By Michael Vlismas
STANGER, KwaZulu-Natal (1 May 2017) – The little villages nestled amongst the rolling fields of sugar cane on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast already have a golfer they can be proud of. And now Thabiso Magwaza is hoping he can give them something more to talk about.
Magwaza teed off in Monday’s first round of the Oxigen Prince’s Grant National Amateur Invitational determined to take advantage of the invitation he has been given to one of South African golf’s premier amateur tournaments.
The 19-year-old golfer is a product of the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) and Umhlali Country Club’s joint development initiatives in this region.
And he’s hoping the experience of playing in the prestigious Oxigen Prince’s Grant National Amateur Invitational can see him follow in the footsteps of another golfer who started as a caddie in this region and who is now a Sunshine Tour professional.
Thanda Mavundla hails from nearby Mandeni and is a powerful example for Magwaza of what he can also achieve in the game.
“It inspires him and our other golfers a lot to see players like Thanda doing well in the game,” said Joseph Kunene, the KwaZulu-Natal Development Manager for the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB).
“They all follow the progress of players like Thanda very closely. The fact that Thanda comes from this region inspires them even more. When we identified Thanda he was a caddie. Then he became part of the SAGDB and now he’s up there on the Sunshine Tour.
“Thabiso is also a graduate from the SAGDB and is currently a member at Umhlali Country Club. Last year he won the Club Championships at Umhlali Country Club, and he’s been in the KwaZulu-Natal Golf Union’s Presidents Team for many years and also plays league golf for Umhlali.”
Kyle Kistensamy is another development golfer who joins Magwaza in this week’s Oxigen Prince’s Grant National Amateur Invitational.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to be exposed to such a big amateur event. They get valuable experience and they also know exactly what level they need to be at to succeed in this game,” said Kunene.