Despite the P100,000 worth hole-in-one shot eluding golfers at the weekend Orapa Diamond Golf challenge, Edwin Madigela and Minkie Molathegi walked away winners with diamonds.
Madigela of Orapa Golf Club and Molathegi from Gaborone Golf Club were crowned champions in the men and women’s sections respectively.
Other winners included Marius Swart (Selibe Phikwe Golf Club) who won the A-Division men, Senatla Kgati (Gaborone Golf Club) won the B-Division men, Nono Kumako (Jwaneng Golf Club) won the A-Division women and Joseph Kawongo of Namibia won in the Professionals category.
There was much thunder about the improved Diamond golf challenge before tee off and it lived to expectations. The set up was befitting a challenge that would reward diamonds at culmination.
At least 140 golfers from the host nation Botswana and visitors from Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambians battled for the coveted prize in the nine-hole golf course.The tournament is not entirely new.
It was previously called The Botswana Closed and was played in March. It was rebranded in 2005 and named Diamond Challenge and still lacked ample financial support.
This year, OGC garnered more sponsors and upgraded the golf challenge. They received a leeway from the Botswana Golf Union (BGU) to move the tourney from its usual March date to May.The greens were not so green but the players were happy with the condition of the golf course. After trotting the course for two days, the biggest winners Madigela and Molathegi were in jovial moods at the sunset on Sunday and the elusive P100,000 hole-in-one was far from upsetting the mood.
The veteran golfer, Madigela found it beyond imaginable that he owns a diamond. “It is such a privilege ‘(owning a diamond) and this is for keeps. It’s a souvenir for my family and me. I can’t express how I feel right now, the whole setup was amazing,” he said.”I am not worried about a hole-in-one, I have hit it once in Phakalane Golf Estate before, but I don’t usually think about it when I am out
Molathegi said in her golf career she had hit three hole in ones and would have loved to hit another. “But owning a diamond is incredible, a hole-in-one is very difficult, you get it when you least expect and I am not disappointed. “I have a diamond and it is a great motivation from the first diamond challenge and I am looking forward to returning here next year and achieving the same feat, and maybe a hole-in-one as well,” she said.
BGU president, Enoch Mushango heaped praises on the organisation of the tournament. He said the tournament has raised the bar and it will go a long way in helping the mother body improve the ‘core mandate’ that is development. He said it is easier to develop young talent in mining townships like Orapa.
He said BGU would always salivate at such opportunities of having tournaments of such magnitude. ”It gives us a rope to push our core mandates such as development. We want to start the sport from grassroots and we are happy the mandate of this particular tournament is grassroots development in Boteti.
It just helps the union spread its wings of development,” he said. “The set up was amazing and we believe the next edition will reach even greater heights and this tournament has the opportunity to become one of the best in the country if we nurture it and we look forward to making sure that it improves every year.”
Debswana Mining Company and a host of other sponsors including AON Botswana, Botswana Life, SESIRO Insurance Company, Barclays Bank, Barloworld Motor and Air Namibia amongst others brought the tournament.