RISING amateur golfer Thembelani Vundla held off the challenge of three other rivals to win the Midlands Amateur Championship title at Gweru Golf Club on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Chapman Golf Club golfer proved too strong for the chasing pack of Tonderai Masunga, Ben Follet-Smith and Ray Badenhorst, claiming a three-shot win after a 72-hole total of six-over par 294.
Vundla, who carded rounds of 70, 75, 74 and 75 said he was delighted with the win as it brought him back on the winners circle after a lengthy absence.
“I’m very happy with the win in Gweru, it meant a lot to me as it had been a while since I had won on the amateur circuit. The course way very tough, very different from what we had become used to but I just managed to stick to the basics. I was also fortunate to have a lot of support,” Vundla told NewsDay Sport in an interview.
“It [the win] has now actually boosted my confidence ahead of the upcoming tournaments. One of my goals is to make the team for the World Amateur Team Championship and hopefully this win is a step in the right direction for me.
Having led Vundla by a shot going into the final round of play, Masunga struggled on Sunday carding a seven-over round of 79 to finish on nine-over 297.
That slip-up gave Vundla a lifeline and the Victoria Falls bred golfer capitalised to secure the win.
Masunga was tied for second position alongside the US-based duo of Follet-Smith and Badenhorst, who are back in the country on holiday from US universities.
Top junior golfer Kieran Vincent, younger brother to US-based sensation Scott, held his own to finish in a tied for fourth place with Renco Mine based golfer Visitor Mapwanya with a 72-hole gross score of 12-over par 300.
The 72-hole Midlands Amateur Championship which attracted a strong field of over 40 golfers came barely two weeks after the holding of the Chapman Grand Slam which was won by Follet-Smith at Chapman Golf Club.
Most amateur golfers will be hoping to impress in the upcoming tournaments to put themselves in contention for a place in the Zimbabwe team for the World Amateur Team Championship.
The biennial tournament, which is also known as the Eisenhower Trophy, is the world’s premier amateur golf event, featuring the best amateur players from at least 60 countries.
Japan hosts this year’s edition of the tournament in Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, with the 72-hole competition running from 11-14 September.
Midlands Amateur Championship Leaderboard
Thembelani Vundla 70, 75, 74, 75 +6 294
Tonderai Masunga 74, 71, 73, 79 +9 297
Ben Follet-Smith 76, 74, 72, 75 +9 297
Ray Badenhorst 73, 76, 76, 72 +9 297
Visitor Mapwanya 73, 75, 74, 78 +12300
Kieran Vincent 75, 77, 70, 78 +12 300