Signs of a golf prodigy in the making

2013-10-29 00:00

JANCO Vogel (12) spends most of his spare time at a golf driving range or on a course, as he builds a reputation as one of the country’s top golfers.

A Grade 6 pupil at Port Natal School, he started playing golf when he was five, first watching his father play and then deciding to have a go at hitting a ball.

He discovered he was more than a useful player and at the age of 10, started playing seriously and entering competitions.

He currently plays off a nine handicap and when he started entering junior competitions, he soon made people sit up and take note of someone who could be a blossoming golf prodigy.

“I practise every day of the week and play a round or two on weekends,” he said.

“I have big dreams and want to become a professional and play all the great courses overseas.”

His heroes are Ernie Els, Tiger Woods and Rory McIllroy, three of the biggest names in the sport, and massive role models to aspire to.

In October last year, Janco participated in a European qualifier event in Bronkhorstspruit. Needless to say, he qualified, and was invited to play in Scotland, jetting to the country in May for the European Challenge.

“It was amazing to play in another country but I am so used to South African conditions I struggled, battling to adjust to the climate,” said Janco.

“It was the experience that counted and it was what I needed to help me focus on my goal of becoming the Africa Challenge Champion.”

It was a case of mission accomplished for the young tamer of the greens and fairways, as he took on the challenge at the end of August at the Zebula Golf Estate, near Warmbaths.

“It was a huge event with a big opening ceremony and all the fanfare. I was ready and focused, finishing the first day six strokes off the leader,” he said. “Day two saw me shoot 74, which was enough to see me top the leaderboard. At the end of the day, I had a six-shot lead and just had to keep my cool to take the win on day three. There was no way I wanted to give up such a lead and I held on to claim the title.”

Since his win at the Africa Challenge, Janco won the U11 age group at the SA Kids Royal Durban Open last month. He is preparing to play in Malaysia in early December, a perfect start to his Christmas holidays.

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