Sondashi Wins Inaugural Windhoek Lager Africa Jacket Challenge

Mwalikwa Sondashi of Zambia won the inaugural Windhoek Lager Africa Jacket Golf Challenge in Windhoek on Saturday with a score of 217 over three rounds at the Windhoek Golf and Country Club.

Namibia’s Paul Ndeilenge finished second, seven shots behind on 224, while David Masole of Botswana finished a distant third on 238.

Ndeilenge gave Sondashi a good run for his money and after two rounds was only one shot behind the Zambian.

Ndeilenge’s challenge however faltered when he shot 77 over the final round, compared to Sondashi’s final round of 71.

Gerald Shwabane of Zimbabwe finished fourth overall on 248 and Dikgang Lemogang of Botswana finished fifth overall on 252.

Amateur golfers from five southern African nations competed in the inaugural Windhoek Lager Africa Jacket Golf Challenge, with the regional winners qualifying for the final in Windhoek last weekend.

Keenan Breda of Zimbabwe won the B Division with a score of 245 over three rounds, followed by John Vermeulen of Namibia (252) and Boyd Kapalamoto of Zambia (256), while Stefanus van der Merwe of Namibia won the C Division with a score of 279, followed by Larry Vickerman of South Africa (282) and Jasper Sematlho of Botswana (284).

Botswana won the team competition with a total score of 734, followed by Namibia on 776, Zimbabwe on 782 and South Africa on 817.

At the prize giving ceremony on Saturday night, Ian Stevenson of Namibia Breweries, who initiated the competition, said it had become a reality within a matter of months.

“This competition turned from a dream into reality within seven months. We launched it on 7 November 2013 and now here we stand at the completion of the first championships.”

The president of the Namibia Amateur Golf Union, Marco Swartz thanked Namibia Breweries, saying that the competition played an important developmental role.

“Our task is to promote and administer golf in Namibia but the most important task is to develop the game and to make golf accessible to those who are following…

In March 2013, Ian put the idea on the table which I wholeheartedly welcomed because it was a completely new and wonderful idea,” he said.

“We need to grow golf and through this competition, we allow golfers from the region to participate in one competition for the same prize. This relationship is for five years and we hope it will continue after that,” he added.

The managing director of Namibia Breweries, Wessie van der Westhuizen said the tournament proved to be very popular in the southern African region.

“This competition will encourage aspiring golfers in the region to compete. The feedback we got from the competing countries was amazing and we had to cap the number of entries,” he said.

Bruce Young of the South African Golf Association also heaped praise on the organisers.

“I’ve been blown away by NAGU and the Namibian hospitality. I’d like to congratulate Ian on a brilliant initiative and I hope it grows and that you get many more African countries to participate,” he said.

Namibia’s most successful professional golfer, Trevor Dodds was flown in from the United States, to be the guest speaker at the event. He said the game had taught him a lot about life, and that the friendships he had made through golf were more important than the trophies he had won.

“My biggest regret was never being paired with Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer, although I did play with Tiger Woods. It was amazing and he always looked out for the other golfers – he knew there was a lot of pressure and he always told the fans to stop and wait for the other players to finish their shots,” he said.

“Golf is a lot like life. It’s not that you might have trouble – you will get trouble – but it’s about getting up and trying again,” he added.

Dodds aised young golfers to try and get an education first and not to turn pro at too young an age.

“Amateur golf was the most fun I had and I only turned professional at the age of 26. Now the players are too young when they turn professional and they lose the love for the game. I would aise today’s young golfers to pursue scholarships and to get an education,” he said.

Dodds said although he lived in the United States, Namibia would always be his home.

“I’m from a small country with harsh conditions, but when you have Namibia in your blood, it can’t go away. I’ve been overseas for 34 years and during that time I came home each year but once. This is home and always will be,” he said.

Source : The Namibian