Bekker's remarkable 2016

HARARE - Gleefully inspecting the several flag pins that dominate her Zimbabwe blazer, young Danielle Bekker struggles to pinpoint if there is any continent she has not traversed.

At 13, she has been to more countries and played on some of the world’s best golf courses than she can care to remember.

Her father, Ryan, is amazed by her potential.

She practices only three times a week but still delivers a performance belying her small frame, Ryan says, adding: “She is a natural.”

But Danielle is not too bothered by it all, it seems for now and naturally so, she has no ultimate goal for the ball and club sport.

“It’s fun, seeing new countries, I was in Last Vegas last year and it was so much fun, I enjoyed it,” she says.

The Chapman Golf Club fledgling star has been a dominant force on the junior golf scene since her golf clubs became her best friend a few years ago.

She underlined her growing status last year with a high riding performance of the local women’s golf circuit, winning the first three major provincial tournaments on the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union in 2016.

That impressive start to the year earned her selection as the country’s sole representative at last year’s Junior Open Championship held at Kilmarnock (Barassie) Golf Club on the west coast of Scotland in July.

Before that tournament, she had a go at the annual European Junior Championships staged at Gullane in East Lothian in Scotland.

She had earlier been 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.

Bekker is scheduled to take part in the annual Kids Golf World Championship, which got underway yesterday at the Tanjong Puteri Golf Resort in Malaysia.

The year also saw her head to the United States where she featured in two high profile tournaments – the World Stars of Junior Golf in Las Vegas and the US Teen World Championships from July 27-31 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

Bekker was part of the Zimbabwe team that claimed their maiden All Africa Junior Girls Championship title in Zambia.

The team romped to a dominant 109-shot victory at Lusaka Golf Club in Zambia.

The female junior golfer completed her year on a high note with a commendable second-place finish at the Kids Golf World Championship in Malaysia.

It was therefore no surprise when she edged other equally talented junior sporting personalities in rower Ciara Soper and BMX rising sensation Rebekah Oberholzer to the Junior Sportswoman of the Year gong.

She went on to clinch the overall Junior Sportsperson of the Year.                                         

“I am so excited to receive this award,” she said. “The first one was good, the second one I was just so excited,” she said.

“I have a few more years (in the juniors’ category) so let’s just see how it goes.”

Bekker had a week’s break in December before getting back in the saddle with two tournaments in South Africa earlier this month and is set for more tournaments as the year progresses.

She might need to pack another blazer to accommodate her collection of lapel pins which first gained popularity when Americans donned them to show support for presidential candidates.

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