SEVEN Zimbabwean golfers made the trek down to South Africa at the weekend ahead of today’s tee off in the pre-qualifying round of Joburg Open on the West Course of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
According to the tournament entry list, seven locals will join 110 other hopefuls as they battle it out for only 10 remaining slots in the tournament proper which gets underway on Thursday.
The Zimbabwe contingent comprised Tongo Charamba, Greg Bentley, Brian Gondo, Mohammad Mandhu, Ignatius Mketekete, Tranos Muradzikwa and Michael Hough.
Charamba was, however, doubtful for the tournament after revealing in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday that he might not feature.
“I’m still weighing my options and at the moment I’m not sure if I will be participating in the Joburg Open Prequalifier.
“If I manage to go it would be my first appearance on the Sunshine Tour this season,” said the two-time winner on the Sunshine Tour.
Another Zimbabwean professional golfer, Ryan Cairns, will play in the tournament proper starting on Thursday as he is exempted from the prequalifiers after his breakthrough win, on tour last season.
The €1,3 million Joburg Open is one of four major tournaments in South Africa on the prestigious European Tour’s international schedule alongside the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the South African Open and the Africa Open.
Due to the lucrative prize money, the tournament is expected to welcome a strong field of international golfers.
It will be a 72-hole stroke play championship with 18 holes played each day from Thursday to Sunday.
The field will comprise 206 professionals with 98 allocated between both the Sunshine and European tours and 10 prequalifies.
South African golf sensation Branden Grace will go into this year’s tournament as the defending champion following his one-stroke victory last year.