South Africa-based professional golfer Ryan Cairns and compatriot Tongo Charamba will be the only local golfers on the field when the
R550 000 Sun City Challenge tees off in North West Province, South Africa, today.
The 54-hole Sun City Challenge will be played on the Lost City Golf Course from today, and will conclude on Saturday.
This will be 28-year-old Cairns’ first tournament since winning his maiden Sunshine Tour title by capturing the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola Country Club two weeks ago. The win, which earned him a cool R95 100, catapulted the Royal Harare Golf Club-based pro to 50th position on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit standings with earnings amounting to R109 725 from eight tournaments.
Crucially for Cairns, the win two weeks ago also guaranteed him exemption status in all Sunshine Tour tournaments which is why this week he didn’t take part in the pre-qualifiers.
While Cairns has been building his reputation on the Sunshine Tour, it has been the complete opposite for Charamba who has struggled for form on tour.
The two-time Sunshine winner, who has in the past been the country’s flag bearer on tour, has been a pale shadow of his former self and of late struggled even to make the cut in some tournaments.
Charamba, who is currently placed 114th on the Order of Merit standings, will not doubt be hoping for a change of fortunes to be in contention heading into the weekend.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean trio of Ignatius Mketekete, Micky Hough and Mohammad Mandhu failed to secure one of the 10 slots on offer during the Sun City Challenge pre-qualifying event on Tuesday. Mketekete, who has struggled to transfer his form on the local golf tour, the Zambezi Tour, to the South African circuit, finished in a six-way tie for 28th on two-over-par 74 six shots behind the eventual winner Jared Harvey from South Africa .
Borrowdale Brooke-based Hough finished on six-over-par 78 on position 53 while Mandhu was a further two shot back on 10-over-par 82.