This year was packed full of highlights at the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation [EEFF], from members and former members, both on and off the golf course.
There were standout performances from former EEFF members Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace, who notched up back-to-back top-3 finishes in Majors; Oosthuizen finishing runner-up in The Open at St Andrews and Grace claiming solo third place at the PGA Championship. The pair (pictured above) also teamed up with considerable success in the Presidents Cup, winning all four of their matches together and Grace achieving the rare feat of winning all five of his matches.
“Louis and Branden are an inspiration to a generation of youngsters back home in South Africa,” commented Ernie, “not least the current members of our Foundation. For them to see former members competing at the very top of the game – and in Louis’ case winning a Major Championship – shows what can be done; that’s the strongest possible motivation to work hard and strive to fulfil your dreams.”
With two wins and seven top-10s in 2015, Grace went on to finish a career-high third in the Race to Dubai. Another former EEFF member, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, capped a strong rookie season by topping the Order of Merit in the feeder series Big Easy Sunshine Tour to secure his 2016 Sunshine Tour card.
The current EEFF membership boasts some fine players, all looking to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Oosthuizen and Grace. Here are a selection of the many highlights and high points from EEFF members in 2015:
Kaleigh Telfer, currently ranked number one on the Women’s Golf SA Senior National Order of Merit, was the best amateur at the Sunshine Ladies Tour Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape GC in February. Kaleigh won the Free State & Northern Cape Championship at Schoemanpark in April. She won three titles in a row: the Southern Cape Championship by 10 shots; the Ekurhuleni Championship by eight shots; and the Boland Championship by five shots! Kaleigh captained the victorious Gauteng A-side at the WGSA 72-Hole Team Championships and in the SA Women’s Inter Provincial Team Championships. Kaleigh received Protea colours for representing South Africa at the Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan, then went on to represent South Africa at the Annika Sorenstam Invitational in Sweden, at the Girl’s British Open Amateur Championships in Scotland and at the Spirit International Amateur Golf Championships in the US.
Jovan Rebula represented Southern Cape at the IPT at Glendower in September and represents his home union at the Junior IPT at Worcester in December. Jovan received Protea colours for representing the SA Junior side in a test against France at St Francis Links and again in the Zone VI tournament in Uganda. Jovan also lost in the final of the Match Play of the SA Amateur Championships.
Aneurin Gounden claimed his first national junior title in style at Bryanston Country Club in July. The Mount Edgecombe golfer drained a forty foot downhill putt for birdie at the last hole to close with a 70 and lift the Nomads National Order of Merit title by three strokes on three under 141. Aneurin represented the SA Presidents Team in the Challenge Cup Team Tournament at Milnerton in May. Aneurin is currently ranked 6th on the SAGA’s Junior National Order of Merit.
Luca Filippi is the number one ranked SAGA u17 player. Luca represented WP Men A-team at the SA IPT, Glendower in September. Luca won the WP U23 event at Durbanville in March and represented WP U23 at Country Club Johannesburg in April. Luca represented WP at the U19 IPT December 2014 and will represent WP again at the U19 IPT at Worcester. Luca received Protea colours when he represented the SA Junior team in the Italian International u16-tournament in September.
David Meyers won the North West Open in Rustenburg in March.
Bianca Theron won the EP Championship at Humewood. Bianca left for the US in August to study on a golf scholarship at the Mississippi State University.
Zethu Myeki won the Border Championship at East London GC. Zethu is currently ranked fourth on WGSA Senior Order of Merit.
Ian Snyman won the EP/Border Stroke Play Championship at PEGC. Ian left for the US in August to study on a golf scholarship at the University of North Texas.
Neswill Croy represented the South African Development Board’s national team in the Triangular Tournament against Scotland and the SAGA Juniors at the Wanderers. Neswill also represented the SA Presidents Team in the Challenge Cup Team Tournament at Milnerton. He now begins his final year studying the PGA diploma.
Fezekile Kana won the Port Elizabeth Open at PEGC in July and the Fallow Dear Trophy at Royal Port Alfred in August. These tournaments form part of the EP Golf Unions schedule and these wins moved him into the number one spot on the EP Golf Unions Order of Merit. Fezekile is also the club champion at PEGC for the second year in a row. Fezekile represented the South African Development Board’s national team in the Triangular Tournament against Scotland and the SAGA Juniors at the Wanderers in February.
Siyanda Mwandla represented the South African Development Board’s national team in the Triangular Tournament against Scotland and the SAGA Juniors at the Wanderers in February. Siyanda is the u23 KZN champion and also the club champion at Mount Edgecombe.
Nkosinathi Dauwa represented the SA Presidents Team in the Challenge Cup Team Tournament at Milnerton in May.
Luyanda Mdanda is the EEFF’s top student. His averages for the first three terms are an impressive 85 per cent, 79 per cent and 87 per cent respectively.
“It’s wonderful to see so many of our members excelling on the golf course, but also in the classroom,” commented Ernie from his home in Florida in December. “I’ll hopefully get a chance to visit Fancourt and see our members during my customary winter break in South Africa, as we often do. That’s always a lot of fun.”