A NEW generation of Zimbabwean professional golfers will be hoping to make their presence felt on the on the West African Golf Tour when they tee off in the season opening FCT Classic at the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja, Nigeria today.
By DANIEL NHAKANISO
The FCT Classic which has a prize fund of $25 000 runs from today until Saturday and will set into motion a busy schedule on the 2018 West Africa Golf Tour, which will feature a total of ten tournaments throughout the year.
Renco Mine-bred former top Zimbabwe amateur golfer, Visitor Mapwanya who enjoyed an impressive debut season on the West Africa professional golf last year by finishing second on the Order of Merit Standings will headline a strong line up of local professional golfers.
Mapwanya will be joined by fellow upcoming professionals Robson Chinhoi, Liberty Gumisa, Biggy Chibvuri as well as seasoned professional Tongo Charamba, who makes a return to West Africa after his debut last year.
West Africa Golf Tour president Emeka Okatta told NewsDaySport from his base in Abuja, Nigeria yesterday that they were pleased by the increase in the number of Zimbabwean players competing on the West Africa Golf Tour this year.
“I’m pleased to announce that we have five Zimbabwean professional golfers who have confirmed their participation in the FCT Classic, which will be the season opener for the 2018 West Africa Golf Tour season. We have players from 10 countries namely Zimbabwe, Zambia, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, Germany, Spain and Togo. It’s a full and great field of players and we believe this will certainly increase the level of competition on the tour,” Okatta said.
The increase in the number of Zimbabweans heading west was necessitated by the success of Mapwanya, who last year became the first Zimbabwean to feature on the West Africa Golf Tour before going on to secure his maiden victory at the B& E Tournament in Abuja, Nigeria in July.
In Nigeria Mapwanya completed a two-shot victory after leading from start to finish to hold off the challenge of the field of 42 players to win with four over par total after 72 holes.
The former national amateur team player went on to finish as respectable second on the West Africa Golf Tour Order of Merit Standings behind eventual winner Ghana’s number one golfer, Vincent Torgah.
Mapwanya’s success appears to have caught the attention of his fellow countrymen, who are beginning to appreciate the potential the West Africa Golf Tour has to take their careers to the next level.