Pros and rook­ies swing past golf event

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

South Africa’s Olympic golfer Paula Reto and Euro­pean Tour win­ner Haydn Por­te­ous are ex­pected to be star at­trac­tions at the Gary Player In­vi­ta­tional at Sun City’s Lost City golf course this week. The char­ity event, or­gan­ised by golf­ing le­gend Gary Player, starts on Fri­day and will be fol­lowed by the main team con­test on Satur­day and Sunday at the “African in­spired” course. The com­pe­ti­tion is part of Player’s vi­sion to raise funds for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren in South Africa. It will fea­ture pro­fes­sional golfers, sports stars, celebri­ties and busi­ness lead­ers. Cape Town-born Reto (26), who plays on the Ladies Pro­fes­sional Golf As­so­ci­a­tion Tour in the US, heads to Sun City as one of South Africa’s first Olympic golfers un­der Player’s cap­taincy. She fin­ished tied 16th at this year’s Olympics. Por­te­ous claimed his maiden Euro­pean Tour ti­tle at the Joburg Open at Kens­ing­ton Golf Club in Jan­uary. The two will take to the fair­ways along­side the 2005 US Open cham­pion, New Zealan­der Michael Camp­bell, who is now re­tired and fea­tured on the PGA and Euro­pean tours, where he won 15 ti­tles.

Also present at the venue in North West will be erst­while Eng­land and Manch­ester United striker Andy Cole. Re­tired Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs de­fender Jimmy Tau will be com­pet­ing as well.

Other sport­ing lu­mi­nar­ies who will tee it up at the show­down in­clude World Cup-win­ning Spring­bok cap­tain John Smit. He joins for­mer SA Rugby Union player Butch James, who will swing his golf clubs to dis­play his ta­lent on the fair­ways.

Player’s con­test, now into its 17th year, is the coun­try’s premier char­i­ta­ble sport­ing event and has helped the Player Foun­da­tion raise more than R800 mil­lion.

“The pro­ceeds from the South African tour­na­ment will go to var­i­ous se­lected char­ity ben­e­fi­cia­ries, in­clud­ing Wild­lands Con­ser­va­tion Trust, as well as Wings and Wishes,” said the 81year-old Player.

The trust is a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion work­ing to con­serve South Africa’s bio­di­ver­sity. Wings and Wishes, which is also a non­profit con­cern, trans­ports crit­i­cally ill chil­dren to places where they can re­ceive life-sav­ing med­i­cal treat­ment.

“I’m hon­oured to be able to join so many other sports­men and lead­ers in their field in the South African tour­na­ment, where we can hope­fully raise more money for var­i­ous char­i­ties,” he said.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES PHO­TOS: GETTY IMAGES

Bran­don Stone, seen here hit­ting a bunker shot dur­ing the Ned­bank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Coun­try Club last week, is look­ing to win the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open for the sec­ond time READY Re­tired New Zealand golfer Michael Camp­bell will be among the pro-am golfers at Lost City

SWINGER South African Paula Reto will also com­pete at the Gary Player In­vi­ta­tional

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