THE picturesque Royal Harare Golf Club layout will host this year’s edition of the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Ladies’ Golf Union (ZLGU) Open Strokeplay Championship, which tees off on Friday running through to Sunday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Sponsored by diversified financial services group Old Mutual Zimbabwe, the ZLGU Open Strokeplay Championship is the premier tournament on the local women’s golf calendar.
ZLGU president Caroline Mtsambiwa told NewsDay Sport yesterday that this year’s tournament was yet again expected to attract the crème de la crème of local golf while competitors from the region were also expected to take part.
“We are having the ZLGU Open Strokeplay Championship from Friday to Sunday at Royal Harare. We are expecting a big field of local golfers and some from neighbouring Botswana and Zambia
“In total, we are looking at a field of 80 players, but the figure could still reach 100. We are grateful to Old Mutual, who are our anchor sponsors for the tournament, because without their support it would not be possible to host a tournament of this magnitude,” she said.
The tournament, which will be played over three rounds of strokeplay, has in recent years witnessed a marked improvement in the standard of play among the ladies.
Local golf fans were treated to some quality competition last year when top female golfer Claire Minter won the tournament after a thrilling three-hole playoff duel with rising star Danielle Bekker.
Minter, who was making a return to the local ladies’ golf circuit after a four-year absence, carded rounds of 76, 78 and 75 for a 54-hole gross total of 13-over par 229.
Minter was tied for the lead with Bekker, who returned scores of 79, 77 and 73 at the Brooke Golf Club, before the former sealed an emotional win via the playoff.
After the victory, Minter, who has now won five Zimbabwe Ladies’ Amateur Open titles since her first win in 2008, confirmed her status as the most successful female golfer in the history of the tournament.
Batsirai Tilowakuti settled for third place on a gross total of 238 after carding rounds of 85, 76 and 77, while rising junior Emily Jones finished in fourth place following rounds of 82, 81 and 78.
Jones will be aiming to do better this time around as she has been in good form after winning the Lesotho and the Zambia Open Championships this year.