GOLF sensation, Scott Vincent will for the second consecutive year be missing in action at the flagship Zimbabwe Open, dealing a blow to the country’s hopes of ending South Africa’s dominance of the Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Vincent, who is currently the highest-ranked Zimbabwean professional golfer on the official World Golf Rankings, had been expected to spearhead the locals’ challenge for a first home-grown winner in the flagship event since 2000 after his impressive top 10 finish in 2016.
The 25-year-old Zimbabwean rising star told NewsDay Sport that, just like last year, he will miss this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Open Championship due to a busy schedule on the Asian Tour.
“Unfortunately, I am not going to make it for the Zimbabwe Open because of the same reason as last year,” he said.
“Obviously, I am disappointed to be missing out, but looking forward to my next Zimbabwe Open in the future,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Open, whose prize fund will be unveiled on Friday, takes place at Royal Harare Golf Club from April 19 to 22, the same week Vincent is expected to feature in the $ 1 370 000 Panasonic Japan Open, to be played at Chiba Country Club in Tokyo.
Vincent has been enjoying a superb season on the Asian Tour and the Sunshine Tour, where he sits on positions 22 and eighth on the Order of Merit Standings respectively after some solid performances since last year.
The former St John’s College student and brother to US-based top amateur golfer Kieren Vincent was the highest-placed local on the leaderboard during the 2016 Zimbabwe Open after carding rounds of 71, 68, 77 and 65 to finish in a tie for fifth position on seven-under-par 281.
Vincent’s fifth-place finish was the best performance by a Zimbabwean in the Zimbabwe Open since Marc Cayeux’s third-place finish in 2010.
Since the Zimbabwe Open’s return on the Sunshine Tour schedule in 2010, South African professional golfers have dominated the event, maintaining a perfect record.
The last local to win the Zimbabwe Open was Mark McNulty back in 2000 and hopes are high a local will finally win the event this time around.