Nedbank and Sun International donates R1 million to the Sports Trust Golf Challenge.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
The 41st edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted at Sun City, marked the penultimate event of the DP World Tour season. Max Homa, the American professional golfer, secured his first international victory in South Africa by finishing the four-day tournament at an impressive 19 under par. Homa's commanding performance positioned him four shots ahead of the runner-up, Nicolai Hojgaard. The event, recognised as Africa's Major, featured 66 professional golfers, and boasted a substantial prize purse of $6 million.
On Monday, 13 November, The Sports Trust Golf Challenge took place under ideal weather conditions at the Gary Player Golf Course. The course retained its professional setup from the concluding day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, providing amateur golfers with a unique opportunity to play "Like a Pro." Nedbank and Sun International, the founding Trustees of The Sports Trust, orchestrated this charity event and since its inception in 1999, the fundraising golf event has garnered over R27 million, contributing to the advancement of sport and golf development in South Africa.
Amateur golfers participating in the challenge had the unique opportunity to interact with iconic figures in South African golf, including legends Gary Player and Sally Little. These golfing legends were actively engaged on the course, offering valuable advice to players as they teed off from the 11th tee. The presence of the Minister of Sport, Arts, and Culture, Zizi Kodwa, added to the event's significance as he engaged with players throughout the day, fostering a memorable experience for all involved.
Under ideal weather conditions, the golf course setup posed a significant challenge for amateur golfers, requiring them to tap into their skills and use their drives more frequently than anticipated. While the initial 9 holes appeared relatively straightforward, the back 9 proved to be a rigorous test, pushing the limits of the participants' golfing abilities. Notably, the event saw the inclusion of two female participants who successfully completed their rounds alongside their male counterparts. This welcomed presence of women added a refreshing dimension to the fundraising event, showcasing increased diversity in participation.
The prize-giving gala dinner on the same evening saw the presence of distinguished guests, including Kodwa, as well as golf legends Gary Player and Sally Little. Adding to the significance of the occasion, these notable figures actively participated in the ceremony, presenting prizes to all the deserving winners of the event.
During the event, Mike Brown, the CEO of Nedbank, and Ken Payet, the Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Sun International Trustee, jointly presented a charitable donation of R1 million to Jackie Mathebula, the Chairperson of The Sports Trust. This significant contribution was raised through the proceedings of this year's event, reinforcing the commitment to supporting sport and golf development initiatives in South Africa.
The overall winning team of the 2023 Sports Trust Golf Challenge was BKMS Group, securing the prestigious Jenna Clifford Designed Floating Trophy along with a two-night stay at the Cascades and replica trophies. Team captain, Malefane Mokoena expressed their excitement at winning the overall title, attributing their success to a strategically played round of golf. Mokoena himself clinched the longest drive prize on both the 9th and 13th holes, adding a personal highlight to their team's impressive victory.
The enduring success of the Nedbank Golf Challenge is rooted in a tournament that prioritizes financial, social, and ecological sustainability. Collaborating with The Sports Trust aligns with the commitment to advancing education through sport, creating a meaningful impact that extends beyond the golf course.