Bay teen off to Disabled Open

Reuben Birin Special School pupil Usher Manel, inspired by American golfing legend Tiger Woods, is representing Eastern Cape at the Canon South African Disabled Open in Magalies Park Golf in North West this week.
Reuben Birin Special School pupil Usher Manel, inspired by American golfing legend Tiger Woods, is representing Eastern Cape at the Canon South African Disabled Open in Magalies Park Golf in North West this week.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

Reuben Birin Special School pupil Usher Manel, inspired by American golfing legend Tiger Woods, is representing Eastern Cape at the Canon South African Disabled Open in Magalies Park Golf in North West this week.

The five-day competition started yesterday and will finish on Friday.

An astonishing performance by Manel at the deaf school golfers’ interprovincial in Cape Town caught the eye of the South African Disabled Golfers’ Association, earning him selection for this week’s tournament.

Manel, 15, born deaf, promised to do his best. Besides golf, the Grade 10 pupil also plays soccer, volleyball and table tennis, and does judo and karate.

“But golf is my favourite and I am very happy that I will be representing the province,” he said.

“My coach made me fall in love with golf. I also watch Tiger Woods, one of the best golfers in the world, and I learnt many skills from him.

“Woods is my favourite golfer and I would like to be like him one day because he inspires me.”

His coach, Tyler Watts, of Graeme Whale Golf at Port Elizabeth Golf Club, said he was excited at the experience Manel would have.

“We started coaching at Reuben Birin School four years ago,” Watts said. “Usher is in our elite group.

“The preparations for this week’s tournament have been quite intense. He has been playing regularly, which is crucial for his development. He is as ready as he will ever be.

“He is still young and this is great experience for him as a golfer and as an individual.

“If he does well, it will be awesome, but if he doesn’t do well, I won’t be disappointed.

“If he sticks with the game and does things the way I want him to, he will have a bright future.”

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