TOP Zimbabwe junior golfer Tafadzwa Nyamukondiwa’s impressive performances at three international tournaments in the United States last month have made him a prime target for reputable American collegiate golf coaches who are queuing to sign the player on a golf scholarship.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Nyamukondiwa (18) competed in the US for the first time in his career taking part in the International Global junior tournament, Orlando International Amateur championships as well as the renowned Orange Bowl.
The country’s number one junior golfer finished 10th in the International Global competition, 74th in the Orlando International and tied for 33rd in Orange Bowl.
And with several US colleges offering scholarships, Nyamukondiwa could join the elite list of the few black Zimbabwean players to play collegiate golf in the US.
Notable winners of the tournament include golf superstar Tiger Woods (1991), the late Lewis Chitengwa Jnr (1992), US PGA Tour players Kevin Na (2000) and Joaquin Niemann (2014).
Each year Zimbabwe has managed to send at least one representative who has gone on to secure a university scholarship and Nyamukondiwa looks set to follow suit.
“Tafadzwa played extremely well in the US and as a result a lot of coaches have shown interest in giving him scholarships to study and play golf in that country,” Tafadzwa’s father Tawanda Nyamukondiwa told Sports Hub.
“It may be premature to drop names of coaches interested in him because he has to pass his SATs first before we can discuss any of the offers.
He is sitting for the exams in April and he has to pass. It will be clear where he will be headed after that,” Nyamukondiwa added.
Nyamukondiwa Snr, who is the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association (ZJGA), expressed satisfaction with how his son has developed in the sport since he started.
He was especially impressed by the lad’s performances in the US last month.
“He has improved immensely in the past couple of years which explains why he did so well in unfamiliar conditions in the US. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but he is not far off from the others who have represented the country at the Orange Bowl in the past,” said Nyamukondiwa.
Tafadzwa Nyamukondiwa was not the only Zimbabwean player to represent the country at the Orange Bowl, but was accompanied by another rising star William Geach and female golfer Danielle Bekker.
However, Geach and Bekker who were also making their debut at the Orange Bowl, struggled to stamp their authority but the experience they gained is valuable in their fledgling careers.
Bekker’s appearance marked first time that the ZJGA sent a female representative to the global junior tournament.
A former Heritage School student, Tafadzwa Nyamukondiwa started playing golf eight years ago at Wingate Park Golf Club and later moved to join Chapman Golf Club where he has remained a member.
At the age of 15 he captained Zimbabwe in the Tri-Nations tournament (Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe), which Zimbabwe hosted and subsequently triumphed.
He went on to represent Zimbabwe in the All Africa Golf Championship which Zimbabwe hosted in 2017 at Royal Harare Golf Club and Zimbabwe qualified for Japan after finishing in second place. He then represented Zimbabwe in Japan at the Toyota World Golf Junior 2017.
He is currently ranked number one junior golfer in the country and second on the Zimbabwe Golfers’ Association (ZGA)’s Order of Merit Standings.
Tafadzwa also has a sibling Margaret (15), who is also a prominent junior female golfer in the country.
“She has also been doing well in golf but only that she is concentrating on her school work so far. She is also a candidate for the Orange Bowl in a year or two. The plan is for her to also get a scholarship to study and play golf in the US,” Tawanda Nyamukondiwa said.
A number of local players including Kieran Vincent, Stuart Krog, Mbongeni Maphosa, Jack Allard and David Amm are in the US on golf scholarships.