Stellar year sees EL’s Gqira lauded

Ernie Els Foundation rewards aspiring pro with two awards

Top East London golfer Lwazi Gqira was rewarded for his impressive performances over the 2018 season when the Ernie Els Foundation gave him two awards recently.

Amateur golfer Gqira picked up the biggest title of his career earlier this year when he triumphed at the East London Open and then followed that up with a number of other impressive performances.

“My awards were for making the South African Presidents team as well as winning the East London Open and Club Champs strokeplay at the East London Golf Club earlier this year,” said Gqira.

“I also made the final of the Club Champs matchplay, so it was a really good year.

“The Ernie Els Foundation always keeps tabs on its members and then awards them if they do well during the year, and that is what has happened here.

“They have told me they are going to frame my awards and send them to me, so I can have them on display.”

Gqira’s solid performances led to him being selected for the SA Presidents team, which battled it out in the Challenge Cup in Pretoria, taking on a number of other top teams.

“The Presidents team consisted of top players from different provinces being picked to play in the team,” said Gqira.

“We played against Central Gauteng, the University of the USA, the South African Golf Juniors Association, the SA Amateur golf squad and some others.

“In the end we tied for third but came fourth after losing a count out, so we played well, but it was a tough competition.”

In all it has been the best year in golf for Gqira, who just missed out on turning pro earlier in the year, but has since upped his game and put in a number of sparkling performances.His main goal now is to try and go pro next year, while he has also managed to get a full time job at the EL Golf Club.

“To be honest with you, this has been one of the best years in golf for me, so I am so happy with how I did,” said Gqira.

“I played at the Vusi Ngubeni qualifying school to try and go pro earlier this year and I just missed out by two shots. So a big goal for me is to go back next year and make sure I qualify to turn professional, so that I can get on to the tour.

“But I have a job as an assistant manager at the East London Golf Club now. I am enjoying it and happy and they back me, so it is great to be working here.”

Gqira will now be aiming to build on a top 2018 and try and make 2019 an even better year in golf him and he will need the support and help of everyone who has backed him up until this point in his career.

“There are many people I would like to thank, like Richard Dipileyo for everything he has done for me, introducing me to this game; also my coach Michelle de Vries, for being there for me for many years, I really appreciate everything she has done for me,” said Gqira.

“Terry and his team at Transnet has been amazing. Their support has been so important in helping me reach my goals, while the Ernie Els Foundation has also helped immensely over the year.

“To my caddie, Rebo, my girlfriend and my family, thank you for all the love and support over the years.”