ZIMBABWE’S youngest ever participant at the 2014 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open David Amm could have played any other sport especially cricket which was his first love.
BY ALBERT MARUFU
With other kids, they would gather around playing cricket on a make-shift ground which made for their cricket pitch.
However, Amm grandparents Rose and Stuart Macdonald had other ideas. They encouraged him to develop an interest in golf when he turned 10.
“I was 10 years old when I was introduced to golf and since then, it is the only sport that I have played. It is mentally challenging and you get to meet a lot of people. I used to play cricket, but my grandparents urged me to play golf,” said the youngster who turned 15 yesterday.
His grandparents’ decision might turn out to be the best idea. Twenty days short of his 15th birthday, Amm made history by being the youngest golfer to make the cut for the prestigious Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open.
Having carded a level par 72 and tied second with seasoned professional Ryan Lang in the qualifying tournament at Chapman Golf Course, Amm achieved what many golfers – both professionals and amateurs — spend a lifetime trying in vain.
“I have been working very hard and was confident of making the cut. I was not surprised at all by my performance in the qualifying tournament,” said the player who started with a 36 handicap, but now has a two handicap.
Though he failed to make the cut in the actual tournament, carding 78 and 81 for a 36-hole total of 15-over par 159 at Royal Harare Golf Club, his name will always be in the history books of the elite tournament.
He was tied on number 149 with professional Simon Katembenuka, but was better than seasoned professionals Stephen Ferreira of Portugal and South Africa’s Bennie van der Merwe (RSA) who finished on position 151.
Ferreira carded 76 and 84 after two rounds for a 16 over par 160 while van der Merwe carded 78 and 82 after two rounds for a 16 over par 60.
“I know I could have done better. My hope is to keep improving with each competition,” said Amm.
However, though golf remains in his plans, his aim is to attain a decent education.
“I am currently doing homeschooling and my mum [Pamela] is teaching me. I want to attain a university degree and also be able to play in the Professional Golfers Association [PGA] tours. It is my ambition to turn professional at 25 after completing my studies,” said Amm, who has represented Zimbabwe in two junior triangular tournaments in the past.
While his performance at the qualifying tournament at Chapman Golf Club may have surprised many, his father Rowland, coach Roger Baylis and his caddy on that tournament, former Zimbabwe Rugby Union president Themba Sibanda, are certainly not among them.
“He is doing well for his age and with his dedication, the sky is the limit for him. I predict that in the next two years he will be one of the best golfers in the country,” said Baylis who has coached the youngster since he was 11.
This coming from a man who has coached a number of big names such as Brendon de Jonge, Scott Vincent and also witnessed the progression made by former world number one golfer Nick Price, is certainly something any golf enthusiast should seriously note.
The talented golfer’s father Rowland said education was a priority for the youngster. “When he made the cut for the Zimbabwe Open I was overjoyed for him than surprised because he has been managing the par score of late. If he maintains that, the sky is the limit.
He is also doing home schooling which makes it flexible for him to play golf as well. Education is also a priority,” he said.
Sibanda, described the rather shy teenager as phenomenal. “He has lots of talent and I was not surprised at all when he made the cut,” he said.