujela (23), who came fourth in the Vusi Ngubeni qualifying school, has had his fair share of game time this year.

He has played in seven competitions, in which he scored well enough, although he failed to proceed to the next rounds.

But both players have what it takes to raise the level of their games to be victorious in Soweto.

Unfortunately, there will only be one victor at the end of the event.

No one is more upbeat about the players’ strengths and winning chances at the festival than their former coach, Zach Mavundla.

Nethunzwi and Bujela currently fine-tune their skills at the World of Golf academy in Midrand, Gauteng.

Mavundla said: “These boys are very good and I’m expecting them to do well. Unfortunately only one of them can win the trophy.

“The whole of Soweto will be pinning their hopes on them to do well.

“I recommended them to the high-tech World of Golf in Midrand to get top-class coaching after they matriculated about six years ago.”

And he believes they have the potential to put Soweto on the world map in future by winning a big tournament on tour, just like the veteran Vincent Tshabalala.

Tshabalala did his township, Alexandra, proud by winning the French Open in 1976, becoming the first black golfer to snatch a major tournament on the European circuit.

The Soweto Golf Cup has attracted a field of top PGA professionals competing for the championship crown.

Notable participants include current PGA Champion Rudy Whitfield, last year’s Order of Merit winner Kenneth Dube and Michael Michel, who is the current Order of Merit leader.

Rising stars of golf

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