Zim golfers at Joburg Open

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Zimbabwean professional golfers Bruce McDonald, Tongo Charamba and Ryan Cairns will be eager to make an impact in their first outing of the year at the Joburg Open which tees off on both the East and West courses at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club this morning.

The event — which is co-sanctioned with the European Tour is the richest tournament on the Sunshine Tour, with a winning purse of €1,3 million — will be played over two courses.

The experienced Zimbabwean trio has automatic entry into the tournament as they enjoy playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour and will be among the strong field of 206 professionals and four invited amateurs.

Cairns will be hoping to continue with his form that saw him make a hole-in-one at the tough Le Touessrok Golf Course in the first round of the Standard Bank Mauritius Open in December.

McDonald, who came short at last season’s European Tour Qualifying School, has a chance to redeem himself in the classy field that includes 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel who will go in search of a unique hat-trick of victories in the Joburg Open.

Charamba will also be eager for a bright start to the year to put a largely forgettable 2011 season behind him.

Meanwhile, none of the five other local golfers who took part in Tuesday’s pre-qualifying round on the West Course of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club managed to make the cut.
Ignatius Mketekete, who was a revelation on the local scene last season, Robson Saurombe, Nick Hough, Philip Tshuma and Tranos Muradzikwa could not manage to capture one of the 10 spots that were available.