TOP Zimbabwean amateur golfer Jack Allard managed the gusty conditions at Chapman Golf Club fantastically well as he took a two-shot lead in the first round of the $20 000 Harare Open golf tournament yesterday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 22-year-old rising star, who is on a golf scholarship at Barry University in Florida, US, seemed unfazed with the windy conditions and the prospect of playing alongside seasoned professionals as he carded a brilliant four under-par round of 68 to lead the strong field.
Allard has been in very good form on the local amateur circuit and recently earned selection in the Zimbabwe side for the World Amateur Team Championships which tees off on August 29 at Carton House in Dublin, Ireland.
His game looked in tip-top shape, as he hit the ball crisply and putted with confidence throughout his solid round.
“I played quite well today; my putting was a lot better than it has been recently. Normally that’s always the part of my game that doesn’t always come through, it’s a bit streaky, but today, the ball was rolling well and I made a lot of putts that I don’t normally make, so that was the main difference,” he said afterwards.
Allard said while the wind was a major factor on his back nine, he managed to adjust well to the conditions and is hoping to perform even better in calmer conditions in the final round today.
“On the front nine, the wind wasn’t there at all, but it picked up a lot on the back nine and it was a big element. You had to shave the ball and try and hit it with less spin and a little lower so it made it a little bit challenging but I think I actually played better on the back nine,” he said.
The Bulawayo-based talented amateur will start the second and final round two shots ahead of former national junior and amateur teammate Benjamin Follet-Smith.
Follet-Smith, who has been enjoying a solid rookie season on the Sunshine Tour, is solo second on the leaderboard after carding a two-under par 70.
Seasoned Royal Harare professional Ryan Cairns is three shots off the lead having returned a 71, as he looks to make it two in a row after winning the JM Busha Pro-Am in May.
The quartet of Anyway Katembenuka, Nickson Masunga, Tranos Muradzikwa and amateur Stuart Krog all shot a level par round of 71.
A strong field of 60 professional and select golfers is taking part in the Harare City Council-sponsored tournament which is making a return on the Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association circuit after a three-year