he became the first black man ever to win the South African Amateur Championship at the age of 18. So it’s safe to say he’s been ready for the opportunity to become a pro.
“Right now, I’m trying to take it one game at a time and get on the tour next year,” says Chitengwa who just finished summer school and earned his degree in African American Studies. “It’s kind of nice to be able to say, ‘Look, it can be done, this is possible.’ One of my other goals is to go back home and teach the little guys the game of golf and help open some doors.”
There he goes again, playing the role without being asked. His dad, Lewis Sr., is probably the one person not surprised at any of this. He was the one who recognized early on that his son had skills, even though the lad was too busy kicking a soccer ball in his spare time. “He has always been the one to tell me, ‘You’re gonna make it, you’re gonna make it.’ And it’s so true. I was able to win tournaments, play internationally and represent my country.”
Chitengwa represented UVA well too. As co-captain with fellow grad Max Rehm, Chitengwa averaged 72.76 during the fall season and recorded his 17th career top 10 finish at the Tennessee Tournament of Champions. He was also named preseason and second-team All-American by Golfweek magazine.
“He’s a wonderful guy and in many ways, the heart and soul of our team for the last four years,” says UVA coach Mike Moraghan. “Not only has he been a great player but a great person, the kind of guy where even though you wish him well, you also wish he wouldn’t go. But it’s time for him to move on and enjoy the rest of his career beyond college.”
When we spoke to Chitengwa early this year, his agenda was as follows: 1) Finish summer school, 2) Graduate, and finally, 3) Make a certain Tiger look over his shoulder. “I’ve always believed that records were made to be broken,” Chitengwa says. “Once you see a young guy like Tiger and what he did at the Master’s [last year], it makes you hungrier. He’s very hungry. He wants it all. I’m no different.”
Moraghan agrees: “He’s a fierce competitor; he’s fearless and he’s never backed down from any kind of challenge whether it’s playing against a tough competitor or just taking on really difficult class work.”
THE LEWIS CHITENGWA FILE
Age: 23, pro golfer
Home Land: Harare, Zimbabwe
Playing Resume: 3-time winner of Zimbabwe Men’s National Amateur Championship; beat Tiger Woods in ’92 Orange Bowl Tournament, recorded his 17th career top finish at Tennessee Tournament of Champions.
Immediate Plans: “I’d like to qualify for some PGA TOUR events, some Nike Tour events–whatever I can get into that’s close to the area and work my way up.”
Brothers Tom and James Blake are causing quite a (tennis) racket
As the father of Harvard tennis stars, Tom Jr. and James Blake, Tom Sr. has