By Takudzwa Chitsiga
THE Sunshine Tour on Monday took temporary control of Royal Harare Golf Club for this year’s edition of the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open golf tournament which tees off tomorrow. Sunshine Tour director, Garry Todd, was given the greenlight to host the country’s premier golf event which will run from tomorrow through to Sunday.
“We are happy as the Sunshine Tour to be back here in Zimbabwe and we are grateful to Royal Harare management and staff for giving us the course.
“We promise that we will make sure we will try to leave it in the good condition as we saw it,” said Todd.
The club was founded 1898 by a group of golf lovers. The course was established on the current location in 1901.
The original course, with its “sand greens,” was very differently laid out to the current design.
Meanwhile, Peter Banda and Tonderai Masunga booked their places in the Zimbabwe Open tournament after the pre-qualifiers at Royal Harare on Monday.
The duo was part of the 96 players who took to the field for the eight slots that were up for grabs.
Bulawayo Golf Club professional, Banda, was the first to book his place after he carded 70, the same score as Masunga. They then went for the play-offs. Masunga managed to see of countryman Nyasha Muyambo in the play-off as there was a six-way tie of position five, taking the number to nine, when only eight players were expected to make the grade.
South Africans once again dominated the show as they provided six players in Sipho Bujela (67), Bright Mathew, Garry Ferguson and Simon Mburu Ngige.
The South Africans have dominated the Zimbabwe Open in recent years and are likely to provide a winner for the tourney again in this edition.
The majority of them are coming from taking part at the Zanaco Masters at Lusaka Golf Club which they dominated with JJ Senekal winning his second Sunshine Tour title in dramatic fashion last Sunday when he chipped in for eagle.
He defeated his countryman, Jaco Ahlers, a regular at the Zimbabwe Open.