Mount Edgecombe, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington proved to be outstanding stops on the Els for Autism golf series calendar, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
The theme of 2019 continued to weave around the country as Durban and then Johannesburg golfers and supporters of Ernie Els’ cause provided laughs, fun, good golf and, importantly, funds to help more families in South Africa.
Mo Hussen and Sanjay Chetty booked their place from the Mount Edgecombe qualifier as golfers from around KwaZulu-Natal turned out. The pair put together a phenomenal score after taking full advantage of the beautiful weather on an early winter afternoon.
Desiree and Kevin Stone, parents of Brandon, continue to do everything in their power to help the foundation and their efforts didn’t go unnoticed. They were backed up by a wonderful team, who worked tirelessly to secure a big field and then a day as good as any in 2019.
The excitement was matched by the non-stop laugher which was only topped by the superb score of the winners, who head to Sun City to battle it out for a place in the final.
They will be joined by Paddy Rogan and Kevin Smith, who came out on top after a brilliant day at one of the country’s finest clubs.
‘We have to make special mention of Chris Bentley and his Royal Joburg team,’ says Nico van Rensburg, the man who continues to pour his heart and soul into raising funds for Els for Autism. A long-time friend of Els, Nico is a former top professional who knows what a 10-out-of-10 golf day is all about.
‘Royal Joburg continues to host us in such fine style. Four years later and it keeps on getting better. There were 120 players enjoying themselves on a pristine course; we really couldn’t ask for more. The generosity of those who attended was special. We can’t wait to come back and see what happens next year.’
Before then, though, Rogan and Smith will have the chance to mix it with some of the European Tour’s best as the new Race to Dubai tweaks have placed the Nedbank Golf Challenge on a pedestal. With more points on offer, a strong, select field is expected and joining these world stars in a pro-am is a prize few can offer.
But like all days this year, the reception at the famous auctions and the willingness to dig deep is what sets this series apart. To enjoy golf is one thing, to make a meaningful contribution to helping families living with autism is a different story.
ERNIE SAYS THANKS!
Many thanks to Nick Keary and his Bay Union team for supporting the Els for Autism day at Mount Edgecombe. Special thanks to our hosts Desiree and Kevin Stone. I must mention how grateful I am to Kevin, who cancelled his trip to The PGA Championship, where he was going to watch Brandon play, in order to lend his support to this day. Congrats to the day’s winners Mo Hussen and Sanjay Chetty on 49 points and good luck at the final.
Shortly after that successful day, the series headed for Royal Johannesburg and Kensington. The event was made possible due to the generosity of Dr Ratshidi Rammutla, the Ramson Cross Foundation and Netcare. Well done to the field of 120 players who had lots of fun on the upgraded East Championship Course. Paddy Rogan and Kevin Smith (47 points) are also headed to Sun City for the final. Once again, our team would like to thank Imperial KWS Logistics for their ongoing support of this series, which continues to raise valuable funds for Els for Autism.
HOW CAN READERS HELP?
Els for Autism funds its centre mainly through golf days, which form part of the ‘Els for Autism Drive to Sun City’. You can enter these golf days:
17 August: Highland Gate Golf Estate
3 October: Silver Lakes Golf Estate
24 October: Ebotse Golf Estate
30-31 October: Lost City (final)