Takudzwa Chitsiga, Harare Bureau
PROFESSIONAL golfers who were supposed to be practicing for the annual Zimbabwe Open received sad news that the country’s premier golf tournament scheduled for August 28 to September 2 at Royal Harare has been cancelled as the international players could not be paid in local currency.
The players had an opportunity to take to the field at the weekend when they take part in the inaugural Wingate Park Pro-Challenge tournament after a long layoff without game time received the news yesterday.
Zimbabwe Professional Golf Association president, Garry Thompson, confirmed yesterday that the tournament has been cancelled.
“We are sad to announce that Zimbabwe Open was cancelled forthwith and we were hopeful that we could see our players taking part in the tournament.
“As ZPGA we, however, find solace in that local tournaments are coming and recently we held the inaugural Wingate Park Pro Challenge and up next is the Platinum Challenge in Kadoma,” said Thompson.
At the Wingate Pro Challenge, in-form Anywhere Katembenuka managed to beat Asian Tour player Scott Vincent in a playoff after they had finished tied.
Katembenuka, a Wingate-based professional, is in good form after he finished second in the JM Busha tournament recently.
The Wingate Pro Challenge powered by TZ and introduced by professional Brian Gondo had several local professionals battling it out for over $60 000.
A seven under-par playoff finish between Zimbabwe’s highest ranked player Scott Vincent and Anyway Katembenuka led to a tie which saw the later carding 67 to the former’s 68 in a sudden-death playoff.
“I won in playoffs at this golf course throughout my amateur career and I thought today would be no different,” Katembenuka said.
The sponsor, Tongesai Zvaravanhu, of Molsky Investments said it was good to see “the local brothers” compete and it gave them confidence ahead of upcoming high profile events.
“The confidence of one of the two best professional brothers in the county was evident as he won his first pro tournament here.
“The whole purpose was to build our local professionals into match readiness. They performed brilliantly and I’m totally delighted with the outcome over the last two days…. Thank you ZPGA,” Zvaravanhu added.