RISING Zimbabwean professional golfer snatched a maiden Sunshine Tour title after defeating South Africa’s inform star Niel Schietekat in a playoff at the Zanaco Masters in Lusaka yesterday.
Chinhoi appeared to have blown his chance of a victory when he dropped a shot on the 17th hole in regulation play to close with a four-under 68 at Lusaka Golf Club and join the recent FC Zimbabwe Open champion Schietekat on 17-under-par 271.
The Royal Harare Golf Club-based professional, however, held his nerve to beat the South African, who was aiming for back-to-back wins on the Sunshine Tour, with a birdie at the first extra hole.
After sinking the winning putt, Chinhoi hardly had time to acknowledge his playing his partner as he was mobbed by local fans on the 18th green.
It was a memorable win for Chinhoi, as he finally lived up to the promise he has shown over the last couple of years with multiple wins on the East Africa-based Safari Tour circuit.
Although Chinhoi has won several title locally and on the continent, the Zanaco Masters is Chinhoi’s first recognised international title as the tournament is sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.
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The Nyanga-born star also joined his compatriot Tongo Charamba as the only black Zimbabwean professional golfers to have claimed wins on the Sunshine Tour.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Ryan van Vlezen settled for third position on 16-under-par, a short ahead of the quartet of Trevor Fisher Jr, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Rupert Kamiski and Sean Bradley all from South Africa.
Chinhoi started the final day in third position and two shots behind the lead which was held by Englishman David Wicks.
He got off to a fast start with a birdie at the par five second before notching another one on the eighth.
The Zimbabwean notched three more birdies on the backnine as he moved into the lead at 18-under before the lone bogey on the penultimate hole threatened to thwart his victory charge.