ZIMBABWE’S leading junior female golfer, Danielle Bekker followed up her dominance on the local golf circuit with a fine third-place finish in the Girls 13 division at the United States Kids Golf Teen World Championship played at the Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club in North Carolina at the weekend. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
After initially getting off to a slow start with an opening round of 80, the 13-year-old Bekker improved with each round thereafter, carding rounds of 76 and 74 in the last 36 holes for a total of 14-over-par 230.
The Chapman Golf Club rising star finished seven shots behind the overall winner, Ana Leon from Panama, who finished on seven-over-par 223 and just two shots behind second-placed Juliana Camargo from Colombia (228).
Her fine display at the US Kids Golf Teen World Championship came fresh on the back of another solid fifth place finish in the Girls 13 division at the World Stars of Junior Golf played in Las Vegas from July 17 to 21.
Prior to going to the US, Bekker competed at the European Junior Championships and Junior Open Championship both held in Scotland with mixed results.
She will be hoping that her exposure to high level competition in Europe and the US will stand her in good stead in the upcoming Zimbabwe Ladies’ Golf Union (ZLGU) Open Strokeplay Championships, which tees off on Friday at The Brooke Golf and Country Club (formerly Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club).
Other top local female golfers expected to feature in the ZLGU Open Strokeplay Championships include national team players, Batsirai Tilowakuti and Emily Jones.
Yollander Mubaiwa will be hoping to successfully defend her title despite being pregnant and expecting her second child with husband, Tongo Charamba, the seasoned local professional golfer.
But having come close in the past, Bekker is the favourite to win the coveted title after a remarkable season, where she has won all four major local tournaments: the Mashonaland East/West Open, the Matabeleland Strokeplay, the Harare Provincial Open Strokeplay and the Manicaland Ladies’ Strokeplay Open.
She was also part of a young Zimbabwe side which finished a commendable fourth out of 16 nations at the 2016 edition of the prestigious All-Africa Challenge Trophy held in Tunisia in April.