Described as an ace when it comes to golf, 7-year-old Simthandile Tshabalala, from Johannesburg, South Africa, was crowned the U.S. Kids Golf Champion over the weekend.
Nicknamed ‘SimTiger’ by U.S. golf officials recently, the champ took to his Twitter to announce his latest victory while thanking his fans for their support.
“I had that birdie putt to be crowned champion after an intense 3 rounds of play offs.”
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“5 birdies and I am the U.S kids golf Champion. Thank you for the support,” Tshabalala said.
His father, Bonginkosi Tshabalala, said his seven-year-old son was working hard to win more international titles following the tournament on Sunday.
“We are thrilled about his achievements after he put in a lot of effort. It’s always amazing to watch him. He’s able to get an amazing shot out of a bad situation,” his father, who is also the young golfer’s caddy and coach was quoted by SowetanLIVE.
Tshabalala said the young golfer is currently determined to get back on the field and prepare for upcoming tournaments, such as competing in the Vaal. He is also expected to travel to South America for the Costa Rica Open in mid-July.
Simthandile started competing in major local and international tournaments about eight months ago and has already won over 20 trophies.
He recently left South Africa to take part in the Australian Open Golf Championships in which he came second, but this did not come without some difficulties as the Grade 2 pupil at Steyn City College in Fourways, Johannesburg, faced difficulties obtaining a visa.
His father took to social media asking for anyone, including South Africa’s Sport and Recreation Minister, Tokozile Xasa, to help. Many South Africans rallied behind the boy and the problem was resolved after government officials intervened.
Simthandile, who is the youngest member of Steyn City’s golf club, started playing golf at the age of 5. His parents had introduced him to various sports such as tennis, swimming, soccer and golf when he was just 2.
“When he was four, he was hooked on golf and he never looked back,” his father said.
International media have since been drawing parallels between him and the other golf prodigy, Tiger Woods, especially after the boy’s sterling performance at the World Golf Championship in Malaysia in 2018, where he earned the nickname ‘Sim Tiger.’
Many people, especially South Africans, have expressed joy over the young boy’s talent and have wished him all the best as he readies to become a World Open champion in future.
Meanwhile, his father has appealed for support for the boy’s equipment, saying that his son’s growing career would require him to travel around the world more often, and that would increase the expenses.