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MBABANE – Mandla Dlamini Junior displayed sheer golf artistry to outshine 18 solid players, including visitors from South Africa.

This transpired during the Eswatini Professional Golfers Association (EPGA) Pro-Am Championship played at the Royal Swazi Golf and Country Club over the weekend. The championship marked the end of a busy year for the EPGA, whereby there were monthly tournaments sponsored by Eswatini Royal Insurance Corporation (ESRIC). The 25-year-old Dlamini, who is popularly known as ‘MJ’, turned professional in January this year. He is already riding the crest of a wave. He excelled in the tournament played on Saturday and Sunday to finish with a 140 gross. His best performance was on Saturday, where he scored four-under-par before finishing par on the following day.


‘MJ’ was closely followed by another young, seasoned and top performer in the local professional golf scene in James Pennington, who carded 144 gross. Pennington could have done better had he not played three-over-par on Saturday, only to improve drastically with a three-under-par the following day. This was an undoubtedly tight contest as shown by the neck-on-neck tie between the two experienced and long-serving local professionals,  Meshack Zwane and Raymond Mathonsi, who each scored 147 gross. The duo was a point ahead of new professional Sifiso Vilane. Both the professionals and amateurs were contesting for a mouth-watering E50 000, which was the first of its kind courtesy of the King’s Cup Golf Committee.

The professionals contested for E40 000, while the amateurs played for the balance. The package is likely one of the reasons the tournament attracted a record 18 professionals, including two visiting South Africans. There was also a record 46 amateurs, which made the contest tight and exciting. Notably, MJ went away with about E8 000 from the total prize money, plus E10 000 donation made by one of the South Africans Jerry Sisa, who was also participating in the amateur side of the EPGA Championship. Meanwhile, the amateurs’ category was dominated by Vusi ‘Futis’ Dlamini with a spectacular 70 gross and was followed by Dumisa Gama with 76. The highlight of the day was third-place finisher 14-year-old Mongiwethu Masuku, who carded 79 gross. much to the amusement of the fellow players and tournament organisers.


Another major highlight of the day was the crowning of Raymond Mathonsi as the country’s best professional golfer based on his consistent overall performance and results this year.
Meanwhile, King’s Cup chairperson Sam ‘Styles’ Richards pledged full support of the EPGA and expressed appreciation in the manner the standard of professional golf was improving in the country. “As the King’s Cup, we appreciate the splendid work being done by the EPGA committee in building a proper foundation for golf development and enhancing talent,” said Richards. EPGA chairperson Musa Mdluli thanked the players for showing interest in the activities organised on their behalf throughout the year. Mdluli predicted that 2023 would be busier.

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