Zambezi Tour gets underway with Pre-Open Classic

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ZIMBABWEAN golfers will have a chance to familiarise with Royal Harare Golf Club course ahead of next month’s prestigious Golden Pilsner Zimbabwe Open when the 2013 Zambezi Tour schedule gets underway next week with the Pre-Open Classic.

SPORTS REPORTER

The 36-hole Pre-Open Classic sponsored by the Zimbabwe Open Golf Committee has a prize-fund of $10 000 and will take place at Royal Harare Golf Club from March 21-22.

“It is pleasing to report that in less than two weeks’ time, the 2013 season for the local professional golf tour, the Zambezi Tour kicks off,” said Tendayi Gwatiringa, the Zambezi Tour’s marketing and communications director yesterday.

“The Pre-Open Classic will certainly be a good warm up for the Zimbabwe Open Championships taking place from the 18th April 2013. Entries for the event close on Friday.

“Details of entries will be availed after the above mentioned date. More details on the event will be released early next week,” he said.

Local golfers have in the past attributed their poor show in the flagship Zimbabwe Open to lack of competitive tournaments before the Sunshine Tour-sanctioned event.

No local golfer has managed to win the Zimbabwe Open since 2000 when Mark McNulty, now a naturalised Irishman, finished on top of the leaderboard that year.

The closest a Zimbabwean came within touching distance of winning the title was in 2010 when injured golfer Marc Cayeux came in third place behind eventual winner Kruger and second-placed Jaco Van Zyl both of South Africa. The Zambezi Tour has 18 exempted players into the Open.

The top 16 from the 2012 final Official Order of Merit will be joined by two other players after the Pre-Open Classic at Royal and another tournament to be organised before the 2013 Zimbabwe Open.

The 16 Zimbabwean players who have automatically qualified for the Zimbabwe Open by virtue of being in the top 16 of the 2012 Zambezi Tour Order of Merit include Ignatius Mketekete, Ryan Cairns, Tongo Charamba, Brian Gondo, Mick Hough, Robson Saurombe, Greg Bentley, Nyasha Muyambo, Rodgers Jack, Day Muyambo, Dale Howie, Mohammed Mandhu, Roy Da Costa, Lyford Yadyo, Phillip Tshuma and Simon Katembenuka.