Section V Spotlight: Matt van Niekerk

It’s been a whirlwind tour for Harley Allendale Columbia junior Matt van Niekerk.Five years ago, he and his family left Johannesburg, South Africa to live in Rochester.

“The biggest problem is just a lot of people are a little more desperate and your life isn’t as valuable,” said Matt.

Last year, he burst on to the local golf scene when he led the New York State tournament coming to the 36th hole, only to have Pittsford Mendon’s Gavin Hall finish with an eagle and steal it from him.”A lot of people probably think I choked or something, but my mental state was that I had to beat the guy next to me, so, I just laid up off the tee, laid up to the green, got unfortunate with my kick on the green and ended up in a really tough spot, and I three-putted. So I thought maybe a playoff and I walked in and saw Gavin had one-over and I was two-over so, I was kind of gutted but that teaches you a good lesson.”

Matt doesn’t venture out of town much to play. He trains in town but hopes to venture a bit before his senior year.”We have tried a couple of the AJGA events and we’re going to try a couple more the rest of the year and next year, we’re going to try to get the ranking up and see if we can make a charge.”

[By: YNN Sports]