Zim junior golfers primed for World Cup challenge

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BULAWAYO-BASED top junior golfer Justin Kirsten was the only addition to the Zimbabwe junior national team that has been selected for the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup scheduled for Japan early next month.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

Kirsten makes a return to the squad ahead of the global showpiece after recently missing the All-Africa Junior Golf Championships held in Zambia.

The Falcon College student is expected to further strengthen the national side, whose other members include captain Jack Allard, Kieran Vincent and David Amm while Bekithemba Ndlovu is the non-travelling reserve.

The duo of Kirsten and Vincent will be making their second appearance in Japan after their debut at last year’s edition of the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup.

Last year Zimbabwe, who were making their return to the prestigious tournament for the first time in 14 years, struggled to make an impact against some of the world’s best juniors as they finished bottom of the team standings.

However, national junior golf team coach Simon Murungweni is confident his charges will put up a better show this time around.
“I think we have a very strong team this year and our preparations have been going on very well. The team captain Jake Allard has been in very good form and finished a close second at the Rowland Park Open this weekend after another solid perfomance in Zambia,” the Royal Harare Golf Club professional told NewsDay Sport in an interview yesterday.

“David Amm has also been playing some solid golf while we also boast of players like Kieran Vincent and Justin Kirsten who have the experience of playing at that level. After competing at the same tournament last year, they will also be familiar with the golf course and that should come in handy for the rest of the team,” Murungweni said.

Zimbabwe and South Africa are the only African countries that qualified for the 23rd edition of this prestigious event and will line up against 15 other countries from five continents at the Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course from June 16-19.

Each country will field a four-man team, however, only three best scores will count towards the team total in each round of the 72-hole event.

The Toyota Junior Golf World Cup is the only junior golf championship in the world where the winning nations qualify to compete for the world championship title.

The first tournament was staged in 1992 at Taisha Country Club in Izumo, Japan, with the United States team emerging victors.

In 2002 Toyota Motor Company Japan announced a five-year commitment as title sponsor.