The battle to make the cut for the 2011 Africom Zimbabwe Open golf draw begins on Tuesday when close to 100 golfers compete in the final pre-qualifying tournament at Chapman Golf Club.
The pro-am qualifier will be contested over 18 holes with 15 slots up for grabs to add to the 104 entries which have already been confirmed and the top five local amateurs on the Zimbabwe amateur standings in 2010.
While last year the pro-am qualifiers were held separately in South Africa and Zimbabwe, according to the Sunshine Tour’s official website they will this year all be held at Chapman Golf Club in the capital.
The pro-am qualifiers will be played in a 4-Ball Alliance Stableford format and 30 professionals and amateurs will take to the course tomorrow while the other 25 will play on Wednesday at Chapman.
Zimbabwe Open Golf Committee secretary-general Mike Mahachi last week said they were expecting a high turnout for the qualifiers.
“We were expecting no more than 90 golfers for the pre-qualifier but it seems as if we will exceed that number,” Mahachi told Golf Zone last week.
“If we do exceed 90, we will have to split the two fields and the Sunshine Tour entrants will tee off in the morning while the local field tees off in the afternoon.”
Away from the prequalifying tournament, the real action will begin on Thursday when the defending champion Jbe’ Kruger and other big names like Darren Fichardt, Adilson Da Silva, Tongoona Charamba and the legendary Tony Johnstone tee off at the Royal Harare Golf Club.
Fichardt won the 2001 title which was the last before a nine-year absence of the tournament and will be making a comeback after missing last year’s tournameant.
Kruger on the other hand will be hoping for a second consecutive title after lifting the coveted title last year, which was only his second professional title after the 2009 Zambia Open.
Last year, Kruger was chased home by Jaco Van Zyl in a scintillating final round but the latter won’t be here this year as he begins his own quest for international recognition after earning his European Tour card.
In the absence of Van Zyl, there will however be a pair of multiple winners from last year’s Sunshine Tour in South African Jean Hugo, who won three times, and Brazilian born Adilson Da Silva, who won twice.
Da Silva, who turns 34 today, has a long history at Royal Harare, having come to Zimbabwe from Brazil as a young man learning the game and putting in many long hours of work there.