The cream of Zimbabwe’s professional golf circuit along with a few players from South Africa’s Big Easy Tour will tee off in the Marange Resources Pro-Am which tees off at Mutare’s Hillside Golf Club today.
Mining company Marange Resources is bankrolling the tournament to the tune of $30 000, making it one of the most lucrative tournaments on the Zambezi Tour circuit.
A total of 66 professionals have entered for the 54-hole tournament with some of the regulars on the South African Sunshine Tour opting for the local tourney ahead of the Lombard Insurance which tees off Royal Swazi Sun Country Club tomorrow.
Some of the golfers who will be gunning for the lion’s share of the prize fund include Ryan Cairns, Tongo Charamba, Ignatius Mketekete and Robson Saurombe, who will be playing in his hometown.
Other local pros who will also be gunning for glory include Trynos Muradzikwa, Shane Pringle, Mairos Katembenuka, Lyford Yadyo, William Lake and Julius Kamalizeni.
In what is a major boost for local golf, some players from South Africa’s development tour, the Big Easy Tour, will also be present in the eastern border city.
These include South Africans Alpheus Kelapile, Elvis Sithebe, Thanda Mavundla and Warren Hollard.
Marange Resources chief executive Obed Dube told NewsDay Sport yesterday that his company was delighted to be involved in bringing back professional golf to Mutare.
“As you are aware, we operate in Mutare and it was only befitting that we hold the tournament at Hillside Golf Club,” said Dube, the former Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) president and current Sports and Recreation Commission board member.
“Being part of the ZGA executive I saw most of the golfers growing up. For example, Tongo Charamba was still only 17 while Ignatius Mketekete was still a caddy, but golf has become a source of their livelihood which is why I feel we need to support our local guys,” said Dube.
Dube said he hoped the Zambezi Tour would continue to grow so that it would be a springboard for local players to the more competitive Sunshine Tour in South Africa.