Twenty-one-year-old Johannesburg golfer Haydn Porteous became R2.6- million richer after winning the 2016 Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Linksfield North.
The young man's top-drawer performance, which saw him peel off a 210-strong field of local and international golfers to finish three-under 69, was greeted with glee by Acting Johannesburg Mayor Councillor Mally Mokoena. MMC Mokoena said Porteous's victory demonstrated that the future of golf in Johannesburg was in good hands.
"Johannesburg is a world-class African city. It's the home of champions who are fearlessly taking on the world. The future seems bright for youngsters like Haydn," she said as she handed him the trophy. Porteous’s nearest rival was fellow South African Zander Lombard, who celebrated his 21st birthday last month. Lombard finished second after a 71, which included four birdies and three bogeys. He pocketed R1.8-million for his efforts."
"Porteous’s friend, 22-year-old Brandon Stone, was the winner of the South African Open last month. Brandon and I have been playing against each other and trying to beat each other since we were kids. Watching a contemporary of mine win gave me the belief I could do the same. "Words can’t describe how I feel. It’s surreal to be honest,” he said. Porteous has won many amateur tournaments, including the South African Stroke Play awards in 2012 and 2013. He was the top-ranked golfer when he turned professional in 2013.
This year's Joburg Open’s three top-ranked players - including England’s Anthony Wall, who finished third after a 72 - have also earned their place in the 145th British Open at Royal Troon in July. Stone finished in the 28th position while Ernie Els, who was playing in the Joburg Open for the first time, was placed a distant 44th after struggling to find his rhythm.
Moulding Jozi’s future golf champs
Enoch Dineka experienced a life changing moment last month. This is the day when the 18-year-old Grade 11 Alexandra golf enthusiast was, courtesy of the City of Johannesburg, shown the finer points of the game by US-based professional golfer John Hahn during a golf development clinic at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Linksfield North.
Dineka was one of 50 learners from Alexandra High School who received guidance and tips from some of the local and international golfers taking part in the 10th edition of the prestigious Joburg Open being hosted by the City. Dineka, who started learning how to play golf at the age of 12, could not hide his elation as Hahn took him through the paces during the tournament.
“John was very patient with me. He even autographed a golf ball for me. I’ll be the envy of my classmates tomorrow,” he said. Also in the group was 15-year-old Monica Mahlangu, who dreams of turning professional and becoming a megastar one day.
“I love the sport. It’s not violent like most sports and I want to represent South Africa one day and make a living from it,” she said. The young golfers’ coach, former professional Obed Matlou, said his biggest wish was to see an Ernie Els or Tiger Woods emerging from Alexandra.
“Besides teaching these kids about the rules of the game, I also warn them not to be big headed. I’ve got rough diamonds and I know that soon one of them will hit the fairways in a big way,” said Matlou.
Bongi Mokaba, the City of Johannesburg’s Director of Events, said the City was planning to inject more resources into the development of golf in disadvantaged communities. She encouraged the youth to use the development clinic to learn as much as possible.
“We’ve been staging the development clinic for the past nine years. We need to ensure that these young learners someday turn out to be professional golfers themselves. For some it might be too late but there are other career opportunities they can tap into in professional golf,” she said.
There were shrieks of joy when Mokaba handed over 10 new golf club sets to Matlou, with the promise of more goodies to come in the future.