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Zim sweep into lead

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ZIMBABWE’S amateur golf team put on an impressive display on the opening day of the Africa Golf Confederation Presidents Cup after storming to a five-shot lead at the eight-nation tournament here at Nkana Golf Club yesterday.

DANIEL NHAKANISO IN KITWE, ZAMBIA

After going into the tournament as pre-tournament favourites, the Roger Baylis-coached side lived up to its billing
as they combined for a total of 220 five shots ahead of hosts Zambia who are second on 225.

The duo of team captain Tonderai Masunga and Visitor Mapwanya ensured Zimbabwe got off to a commanding start after carding identical rounds of one-under par 72 on the par-73 course, while Thembelani Vundla signed for a 76.

With the three best rounds for each team counting towards the team’s total, national team debutant Robson Chinhoi’s 78 did not count towards Zimbabwe’s total.

The duo of Masunga and Mapwanya will head into today’s second round tied for second place, just a shot behind Denmark Mulambo who opened with a two-under par 71.

Mulambo was the only Zambian to break par as his other teammates Aaron Simfukwe Jnr (76), Timothy Sondashi (78) and Peter Munyinya (78) struggled in their home conditions.

Kenya will resume the second round in third place on 227, two shots ahead of Malawi who are fourth on 229, while Namibia and Uganda are tied for sixth on 246.

Nigeria, who are the only West African country to field a team at the continental tournament, combined for a total of 256 for eighth position.

National team coach Roger Baylis said he was pleased with the team’s impressive start and hoped that they would continue their dominant performance.

“I think the team played extremely well. Conditions have not been easy for us because the greens are very furry; the very hot conditions, while the winds have not made it any easier, considering how the fairways are very narrow.”

Baylis said he was particularly pleased with how the big hitting Renco Mine-based Mapwanya and the team’s skipper Masunga went about their business yesterday.

“I’m very pleased with how Visitor and Tonderai played, their golf was outstanding today. Thembelani was a little disappointing, he is a much better player than the 76 he scored today suggests. I’m confident he’ll certainly do much better tomorrow and for a first timer, Robson Chinhoi was not bad.
Five-over par when you have never been in an event is a good start and i think he will only get better,” Baylis said.

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