Mdudu out to impress his idol
Teenaged leg amputee Simu Mdudu is hoping to fulfil a long-cherished dream when he lines up alongside his idol, Manuel de los Santos, in the 18th Nedbank SA Disabled Open at the Zwartkop Country Club in Pretoria, starting tomorrow.
De los Santos, a leg amputee from the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, is an inspirational golfer who plays at tournaments worldwide without a prosthetic limb. The threehandicapper has featured in many top events internationally. He has touched many lives with his talent on the course.
Now Mdudu (18), who comes from Philippi township in Cape Town, says he is looking forward to using his golf skills in the event to further his life through golf, just as De los Santos has done by making a name for himself internationally.
He plays all over Europe, where he has excelled against able-bodied competitors.
Mdudu is determined to steal some thunder on the greens, just like the man he looks up to. A Grade 11 pupil from Ned Doman High School in Athlone, Mdudu is confident he will be able to impress De los Santos and the golfing fraternity at large.
“I’ve watched hundreds of video clips of Manuel on the internet,” said Mdudu. “It has been my biggest dream to see him play for real since the first time I watched him on the computer. I still can’t believe it’s actually going to happen. I’m scared that I’m going to wake up and realise it was a dream.”
What sets Mdudu apart from most leg amputees is the fact that he stands on one leg when he hits a shot and uses crutches to walk between shots. Unlike many golfers with his disability, Mdudu does not use an artificial leg when he plays. He lost his right leg when he fell off a train on his way to school in 2013.
Mdudu will be making his debut in the open.
Some of the local opposition against whom Mdudu will compete will be four-time champion Daniel Slabbert and two-time World OneArm Match Play title holder Reinard Schuhknecht.
Slabbert is chasing a fifth title after winning last year’s contest, when he beat Schuhknecht by two shots.
Other international players who will show their mettle include former SA Open champion Canadian Josh Williams, erstwhile US corporal Chad Pfeifer and Dutch Disabled Open titlist Spaniard Juan Postigo. The latter also plays on one leg.
The final round will be played on Wednesday.
ACHIEVER Philippa Johnson-Dwyer is relieved to have sponsorship to try to compete in dressage at the Paralympics ON TOP Tamsin Mbatsha-Bouwer also hopes to be in Rio for the Paralympics this year DRESSAGE DAME Shani de Beer is to represent SA in this genre of the equestrian sport that has been going since 1996 FIRM STANCE Simu Mdudu practises a bunker shot at King Davids Mowbray Golf Courser, his home course in Cape Town. He is determined to impress at the SA Open