SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']

16th October 2023

Scholtz enters Blue Label winner’s circle with Killarney triumph

Marcel Steyn Scholtz shrugged off a double-bogey on the 12th hole and marched to his maiden Tour victory in the Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament held at Killarney Country Club on Monday.

He shot an inspired three-under-par 67 to claim a one-shot victory over the duo of Keegan McLachlan and Therion Nel to win his first tournament as a professional. Interestingly, Scholtz never played golf as a junior but began to take the sport seriously in 2017 when he was 23 years old. Before then, he was a rugby player at university.

“I am really stoked to have my first win as a professional,” said Scholtz after his round. “As a child growing up in Limpopo I used to dream of playing professional golf but I never I never had the opportunity to play as a youngster. I just played social golf.

“But, when I finished my degree I was in a good place mentally and physically and that’s when I thought I should take golf seriously. Today, I am happy I made that decision. For some this may be a small win but for me it’s huge because of where I come from. So, I want to say thank you to the Sunshine Tour and Blue Label for making these tournaments for us.”

En route to this memorable win at Killarney, Scholtz fired in a bogey-free 32 on the front nine of this par-70 layout. He made birdies on the second hole, the par-five fifth and the eighth holes to turn with an unblemished scorecard.

Then the round was suspended due to an approaching storm.

Coming home, the 29-year-old Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate made another birdie on 11 but a double on the 12th threatened his progress. Scholtz steadied himself, making back-to-back pars in the next two holes. He found his groove again on the 15th, a par-five, and made further gains to finish his round on three-under 67 and go home victorious.

“I gave myself a lot of chances today,” he said. “This is a good golf course and you need to place it well off the tee. The approach shots are also very important here if you want to give yourself a chance on the greens. But the key for me was in and around the greens. I rolled in a few nice putts today and that was down to creating good opportunities for myself. That was my goal today; to create as many opportunities for myself and I did that well.

“A win is a win, no matter what tournament you are playing. For me, this win comes at the right time and I think it will give me confidence going into Wild Coast this week.”

Scholtz is in the field of the Sunshine Tour’s Wild Coast event this week and following his win in testing weather conditions, he will have every right to look forward to what that tournament brings.

“When the wind was up this morning, I played nicely and I was controlling the ball nicely,” Scholtz noted. “I was hitting good shots and shaping them the way I wanted. I think that is important at Wild Coast. The way you shape your shots and controlling your ball flight and the spin is very important because of the weather there. But, I will be ready and I am looking forward to going at it again.”

The Blue Label Development Tour is another Sunshine Tour initiative designed to afford players more playing opportunities.

SHARE ON: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']

For the Love of Golf and Law: Motsa’s Balancing Act

The game of professional golf is challenging, demanding, and often frustrating, and juggling that with any other profession becomes a tall order for many. In certain instances, for some individuals, both professions tend to suffer if not well taken care of.

Enter Ricco Motsa.

The 49-year-old member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class is a multi-tasking master. Motsa, born and raised in the rural areas of Barberton, is not just a regular professional golfer. He is also a practicing lawyer, boasting two law firms; one in Alberton and the other in Nhlazatshe near Badplaas.

“I was admitted as a lawyer in 2005,” Motsa revealed ahead of his tee-off time in this week’s Blue Label Development Tour’s one-day tournament at Killarney Country Club on Monday. “I have, for the better part of my life, known only law. As a youngster, I was not exposed to golf.

“After matric, I was fortunate enough to do my first law degree which took me four years and later on, I did my second degree in LLB at Vista University. Obviously, for me, law comes first because it pays the bills, but both professions are like two employers demanding equal attention.”

Motsa’s golfing journey didn’t begin until July of 2013. His brother, Sifiso, introduced him to the gentlemen’s game, and after a few outings as an amateur, Motsa met professionals Thabang Simon and James Kamte, who were already household names in the local golfing scene.

“I got very close to Thabang, and he did a lot to help me with my game,” he added, “and later my brother convinced and motivated me to enter the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament, and as they say, the rest is history.”

Motsa turned professional in 2022, and having now attained his Sunshine Tour playing card, Motsa’s biggest challenge was to begin. While he already had a busy schedule thanks to his work, professional golf brought its demands and forced Motsa into a strict time-management regime.

“My daily routine starts at 4 am, even if I have a tournament,” revealed Motsa, “I must start at the office first and then go for practice before starting a tournament. I always worry if I have a tournament only to find that the court sent me a hearing date. I am so worried about double bookings. So, the biggest challenge for me is that I have no control over the dates of either a tournament or a court case.”

Despite his hectic schedule, Motsa remains inspired and committed to both professions. Having been exposed to the strict demands of courts and judges, Motsa thrives under the pressure that comes with golf in particular.

“I know very well that talent alone is not enough,” he says. “Hard work is vital. Fortunately, law taught me to read a lot, and judges would want heads of arguments to be submitted before 5 a.m. in some cases. So this helped me to accept the challenges in golf.”

In golf, however, challenges never end. As a member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, the Sunshine Tour’s transformation initiative aimed at providing more support – technical and financial – to the players of color, Motsa understands the struggles that come with professional golf for previously disadvantaged communities.

His dream is to see more players of color being given adequate opportunities to play and proper support to grow within the game.

“I wish to see players of color being afforded help and be encouraged to work hard, but players also need to take criticism and take responsibility for their careers,” he says. “I get so much inspiration from the players of color when we play on Tour.

“We have formed an association called the Professional Golfers of Colour Association. We all contribute money into one pool and then use it to cater for our accommodation and travelling on tour as members. This is one of my biggest inspirations, and I feel like we have become brothers, and I love that brotherhood.”

Motsa isn’t just an inspiration to the young boys and girls from his rural village in Barberton; he is a shining light to fellow members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class and is a personification of hard work and determination.

While his may seem to be an impossible balancing act, Motsa’s willpower and impeccable work ethic are nothing short of inspirational, and many youngsters could benefit from role models of his nature.