By Carlos Kambaekwa
Armed with a faultless display from the opening round, veteran golfer Francois Hanekom claimed victory in the annual Bank Windhoek Men’s Open Championship, at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino yesterday.
Hanekom, who won the coveted title way back in the early 90’s, carded scores of 65, 69 and 72 to comfortably win by 11 shots ahead of defending champion Werner Lassen.
With five birdies and an eagle on the 9th hole in the opening round, Hanekom was firmly in the driving seat and never looked back with his closet challengers stumbling along the way and the only time he was compelled to look over his shoulder was when Lassen came close within six shots but that margin was quickly widened when Lassen’s drive found refuge in the rough on the 7th hole.
A clearly delighted Hanekom said the weather conditions and course surface contributed largely to his runaway victory.
“The good showers of late have shaped the course in such a way that one does not need to worry too much about the bounce and besides that, I just happened to be lucky because everything just fell perfectly in place and I really never felt any threat from the other guys because I knew that if I retain my composure there was no way they could have caught up with me at that stage.”
The victory has given Hanekom some confidence ahead of the annual Swakopmund Golf Open where he will defend his title on the 9th of next month, before heading off to Australia for the World Amateur Team Championship to be held at Adelaide in October later this year.
The day also belonged to 17-year old rookie golfer from the Walvis Bay Golf Club Edwin Geinub, who surprised all and sundry with a fine display belying his young age aided by faultless drives that could have left the legendary Tiger Woods green with envy.
At the same time last year the youngster from Walvis Bay was just another barefoot caddy picking up stray golf balls in the dunes of the coastal town but it was not long before the skinny boy started swinging the sticks himself, and judging by yesterday’s performance, Namibia has a new Tiger Woods in the offing if properly nurtured.
The tiny youngster finished in overall 3rd place and surely gave his seasoned competitors a decent run for their money during the prestigious tournament.
He was upbeat about his prospects on the golf course before jetting out of the country for Swaziland last night.
Geinub has been included in a 4-member squad that is going to represent Namibia at the All Africa Junior Golf Championship starting in Mbabane this week.
“I’m extremely over the moon with my performance on the golf course so far after finishing 4th and 3rd in my debut tournaments, but finishing third here has certainly boosted my confidence and I’m not going to rest on my laurels and will work hard to improve on my game because my putting still needs some polishing,” said Geinub.