ROYAL Harare Golf Club-based amateur golfer Tonderai Masunga has been roped into the Zimbabwe team to replace his clubmate Kieran Vincent ahead of the prestigious Africa Amateur Golf Teams Championship to be held in Kenya next week. BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Zimbabwe will take on 16 other African nations from Monday through to Thursday next week at Limuru Country Club in the eighth edition of the biennial African Amateur Golf Teams Championship.
Masunga had initially been named as a non-travelling reserve for the tournament, but will now make the trip following the withdrawal of Vincent from the team due to academic commitments.
He now joins Visitor Mapwanya, who leads the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) Order of Merit standings, recently crowned Hwange Open amateur champion Robson Chinhoi and David Amm, who won the Hillside Masters in Mutare recently.
Although Masunga will be making his debut at the biannual Africa Amateur Golf Teams Championship, he has represented Zimbabwe before after captaining the team which won the inaugural Africa Golf Confederation President’s Cup in Kitwe, Zambia, last year.
The Zimbabwe team, which also comprises of coach Roger Baylis and ZGA first vice-president Mufaro Chivonivoni, is set to leave for Kenya on Saturday and arrive in time for the Sunday practice round and the flag-raising at Limuru Country Club.
Chivonivoni is expected to submit Zimbabwe’s bid to host 2017 Africa Amateur Golf Teams Championship on the sidelines of the competition.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, ZGA development officer Boniface Chigorimbo said he was confident the team would do well in Kenya.
“We took into account form, experience and rankings and the four players earned their selection in the squad based on these factors to ensure we take the best possible team to Kenya.”
“Mapwanya currently leads the ZGA Order of Merit standings, while Chinhoi and Amm have been in very good form on the local circuit.
“Unfortunately, Vincent is unable to travel due to exams, but Masunga is in very good form and his wealth of experience is a welcome addition to the team,” Chigorimbo said.
In addition to Zimbabwe and the host nation Kenya, other countries that will feature at the tournament include reigning champions South Africa, Tanzania, Swaziland, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Mauritius, Egypt, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia and Uganda.
Zimbabwe finished a commendable second behind continental giants South Africa at the last edition of the tournament held in Swaziland two years ago.
The championship will be contested over four rounds of stroke play. Each team consists of four players, but only the best three scores per round will count toward the team total.
The country with the lowest gross score at the end of the championship will be crowned champions while there is also a prize for the overall individual winner.