RISING Zimbabwean golf star, Scott Vincent will miss this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Open Championship due to a busy schedule on the Asian Tour, where he was named the Rookie of the Year last season.BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The 24-year-old sensation, who is currently the highest-ranked local professional golfer on the Official World Golf Rankings, had been expected to spearhead the locals’ challenge for a first homegrown winner in the flagship event since 2000 after his impressive top 10 finish last year.
The R1,8 million Zimbabwe Open takes place at Royal Harare Golf Club from April 20 to 23, the same week Vincent is expected to feature in the $1 270 000 Panasonic Japan Open, to be played at Chiba Country Club in Tokyo.
Vincent told NewsDay Sport yesterday that although he was disappointed not to make it to this year’s tournament and he was looking forward to playing in his home event in the future.
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to make it for the Zimbabwe Open due to a very busy schedule on the Asian Tour. Obviously I am hugely disappointed to be missing out but looking forward to my next Zimbabwe Open,” he said.
Vincent was the highest-placed local on the leaderboard at last year’s Zimbabwe Open after carding rounds of 71, 68, 77 and 65 to finish in a tie for fifth position on seven-under-par 281.
Vincent’s fifth-place finish is the best performance by a Zimbabwean in the Zimbabwe Open since Marc Cayeux’s third-place finish in 2010.
Since the Zimbabwe Open’s return on the Sunshine Tour schedule in 2010, South African professional golfers have dominated the event, maintaining a perfect record.
Kimberly-born J’be Kruger won the Zimbabwe Open twice in 2010 and in 2014, while Theunis Spangenberg, Chris Swanepoel and Jake Roos won in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively.
Mutare-born, Dean Burmester, who competes under the South African flag, won the 2015 edition of the tournament, before Lyle Rowe became the sixth South African golfer in as many years to win tournament after his victory last year.
The last local to win the Zimbabwe Open was Mark McNulty back in 2000 and hopes are high a local will finally win the event this time around.