Johannesburg, South Africa. April 2019. Charlene Pienaar, the only blind female golfer to compete in the Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open last year, has registered for this year’s event taking place from 13 to 16 May 2019 at the Magalies Park Golf Club. Pienaar, from Boksburg in Gauteng, will be the only blind lady golfers participating in the 2019 Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open which attracts some of the best golfers with disabilities from across the globe.
This will be Canon South Africa’s third year as the title sponsor of the tournament which is organised annually by the South African Disabled Golf Association SADGA). This international amateur event incorporates golfers with varying disabilities, with divisions for leg amputees, arm amputees, deaf golfers, the visually impaired and Les Autres (such as limb deformities, permanent movement disorders or cerebral palsy).
Pienaar had a car accident in 2000 after which it was discovered she was going blind. She started playing golf three years ago, has a 22.8 handicap and is a member at ERPM Golf Club. Golf is amongst her favourite hobbies. She also enjoys gardening and working with her hands. Self sufficient and independent, Pienaar works at ABSA Bank as an administrator. She is delighted to have the opportunity to compete in the Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open again this year.
Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive from Canon SA, says: “Charlene Pienaar is an inspiration to meet and watch in action on the golf course. The only blind lady golfer to compete in last year’s Disabled Golf Open, she is determined to live her best possible life regardless of the challenges she is faced with. We wish her the very best in this year’s tournament.”
According to Eitzen, entries are streaming in from South Africa and abroad for the 2019 Canon SA Disabled Golf Open. Amongst the internationals that have entered are Mike Browne; Graeme Mazur; Owen Robinson; Ian Jones and Johnny Rhea from the United Kingdom; Axel Perxachs from France; Willem Roode from Ireland; Geoff Nicholas and Damien Thomlinson from Australia.
Six up and coming rookies from SADGA’s First Swing Program, which teaches the game of golf to young people with disabilities and organises competitions for schools, will also be hitting the course at Magalies Park in May. The First Swing Program has helped to uplift hundreds of children through playing golf. One of its youngsters, 20 year old Ignation Douries placed 9th overall in the Canon SA Disabled Golf Open in 2018 and will be playing his 7th tournament this year.
In 2018, another First Swing Program member, Daren Hanekom won the South African Deaf Championships which runs concurrently with the Canon SA Disabled Golf Open.
South Africans have historically dominated the tournament, with Ben van Zyl winning the event from 1998 to 2003; Pieter Jansen in 2004; Nico Wentzel in 2008; Iglin Grobbelaar in 2009 and 2010; and Daniel Slabbert from 2011 to 2013, and again in 2015.
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