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MMC Ntsiki Mokhotho congratulations Neil Retief on being the overall winner of the inaugural Tshwane Open Junior TournamentLocal youngster Neil Retief, the overall winner of the inaugural Tshwane Open Junior Tournament will be up against one of the professional golfers at the Pretoria Country Club on Saturday, 4 March.

As part of his prize for winner the Junior Tournament Retief will be taking part in the Audi Beat the Pro challenge, taking on one of the pros at the 14th hole of the Tshwane Open.

Retief and the winners of the B Division, Jesse Venter, and Under 13s, Joshua Koekemoer also get the opportunity to play in the 2017 Tshwane Open Pro Am on Tuesday, 28 February.

More than 90 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 18 battled it out on the fairways of the Irene Country Club on Sunday, 26 February. The new event on the Tshwane sporting calendar was sponsored by Jaguar Centurion.

Speaking at the prize-giving for the tournament the Mayoral Committee Member for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, Councillor Ntsiki Mokhotho, said that the City wanted to see golf thrive. “We want to see our young golfers hold their own with the best in the world.”

She added: “Our partnership with the South African Golf Development Board and Gauteng North Golf Union today plays an important part in supporting golf development in this region. Through this partnership all our young golfers – including those from disadvantaged backgrounds – get the opportunity to take part in a sport traditionally regarded as the preserve of the wealthy.”

This is the first year that the Tshwane Open and City of Tshwane have played host to a junior tournament. In previous years the Tshwane Open hosted developmental clinics at the Mabopane Golf Range with the aim of introducing golf to children in previously disadvantaged communities.

However, the change in approach is seen as more sustainable, capturing youngsters who are already interested in golf. The junior golf development programme is a feeder system into the mainstream, professional golf sector. In fact, the 2015 Tshwane Open champion, George Coetzee, came out of the South African golf development process.

More than 90 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 18 battled it out on the fairways of the Irene Country Club “We look forward to the day one of our local youngsters becomes a South African golfing champion. Who knows, today you may just have seen the next Charl Schwartzel or George Coetzee – our past two Tshwane Open winners – out on the course today,” MMC Mokhotho concluded.