Golfers struggle at Africa Amateur Champs 

Todd Parker in action at the Africa Amateur Championship. Photo: contributed

Namibia’s top amateur golfers failed to make an impression at the inaugural Africa Amateur Championship which was held at Leopard Creek Country Club in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province from 21 to 24 February. 

A total of 72 of the continent’s top amateur players competed at the event, but Namibians finished well down the field, with Kyle Johnson and Stefanus Bonifatius finishing 35th and 37th respectively. 

Johnson completed the 72-hole event with a 28-over par total of 316 after rounds of 78, 79, 76 and 83, while Bonifatius had a 32-over par total of 320 after rounds of 82, 75, 84 and 79. 

Three more Namibians, Kevin Wentzel, Todd Parker and Walter Heibeb, were also in action, but they all failed to make the cut and were disqualified after the first two rounds of play. 

Wentzel had a 22-over-par total of 166 after rounds of 82 and 84; Parker had a 23-over-par total of 167 after rounds of 82 and 85; and Heibeb had a 34-over-par total of 178 after rounds of 89 and 89.

Altin van der Merwe of South Africa won the title with a 13-under-par score of 275, after rounds of 69, 65, 71 and 70. 

Van der Merwe’s compatriots Christiaan Maas and Ivan Verster also finished on 275, but Van der Merwe won the three-way play-off with a birdie on the par-five 18th hole.

The victory gave Van der Merwe exemptions for the Amateur Championship at the Ballyliffin Golf Club in Ireland and the British Open at Royal Troon in Scotland, amongst others. 

“It’s awesome to be the new Africa Amateur Champion. It’s an unbelievable feeling but I don’t think it’ll kick in until later,” said Van der Merwe.

“The two competitors I played with are two great friends and we went back and forth throughout the day. I think all three of us had the lead at one stage. On the last hole I just pulled a blinder of an approach out and in the play-off I made a good two-putt. I can’t describe the feeling, it means everything to me,” he added. 

Golfers from 22 African nations competed in the event, which was dominated by South African golfers, who claimed seven of the top 10 positions.The first non-South African golfer was fourth-placed Matthew Bramford of Zimbabwe, who finished on a 10-under-par 278, and briefly led the tournament with a first round of 65. 

Some of the other competing nations from the SADC region included Zambia, Malawi, Eswatini, Mauritius, Angola, Botswana and Madagascar; and from further afield, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana, amongst others. 

The tournament also featured a women’s championship with 19 female golfers in action from South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Morocco. Here South Africans also dominated, taking the top three places and six of the top seven spots. 

Kyra van Wyk won the 54-hole competition with a one-under-par total of 215 after rounds of 72, 71 and 72, while Bobbi Brown came second on an eight-over par 224, and Gia Raad third on a nine-over par 225. 

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News