Top Zimbabwean professional golfer Tongo Charamba will be the major absentee as the fourth edition of the Econet Joshua Nkomo Golf Classic at Royal Harare Golf Club tomorrow due to other commitments on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.
The 29-year-old seasoned professional is expected to take part at the Alfred Dunhill Championship which also tees off tomorrow Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane, South Africa.
However, despite Charamba’s absence a total of 52 professional golfers — including the country’s top female golfer Claire Minter who will contest as an amateur — have entered the tournament.
The Econet Joshua Nkomo Golf Classic has a purse of $25 000 and falls under the Golden Pilsener Zambezi Tour.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport, Michael Mahachi, the Zambezi Tour’s founding trustee and tournament director, said despite Charamba’s absence, a strong field was expected the grace the greens at Royal Harare Golf Club.
“Obviously Tongo Charamba and a few other guys will not be available due to commitments on the Sunshine Tour, but we will have a big field as there will be 52 professionals. Combined with the amateurs, we expect around 160 golfers.
“Claire Minter, a top female Zimbabwean golfer, will make history as she is expected compete alongside her male counterparts, the first time it has happened in the history of professional golf in Zimbabwe. She will, however, compete as an amateur,” said Mahachi.
The player to beat will no doubt be in-form Ignatius Mketekete who currently leads the Golden Pilsener Order of Merit.
Mketekete will be aiming for his third consecutive win after winning the third and final leg of the NetOne Golf Series by a massive eight shots at the Borrowdale Brooke Golf Course last month.
However, he is likely to face stiff competition from other serious contenders like Robson Saurombe, Philip Tshuma, Lyford Yadyo, Brian Gondo, Rodgers Jack and Peter Banda.
The Econet Joshua Nkomo Classic is the result of a partnership between Econet Wireless and the Joshua Nkomo Memorial Fund.
Proceeds from fundraising initiatives by Econet Wireless will be handed over to the Joshua Nkomo National Foundation to channel to various charities across the country.
Econet Wireless holds the naming rights for the Econet Joshua Nkomo Golf Classic for the next five years and the event will be played at different golf clubs around the country annually.