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Golf | SA

Jack Wagner © Gallo Images

Bold Wagner in Beautiful form



American actor Jack Wagner laid down a marker to the rest of the field in this weekend’s Gary Player Invitational, presented by Coca-Cola, when he overcame a new course and a strong wind to shoot a round of level par in the official Pro-Am at Zimbali Country Club on Friday.

Wagner, a scratch golfer who qualified for a golf scholarship at the University of Arizona before he took up a drama scholarship instead, showed exactly why he was voted Golf Digest’s top celebrity golfer.

“It was great out there. It wasn’t too long and we had fun,” said the Bold and Beautiful star. “In Los Angeles there are a bunch of us who have charity golf days and we all play in each other’s days. But to take my game internationally and come over to South Africa for golf is just great. And to help Gary Player raise funds for charity is even better.”

This is the first time Wagner, who has been a scratch golfer for most of his life, has met Player. “Very rarely do you run into people who have made a name for themselves that can authentically sit and have a real conversation about humanity and life. I had a great conservation with Gary about such issues. I hadn’t met him before this, but I already feel like I know him after just a few minutes chatting to him.”

Irish pop star Brian McFadden found the secret for his game going into the weekend of this 36-hole charity tournament.

“Ladies clubs,” he said. “I was brilliant in the Pro-Am, and my trick is I borrowed two ladies clubs – a 5 wood and 4 wood. For some reason I can hit them. So instead of my pitching wedge I was hitting this lady’s 5 wood, and it was landing like a pitching wedge. So that’s my secret -- playing with ladies clubs. I think for the weekend I might even get a pink ball and that trophy could be mine.”

“This is such a great experience, and it makes you want to give back even more and try and raise some good money here. We went on the charity visit to WildlandsSA and Wings and Wishes, and it’s amazing to see the good work they’re doing.

“It’s good to see the people themselves taking initiative and fighting for themselves a bit. Normally with charity it’s just about giving, but these people are actually doing something themselves to make a difference.”

It proved a good day for most of the golfers, with South African Olympic swimming champion Cameron van der Burgh even declaring, “Considering golf is now an Olympic sport, I might drop the swimming and give that a go now. But seriously, this is just such a great opportunity for all of us to come out here and pay it forward.”

“Golf draws a lot of financial support, and there’s no better way to use that than for charity. It’s inspired me to start my own charity organisation. And to see someone like Gary Player run such a successful foundation globally is something I can aspire to for my own.”

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