No singing in the rain for Musi

MUSI Nethunzwi will tee off this week at the Sanlam South African amateur golf championships and this time the 22-year-old Soweto Country Club maestro won't forget to take along a towel.

Even though it's unlikely to rain in Mowbray in Cape Town during the championships, Nethunzwi won't want to take that chance.

The last time Nethunzwi played in a big tournament, he was caught in the rain during the South African strokeplay championships at Glendower Country Club - without a towel to keep his hands dry.

For those not familiar with the game of golf, wet hands play havoc with your grip and a towel is often more important than a brolly.

As a result Nethunzwi struggled to decently grip his clubs. Even so, the former South African Golf Development Board graduate carded three below-par rounds, with a bogey-free 68 in the third leaving him just two shots off the pace. He teed off in the final three-ball alongside the eventual winner, Haydn Porteous, and runner-up Andrea Bolognesi of Italy.

He tied for 11th spot when, but for want of a towel, he might have done much better.

"You can be sure I won't forget that towel again," said Nethunzwi, who plans to turn professional at the end of the year.

The emerging young golfer only learnt the game nine years ago, when his elder brother Ponto persuaded him to take it up. Since then he has improved by leaps and bounds.

Apart from Nethunzwi, three other golfers from the development school impressed. Mark Mahoney ended tied for 21st spot while fellow Bolanders Jacquin Hess and Cedric Rooi tied for 36th place.

All four will be participating in the amateur championships at Mowbray Golf Club that runs from February 26 to March 2.

Currently enrolled at the Gary Player School of Champions at the World of Golf in Woodmead, Nethunzwi made his debut in the Central Gauteng team who beat Gauteng North at the 2011 South African interprovincial at Bloemfontein Golf Club where he won three of his five singles and combined with Damian Naicker to win three of his five foursome matches.

"He is a real little superstar," says Marinus Weiss, Central Gauteng Golf's development officer.

"Last year he was about 180th in the country and this year he came up to 30th."

However, a family bereavement prevented Nethunzwi from playing the first two tournaments of the year and he has now dropped back a bit.

But the feeling among golfing aficionados is that it won't be long before he makes up lost ground.