Lugg leads SA's Special Olympics golf team

Michael Vlismas

JOHANNESBURG (13 August 2014) - The South African golf team for the 2015 Special Olympics has been selected following the National Special Olympics Tournament at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Monday.

Multiple Special Olympics gold medallist Tom Lugg will lead the South African team at the 2015 Games in Los Angeles from 25 July to 2 August.

A total of 160 athletes - children and adults with intellectual disabilities - from 17 schools and homes took part in the national tournament, which for the eighth consecutive year was run by the PGA of South Africa as part of its vision to grow the game amongst all members of society. Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club co-funded the tournament with the PGA of SA.

"Working with the athletes is both very humbling and rewarding. I'm always moved and inspired by the Special Olympics athletes' positive attitude and perseverance," said Tracey Marais, Events Manager of the PGA of SA.

The PGA coaches, under the leadership of head coach and PGA Professional Martin Briede, work with the individual athletes on their golf skills for months in advance before this tournament.

"The instruction is kept simple and basic which is very effective. It's wonderful to see how the athletes get so much pleasure out of hitting good shots and are not too concerned with the bad. It's inspiring to see the athletes participate in this game we love," said Briede.

The athletes compete on 5 levels, each including various golf skills and with scores to reflect the execution thereof.

Lugg won the gold medal in the Level 5 division, which is 18 holes of individual medal. Joshua Trollip took silver. Andrew White, Konrad Zastrau and Christopher Duffield all also won gold in their respective divisions.

The gold medallists in the Level 1 division were placed in a draw for three places on the South African team. These went to Moses Msibi, Bridget Kabini and Tshenolo Mokoto.

"The PGA of South Africa works with our golfers for several months coaching them for this tournament, and they do an amazing job with our athletes. It's amazing the effect they have on the athletes nd helping them to develop through golf," said Igna Steyn, the CEO of Special Olympics South Africa.

The Special Olympics includes all sport for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics was officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee in 1988. The 2011 Games in Greece was attended by 7 000 athletes.

South African Special Olympics Golf Team: Tom Lugg, Joshua Trollip, Andrew White, Konrad Zastrau, Christopher Duffield, Moses Msibi, Bridget Kabini, Tshenolo Mokoto.

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The Professional Golfers Association of South Africa is a members' organization of over 500 qualified Club Professionals. The PGA was founded in 1925 and lists amongst its members over the years many of South Africa's greatest golfers and most dedicated servants of the game.

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