The City of Joburg has placed a major focus on the development of young and talented transformation players. This initiative has given many young SA golfers instant access to play in the Joburg Open without having to make the prequalifying rounds.
The 2021 edition has afforded four talented golfers the opportunity to swing at Firethorn Course at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg. This year’s edition was officially kicked off by the newly elected City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, yesterday.
One of the players that City of Joburg has invited this year is 20-year-old Nikhil Rama, a young golfer from Randpark Ridge. He has just turned pro last year and now has a chance to play with some of the top golfers in the Sunshine and DP World Tour in this professional tournament.
The young man gave a top-drawer performance earlier this year, a week after his 20th birthday, by winning his biggest prize in a golf tournament to date, R32 000 in the Sunbet Challenge where he finished sixth overall.
The 2021 sponsors’ invitation has gone beyond SA boarders, with the invite being extended to Madalitso Muthiya, 39-year-old Zambian golfer who turned pro in 2006, among the other three that teed off yesterday. The other are Jacquin Hess. Thirty-one-year-old Hess is from Robertson in the Western Cape and turned pro in 2013 and James Bongani Kamte. The 39-year-old Kamte is from Humewood in Gqeberha.
“Over the years, we have maintained our objective of providing golfers from a previously disadvantaged background with a chance to experience for a first time, or to continue getting comfortable with playing at international tournament level.
“While this experience may be second nature for many other players, for transformation players it is not necessarily the case. This opportunity helps them get accustomed to settling and gaining experience. It goes a long way in improving their game and establishing their careers,” said Bongi Mokaba, City of Joburg Event Management Director and Tournament Promoter.
Rama looked impressive in his first round of the Joburg Open, posting a close of play score of 72, one over par, finishing ahead of three former tournament champions at the end of round one. His score at the end of round two today will determine whether he makes the cut to play in the final rounds this weekend.
Written by Luyanda Lunika