Tilowakuti lifts Zimbabwe to 2nd place finish in Namibia

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TOP female golfer Batsirai Tilowakuti put on a spirited performance on her national team return to inspire the Zimbabwe ladies’ golf team to a commendable second-place finish in the Regional All-Africa Ladies’ Challenge Golf Trophy (RAACT) played out at the Omeya Golf Estate in Windhoek, Namibia, on Thursday.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Tilowakuti, who was making her comeback to the national side after a lengthy maternity hiatus, shot 76, while Aulia Alfazema carded an 80 on the final day to give Zimbabwe a closing 156 which took their total points tally to 469.

Zimbabwe’s total was, however, 30 strokes adrift of the South Africans, who clinched their fifth consecutive RAACT title on a winning total of seven-over-par 439.

The Zimbabwe team which comprises Tilowakuti, Alfazema, Loice Chingono and 12-year-old Danielle Bekker, will, however, be pleased with their results in Namibia and they regained their position as the second best team in Southern Africa.

The Rhoda Muridzo-coached side finished 14 strokes ahead of the host nation Namibia, who finished third on 483 points, while Botswana took fourth on 537 with Lesotho finishing fifth on 647 points.

Zimbabwe Ladies’ Golf Union (ZLGU) president Nancy Dube said she was pleased with the team’s performance in the prestigious biennial event, singling out young debutant Bekker for special praise after her commendable display on her debut appearance for the national team.

Bekker helped Zimbabwe to second on Day Two with an 80 and Dube believes they now need to focus on their grassroots development programmes to produce more young players.

“I am very excited with the results. The girls did their best and I am really proud of them. Generally, all the ladies played their best and there was good team spirit,” Dube said.

“The young girl, Danielle Bekker, who was the only junior in our team, displayed excellent maturity on Day Two when she drove the green on a par 4 and got an eagle.

“What we need to focus on now is our junior development programme because that’s the future for our national team.”

After the commendable perfomance in Namibia, local women golfers will now shift their attention to the Gilberson & Page Trophy and the Zimbabwe Ladies Amateur Strokeplay which they will host at The Brooke Golf Club and Chapman Golf Club respectively in August.

RAACT FINAL RESULTS

439 SA 147 147 145
469 Zimbabwe 155 158 156
483 Namibia 155 161 167
537 Botswana 185 181 171
647 Lesotho 211 209 227