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The City manager started the ball rolling at the Joburg Open Pro-Am, which got under way with perfect weather this morning.
THE fifth annual Joburg Open teed off with a Pro-Am on Wednesday, 12 January, with perfect weather accompanying play. About 30 teams are on the east course and another 30 on the west course.


Perfect shot: City manager Mavela DlaminiPerfect shot: City manager Mavela Dlamini opens play (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)The Pro-Am, a four-ball game, is taking place at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course, in Linksfield North. It is by invitation only and participants include some of Joburg's top executives and a host of prominent personalities, including Roland Schoeman, Marc Batchelor and Mark Fish. The four-balls include professional players participating in the Joburg Open.

First to tee off was an enthusiastic-looking City manager, Mavela Dlamini, who seemed excited to be on the links. Most players looked poised as they flocked to the greens, where they practised their swings intently.

Dlamini opened play on the eastern course, with last year's winner, Charl Schwartel, and business executives Ashraf Mohammed and Litha Nhyonhya making up his team. Dapper outfits, good humour and camaraderie, in the true spirit of golf, characterised the morning.

Acting mayor Parks Tau, who teed off shortly afterwards, was teamed with Khulu Sibiya, Nkenke Kekana and Ross McGowan, the professional golfer. Other City officials participating include Bongi Mokaba, Joburg's director of events and marketing, and Jason Ngobeni, the director of finance.

Dlamini, who has an acceptable handicap of 10, started the game with an explosive shot. The trajectory of his ball was impressive on the fairway, landing beyond the boundary. It was followed by applause and positive feedback. "I feel good today; I will certainly have a good game," he said avidly.


Bongi Mokaba tees offCity's director of events and marketing Bongi Mokaba tees off (Photo: Enoch Lehung, City of Johannesburg)Speaking with golf club and ball in hand, while back swinging and pivoting, Mokaba said it was all systems go for this year's tournament. "We are looking forward to a great tournament and I can't wait to play and enjoy myself. It will be a great tournament."

Pro Darren Clarke is among the professionals and amateurs playing in the Pro-Am. In all, about 240 players are taking part.

The Pro-Am is a build up to the main tournament, the Joburg Open, which runs from 13 to 16 January. About 200 international golfers will participate, including South African James Kamte, Chris Gane from England, and Ireland's Clarke.

The Pro-Am prize giving will take place at 6.30pm in the VIP facility opposite the 18th.

The Joburg Open has a prize purse of €1,3-million (about R11,7-million) to be split between the first 70 winners. It is a co-sanctioned Order of Merit event on the PGA European Tour and Sunshine Tour and is sponsored by the City of Johannesburg, B-wired, Volvo, ProShop and Legacy Hotels and Resorts.

Entrance is R30 a day or R80 for the entire tournament; it is free for pensioners and children under the age of 16. Tickets are available at the gate.

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Joburg Open