BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Royal Harare Golf Club professional golfer Robson Chinhoi believes the career low round of 60 he posted at the Ivory Coast Open on Saturday has provided him with the timely confidence boost ahead of the 2022 FBC Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship which tees off on Thursday.
Chinhoi warmed up for his home tournament in spectacular fashion after carding a sensational round of 12-under-par 60 on his way to a second-place finish at the Ivory Coast Open on Saturday.
The 31-year-old rising star, who has enjoyed remarkable success on the Kenya-based Safari Tour over the last couple of years, put on a dominant display at the President Golf Club in Yamoussoukro by firing 10 birdies and an eagle on his way to setting a new course record.
Chinhoi’s remarkable finish was however not enough for him to claim the coted title after settling for second position, a shot behind Ghanaian Vincent Torgah, won with 19-under-par 269 after carding 65, 69, 66 and 69.
Zimbabwe’s Chinhoi was second on 18-under-par 270 following scores of 71, 67, 72 and 60 while Ivorian Kacou Tanguy Arnaud was a further six shots back in third.
Fellow Zimbabwean Visitor Mapwanya finished sixth following rounds of 64, 74, 71 and 73.
Chinhoi said he was delighted that he was able to use the tournament to rediscover his form ahead of his home tournament.
“My game is in the right place (after this weekend) and I am happy,”
Chinhoi told NewsDay Sport in an interview from the West African nation yesterday.
“This was my career best round since I started playing golf and I’m very happy about it. In hindsight it was a very good idea for me to come to Ivory Coast and play some competitive golf before the Zimbabwe Open.”
After winning an impressive four titles on the Safari Tour early this year, Chinhoi had been going through a difficult stretch.
He missed the cut in the Magical Kenya Open, finished last at last month’s Harare Classic before missing another cut on the Sunshine Tour at the Stella Artois Players Championship.
“The career low round has really boosted my confidence ahead of Zim Open. The belief is back that I can shoot under par scores. Before coming here my game was a little bit shaky but with the results I posted last week I believe I’m ready for the Zimbabwe Open, and looking forward to competing against the boys and beating the course,” said Chinhoi.
The Nyanga-born golfer is among the several Zimbabwean golfers who will be seeking to end South Africa’s dominance of the Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship which tees off at Royal Harare and Chapman golf clubs on Thursday.
South African golfers have dominated the Zimbabwe Open since its return to the Sunshine Tour schedule in 2010, maintaining a perfect record before the competition was put on ice during the last three years.
The last local to win the Zimbabwe Open was Mark McNulty back in 2000 while Mutare-born, Dean Burmester, who won the 2015 edition, competes under the South African flag.
This year’s edition provides an opportunity for the country’s locally based professionals to finally end the long wait for a home winner.
FBC Holdings Limited headline the list of sponsors for the event, which has a lucrative prize fund of R2 million. The associate sponsors are Old Mutual, Delta Beverages and OK Zimbabwe while the anchor sponsors, include Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe and Sahwira Events.
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