Glacier Juniors united against cancer
Four junior golfers from Gauteng were thrilled to carry the torch for the Glacier Junior Series golfers at this year’s Sanlam Cancer Challenge Finals, held at Sun City in October.
Boksburg golfer Ryno Daniels, Jacques Oelofse from Springs, Potchefstroom’s Zander Botha and Clifford Thompson from Pecanwood earned their passage to compete in Africa’s largest charity golf tournament when their names were drawn from all the junior golfers who played in this year’s 25-tournament series hosted by Glacier by Sanlam.
As VIP guests of Sanlam, the four juniors competed in a separate Delegates competition, but the four teenagers enjoyed the chance to interact with the 108 Sanlam Cancer Challenge finalists, who had a profound impact on their experience.
“I think before the tournament the chance to play the two championship courses at Sun City was a big draw card for us, but our perspective changed almost immediately when we were told during the opening function that more than 32 000 golfers participated in this year’s Sanlam Cancer Challenge,” said 14-year-old Thompson.
“It was amazing to hear how many people took a stand against cancer and helped Sanlam to break their target of R3-million. We were also surprised to see how many junior golfers like us qualified for the final. They were really inspiring.”
The teenagers were especially impressed by Michaela Fletcher, winner of the Women’s A-Division and Overall Winner of the Women’s competition.
“Michaela is just 16, the same age as Zander and I,” Oelofse said. “She told us her grandmother and uncle died of cancer and she entered the Sanlam Cancer Challenge in honour of them and to encourage more juniors to take a stand against cancer.
“I hope we can do the same and inspire more junior golfers to take part next year.”
Pecanwood’s Thompson outdrove his peers in the second round of the Delegates Competition to win the Longest Drive competition.
The diminutive 14-year-old split the fairway at the par-five seventh, driving his tee shot 305 metres to win the Men’s Longest Drive competition at the Lost City golf course.
“The Gary Player and Lost City courses had been on my bucket list of dream golf courses to play for a long, long time and now I’ve ticked that box,” said the four-handicap golfer.
“I was also really glad that I got the chance to play in this tournament for my dad’s good friend, Paul Buckley, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
“I know Ryno, Jacques, Zander and I will enter the Sanlam Cancer Challenge next year but I hope we inspire a lot of juniors to take up this cause and join us against the fight against cancer.”
Sanlam set themselves their highest target yet of raising R3-million and The tournament’s popularity was well and truly defined by the overwhelming number of clubs around the country responded to the call.
“Some clubs even held raffles, auctions and other fund-raisers to help Sanlam reach their goal and there was a lot of excitement when they announced that they raised R3 174 098 for the Cancer Association of South Africa.” said Botha.
“I think that proud moment belonged to the 32 163 golfers that participated in this year’s tournament and we will be proud to be among those golfers next year.”