Thembelani Mweli held off final-round challenges from Usher Manel and Sandile Shange to claim a two-point victory in the 2018 Canon SA Deaf Junior Interprovincial at Magalies Park Golf Club (GC) on Thursday.
Mweli had been the man to beat throughout the event, having held sole possession of the lead over the first two days, thanks to rounds of 16 points and 12 points respectively. Teeing off on Magalies Park’s opening hole, Mweli’s playing partners Shange and Manel ensured the tournament was far from a foregone conclusion. Shange made a flying start which saw him make an astonishing 13 points over his first five holes. Though his challenge waned down the stretch, Shange can be pleased with his third-place finish.
By contrast, Mweli made a nervy start as he rung out his opening two holes. He displayed great character, however, to bounce back with eight points over his next three holes to maintain a slender advantage. The best was yet to come though as Mweli played the shot of the tournament on the par-3 8th, chipping in for par and four crucial points.
An up-and-down on the final hole for a further three points was the perfect way to cap a tremendous three days’ golf for Mweli. The Kwanthintwa pupil was over the moon with the victory and left no doubt over his aspirations for the 2019 Canon SA Disabled Golf Open.
“I feel very happy because when I chipped the ball in, everybody clapped hands and inside I felt so comfortable, proud and confident,” Mweli said.
“At school I am going to practice and focus because in 2019 I want to win!”
The success of an event such as this is attributed to the invaluable contributions made by a number of different parties. Canon South Africa, SADGA’s longest-serving sponsor, has once again thrown its weight behind the event to ensure a fun and memorable experience for all the children participating. Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive Dana Eitzen expressed her delight at the children’s attitude and was impressed by the quality of golf on display.
“We are once again heartened by the shows of sheer sportsmanship, passion and talent of the young players in the Junior Deaf Inter Provincials Golf Tournament,” says Eitzen.
“The level of talent and standard of play was exceptionally high, as was the spirit amongst the golfers. Congratulations to all of the players who participated; you flew the flags of your schools high.”
SADGA’s thanks must also go to Muis Lombard and the Magalies Park staff for making the SADGA staff and players feel at home over the past five days. To Pica Pau restaurant for the delicious meals each and every day. Finally to Volkswagen South Africa for helping us to transport the golfers safely to and from the event. We are grateful for the efforts of all of you in aiding the development of South African golf.
Final Leaderboard (Individual Stableford points)
- Thembaleni Mweli ─ 44
- Usher Manel ─ 42
- Sandile Shange ─ 40
- Ayakha Mdali ─ 37
- Sifiso Mdwebu ─ 29
Written by Craig Stirton on behalf of the SA Disabled Golf Association
Images by Warren Nicholas/ Canon South Africa