ON the golf course he can score in the 60s and in the classroom he shoots in the 90s. We’re talking about 21-year-old Massimo Mbetse who is a member at Randpark but is in his third year studying for a Business Marketing degree at the University of South Florida where he has excelled in college golf events with some top finishes and a best round of 68 albeit still seeking his first win.
Last year he was named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar, a coveted award rewarding a person who excels at both golf and in academic pursuits. He was also named to the ACC All-Academic Team. Now Massimo is currently back in America after spending most of 2020 in South Africa during which time he joined Randpark. “My parents live in Melrose and I came home from the States in March last year when our season wrapped. Then lockdown happened. Our NCAA season was cancelled, then the next season. I couldn’t go back anyway due to the flight restrictions. So it was nice to get back on the tee at beautiful Randpark when golf was allowed again after the initial lockdown.”
He competed in the club championship and also played two IGT and Bushveld Tour events to get the rust off before tying for a respectable sixth in the Bobby Locke Invitational at Parkview. Then came a year’s highlight for him when he became one of only eight amateurs to qualify for the South African Open at Sun City. To achieve this he came up against nearly 300 hopefuls at three qualifying events battling out for just 12 spots in the main draw. Massimo teed it up in the Modderfontein qualifier and held the outright lead on seven-under through 14 holes before he stumbled home with bogeys on 15 and 17 and a triple bogey finish for a two-under 70. That landed him in a six-man play-off for two spots in the main draw. And Massimo and fellow South African amateur Jordan Duminy negotiated their way through that pressure-packed play-off to book their tickets to Sun City.
“I was very excited to play in my first SA Open. It had been a life-long dream of mine as I’d never played the Gary Player Country Club, but of course I knew it by reputation. I ended up missing the cut but it was a great experience all the same”, said Massimo.
Mbetse learned his golf at the old King David Golf Club in Cape Town and when the family moved to the United States eight years ago, he enrolled at the prestigious IMG Academy. As a junior, he won twice on the American Junior Golf Association circuit (Amino Vital and St Francisville Bluffs) and was named the Most Valuable Player at the Saint Stephen Episcopal School.
Now, for us at Randpark, he’s certainly one to watch in the future!
Written by Lali Stander and Randpark member Grant Winter
Photo Credit : Tyrone Winfield