BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE’S leading female amateur golfer Danielle Bekker will be aiming to continue her recent dominance of the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU) Open Strokeplay Championship when she tees off in the National Aids Council (NAC)-sponsored event at Royal Harare Golf Club today.
The 18-year-old golfer won the last edition of the country’s flagship ladies golf tournament in 2018 before the last two tournaments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The win in 2018 was more special for Bekker, who completed a memorable double by claiming the ZLGU Open Strokeplay Championship and Zambia Open titles in a space of two weeks.
Bekker headlines another strong field for this year’s edition which will mark the return of ladies golf in the country after receiving approval by the Sports and Recreation Commission.
The teen star, who is a member at Chapman Golf Club and Johannesburg Golf Club in South Africa, is one of the three former winners of the prestigious tournament in this year’s field alongside Batsirai Tilowakuti and Yollander Mubaiwa.
ZLGU president Anne Nduku told NewsDay Sport yesterday that they were expecting a field of 100 golfers from the country’s provinces while there are no foreign players in the field due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have a 100 lady golfers participating from all the provinces in Zimbabwe. All these ladies are locals; we don’t have foreign participants this year. Due to COVID-19 we also did not have the time to invite foreigners and because of the protocols that we have to follow it was next to impossible. We needed a three-month notification period and that requirement is from the SRC and because of that and the ban on sport activities it was next to impossible,” Nduku said.
The seasoned golf administrator expressed confidence in the union’s level of preparedness ahead of the tournament and encouraged participating golfers to sanitise, mask up and keep safe distance.
The ZLGU is making a return to the local golf circuit after almost two years in the doldrums due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
NAC are the main sponsors of the tournament after unveiling a US$15 000 sponsorship package towards the hosting of the event for the prestigious golf event, while other sponsors include Colcom, Arenel, Elevate Steel Center Hempac Sports and Whitecross Pharmacy.
The championship and A Division players will tee off today while the B and C Divisions get to the green tomorrow and Sunday respectively.
The Championship and A Divisions will take part in a 54-hole battle over three days while the B and C divisions are set to play 36 holes.
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