CHAPMAN Golf Club female junior golfer Emily Jones will make her debut for the Zimbabwe ladies team when she lines up in the prestigious All-Africa Challenge Trophy (AACT) alongside fellow junior Danielle Bekker and seasoned female golfer Batsirai Tilowakuti in Tunisia this April.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 14th edition of the biennial continental ladies’ golf championship will take place at the Citrus Golf Course in Hammamet, Tunisia from April 4-9 with a strong field made up of some of the best lady amateur golfers in Africa.
The last edition of the biennial continental competition was held at the Muthaiga Golf Club in Kenya and the Zimbabwe team finished fourth out of 16 participating countries.
This year the Zimbabwean trio will be eager to do better after some encouraging performances in the Southern Region All-Africa Challenge Trophy in Namibia and the Gilberson & Page Trophy held in the capital last year.
12-year-old Jones becomes the second junior player to break into the national team after club mate Bekker also earned her first national team cap at the Southern Regional All-Africa Challenge Trophy in Namibia last year.
Bekker, who has been occupying top spot on the Zimbabwe Ladies’ Golf Union (ZLGU) Order Of Merit Standings since last year, has been in superb form winning the first two events on the local calendar this year.
The 13-year-old young star got her season off to a superb start by winning the East/West Open Strokeplay Tournament at Ruwa Golf Club a fortnight ago before clinching a three-shot victory at the Matabeleland Open Strokeplay Tournament in Bulawayo this weekend.
ZLGU president Ilonka Bekker told NewsDay Sport that team would be accompanied by Chapman Golf Club seasoned female teaching professional Cath Riley.
“Our team is made up of Batsirai Tilowakuti, Emily Jones and Danielle Bekker while the non-travelling reserves are Aulia Alfazema and Yollander Mubaiwa. The national coach is Cath Riley.
“The team has been practising together regularly and the practices are going well,” she said.
With the exception of 2006, when the team trophy was won by Egypt, South Africa has claimed victory in every other edition of the high-status team championship since its inception in 1992.
The format of the All-Africa Challenge Trophy is similar to the World Amateur Team Championship.
Each team is represented by three players and the best two scores per round count towards the daily team score in the 54-hole stroke play championship.
Meanwhile, reigning Zimbabwe Open champion Dean Burmester was the biggest winner at the Sunshine Tour awards held in Sandton on Monday evening as he claimed four of the seven awards on offer on the night.
Included in his accolades were the Stroke Average award, Players’ Player of the Year award, Golf Writers’ award and Commissioner’s award.
The 26-year-old Mutare-born star, who currently completes under the South African flag, won four times on the Sunshine Tour during the 2015/2016 season and is now ranked 100th in the world.