Musiwalo shines at Houghton
Of the three amateurs who played in the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s opening tournament at Houghton Golf Club, Musiwalo Nethunzwi was the one to rise to the occasion and claimed a share of third place.
“It feels great to be here and I’ve gained a lot of experience. It was impressive to see the level of the players and how consistent they are, and my confidence is extremely high now,” he said.
Nethunzwi, a South African Golf Development Board graduate who now attends the Gary Player School of Champions, shot rounds of 68 and 70 to finish at six-under-par, sharing third with professionals Ruan de Smidt and Mark Williams.
Central Gauteng Golf Union president William Lucas was very proud of the youngster. “We knew he could play, but we have plenty of young talent. He has taken himself above by dedicating himself and we are preparing him for 54-hole professional golf. He attends the Gary Player School of Champions in Woodmead on a scholarship, and there he receives coaching.
“This is not the first time he has risen to the occasion. Musiwalo was selected to play in the Interprovincial and he went on to win four out of his five matches,” said Lucas.
Nethunzwi, who plays out of Soweto Country Club, surprised even himself, and added: “I’ve been playing well since last year. Over the last four holes I had one-putts. It was impressive, it was great!” He said.
He teed off the first round alongside Big Easy Tour Maccauvlei winner Divan Gerber and SV Nhlapho, yet the amateur outclassed them both and reached the clubhouse at four-under.
During the second round he was matched with South Africa’s leading amateur Brandon Stone and Sunshine Tour veteran Chris Williams. “It was nice playing with such experienced players and I’ve learnt some things from them,” said Nethunzwi.
The invitations came about through the Sunshine Big Easy Tour, which has committed 40 spots for amateurs over the course of its 10 tournaments this season, and the season-opener also hosted amateurs Stone and Conway Kunneke.
Stone added a respectable 74 to his first-round 68 and shared 10th at two-under-par. The youngster, who won the Freddie Tait Trophy for the leading amateur at the South African Open Championship last year, teed off with Nethunzwi in the final round, and there may be a great rivalry on the horizon of golf in South Africa.
Kunneke was the third and final amateur to receive an invitation, but it was not his first Big Easy Houghton event. The Irene Country Club player also received an invitation to last year’s tournament, where he finished in a share of 25th.
He once again kept pace with the professionals and finished in a share of 33rd, outclassing 52 in the field.