Young South African, Wilco Nienaber, makes his Commercial Bank Qatar Masters debut next week, just a few days from another victory in his home country at the prestigious South African Amateur Championship.
The 18-year-old is a precocious talent with a physique that enables him to drive the ball long and straight and he will be looking to put it to good use in Doha after receiving an invitation to play in this year’s tournament on the European Tour.
Having previously enjoyed playing in the South African Open – an event co-sanctioned between the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour – Nienaber will experience playing against a stronger field in Qatar.
“After previously playing in my first professional tournament at the South African Open I just wanted to have more of it, so I am super excited to be able to compete in another European Tour event,” said Nienaber. “It’s great to know that quite a few South Africans have experienced a lot of success in Qatar. I’ve been told the wind can pick up a lot in Doha but I would say I can control my ball flight really nicely. Every year GolfRSA sends a few players to the UK, and after having spent two months playing over there I learnt a lot about controlling my ball flight.”
The likes of Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Branden Grace are all past-winners of the prized Mother of Pearl trophy, with Els and Goosen both multiple Major winners. Nienaber will be hoping to emulate his heroes when he eventually turns professional.
“I graduated from high school last year so at the moment I am enjoying playing golf full time and not having to worry about school,” he said. “I am hoping for the opportunity to play a few more professional events as an amateur.”
Nienaber is no stranger to the winner’s circle having won multiple titles in 2017 and 2018. He was selected to represent South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championships (Eisenhower Trophy) in Ireland last year and is currently inside the top 60 in the World Amateur Rankings.
The Commercial Bank Qatar Masters takes place at Doha Golf Club from March 7-10. Entry for spectators is free of charge.