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Nethunzwi pleads for Soweto as he delights in home victory

5th March 2020

Nethunzwi pleads for Soweto as he delights in home victory

Musiwalo Nethunzwi says more professional golf tournaments should be staged at the recently-refurbished Soweto Country Club, where he won the Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi on the first playoff holes against James Kamte on Thursday.

Now, he leads a group of 15 players into the upcoming season of the Sunshine Tour.

“It would be great if we could have tournaments here,” said Nethunzwi of his desire to see more professional events being staged at his home course, “even if it’s just two tournaments in a season, even one – that would be great. This golf course has produced many good golfers. Bafana Hlophe is from here, Vincent Tshabalala who won the French Open, he was from here.”

Nethunzwi was three shots off the lead at the start of the final round, with Jacquin Hess leading as he had done from the start of the tournament. Gaining confidence because of the local support and the fact that neither of Hess nor James Kamte looked like they were running with it. He made par in the first and second holes before making a birdie on the par-five third. He didn’t make any gains but didn’t drop any shot until a birdie came, this time on the par-three 7th.

With the pressure mounting, Nethunzwi held on steady, making four straight pars in a determined effort to safeguard the gains he’d already made while going for victory himself.

“I did a good preparation coming into this week,” he revealed. “victory was always on my mind. I’m grateful to be the first one to win a professional tournament here. There are a lot of guys that are playing well here, the IGT (Tour) guys, the Big Easy (Tour) guys. When you come here, you’ve got to bring your A-game.

“This is the only chance you get. It comes once a year and if you don’t make it, you have to wait for a whole year. That comes with a lot of pressure. But I prepared well”

His back nine was just as similar, with birdies on the par-five 12th and the par-three 17th to sign for an error-free four-under 68. Hess fell away and Kamte threatened as did Thanda Mavundla. It was Kamte and Nethunzwi in the playoff, however, after they played to a share of the lead, with the former Nethunzwi winning it on the first playoff hole where Kamte made a double-drop.

“This is a marathon,” he said, “When we started on the first day it was raining and I had no rain-gear, I forgot it at home. I was happy with the 75 in round one. But, I told myself that this is a marathon and I don’t have to put myself under pressure because there are 54 more holes to play. Every day, my caddie and I went home and looked at my stats and we found I improved daily.

“In the playoff, I saw James hit it to the right and I knew there was no shot there. I have been hitting it to the left all week. When his second shot got caught by the tree, I told myself that anywhere on the green will do for me, take a five and walk away. He was never going to make a five there.”

Players who earned their Sunshine Tour cards: Musiwalo Nethunzwi, James Kamte, Irvin Mazibuko, Thanda Mavundla, Jacquin Hess, Alpheus Kelapile, Makhetha Mazibuko, Adriel Poonan, Yubin Jung, Siyanda Mwandla (a), Evance Vukeya, Dwayne Basson, Nikhil Rama, Lindani Ndwandwe, Sipho Bujela, Jason Diab.

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Hess in pole position at Vusi Ngubeni, Roets has thin lead at Houghton

3rd March 2020

Hess in pole position at Vusi Ngubeni, Roets has thin lead at Houghton

Jacquin Hess carded a second-successive two-under-par 70 to total four-under and takes a three-shot lead into the third round as he aims to retain his Sunshine Tour playing rights.

Hess was co-leader with James Kamte coming into the second round but played solidly to maintain his position at the top, while Kamte dropped to after shooting a four-over 74 second round at the tough Soweto Country Club.

Hess birdied the third, 12th and 13th holes but made a drop on the last holes to finish on two-under. Overtaking Kamte and now occupying the second spot is Thanda Mavundla whose eventful round consisted of two eagles, a birdie and three bogeys en route to a two-under 70 which took his tournament total to one-under.

The best score of the day, however, belonged to Alpheus Kelapile –  a four-under 68 –who now shares the third spot with Kamte at level-par while Irvin Mazibuko, Yubin Jung, Thabang Simon, Gerard du Plooy and Nikhil Rama share the fifth spot. They are one-over-par.

Over at Houghton Golf Club in the final stage of qualifying school, Jason Roets signed for a seven-under-par 65 second round and takes a one-stroke lead over Rupert Kaminski going into the round. Kaminski’s great form continued into this week, however, and on Tuesday, he shot the best score of the round – a 64, which took his tournament total to 12-under and just a single shot off Roets’ lead.

Tied in a share of the third spot is PH McIntyre after he carded a round-two six-under 66. He, along with American Brooklin Bailey who played solidly in the opening round, and Byron Coetzee is on 10-under-par for the week and trails by just three shots.

Divan van den Heever and Gordon Neale share the sixth spot on a tournament total of nine-under.

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Auto Draft 108

2nd March 2020

Hess, Kamte lead in Soweto while play is suspended at Houghton

The Vusi Ngubeni Tournament presented by the Sunshine Tour and Petrus Kleinbooi got underway at Soweto Country Club in Pimville, Soweto, on Monday and experienced campaigner, James Kamte co-leads after the first round.

He signed for an opening round of 70, tying that score with Jacquin Hess, and the two of them sit pretty at the top with a two-stroke lead at the end of round one.

Kamte started off nicely, making four birdies in his first four holes of the day and kept things steady on the front nine to turn in 31 and error-free. His solid run continued on the homeward nine, picking up birdies on the 10th and 12th holes before trouble began.

A double-bogey on the par-four 13th hole marked the beginning of problems for the member of the Gary Class, Kamte, and one hole later, another unwanted bogey got onto his card before making another on the last to undo the great work he’d done on the front nine.

Hess’ round was a little different to Kamte’s in that while Kamte started like a house on fire, Hess was slow off the mark, making six pars in a row to get started. He made a bogey on the seventh, and that was soon followed by another dropped shot on the ninth to spell an unhappy front nine for the Robertson Golf Club member.

At two-over-par after nine holes, Hess knew he had to turn things up on the back nine and that’s exactly what he did. He picked up an important birdie on the par-five 10th and that was followed by three more one after the other as he went on to sign for a 70 to co-lead with Kamte by two shots.

Meanwhile, the final stage of Qualifying School also got underway at Houghton Golf Club. Dangerous weather conditions forced play to be suspended for at least two hours as lightning and thunder hit the area very early on Monday morning.

Eventually, play resumed and surprisingly low scores emerged, with American Brooklin Bailey firing on all cylinders in round one. He signed for a blemish-free seven-under-par 65 to lead by two under tough weather conditions.

He opened his round with a birdie on one and after three straight pars, back-to-back birdies found their way onto his scorecard. After making the par on the seventh, bailey found joy again, birdieing the eighth to turn in 32.

Pars from the ninth to the 12th steadied his round as the weather conditions were getting tougher with the rain seemingly refusing to subside. On 13, Baily found another birdie and that was followed by another, a hole later, before closing off with another birdie to sign for a bogey-free opening round.

Keagan Thomas was six-under through nine holes and looked set to unseat Bailey from the summit of the leaderboard but play was suspended again because of bad light.