Takudzwa Chitsiga, Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE’S Mark Williams managed to make the cut and finished tied seventh at the South African Open golf tournament at the Randpark Golf Course in Johannesburg yesterday.
Williams had a promising start after he finished the opening round at four-under-par on Thursday which he followed up with another four-under 67 to make the cut.
Williams managed to remain in contention and was on second position at some point as he returned with a one-under and level par in the last two rounds.
The South Africa-based professional golfer was part of the field that had four Zimbabwean professional golfers.
Williams was not active in many tournaments this season as he seeks to break in the European Tour.
The world’s second oldest golf tournament had Williams, Benjamin Follet-Smith, Marc Cayuex and Stephen Ferreira representing Zimbabwe.
The European Tour co-sanctioned prestigious tournament had R17.9 million and the duo of Cayeux and Follet-Smith failed to make it through the opening two qualifying rounds.
Cayeux is trying to make a comeback after injuries he sustained in a fatal road accident back home near Mvuma in 2010 and came in as an exempted player through medical grounds.
Follet-Smith, like most of the players who teed off in the afternoon, struggled.
South African Branden Grace won the tournament at 21-under-par after an impressive last round of ten-under-par 62.
The South African Open was inaugurated in 1903 after a series of exhibition matches had been played in the decade prior to it.
It is the second-oldest national open golf championship in the world, with the Open Championship being the oldest.
It is also the second-oldest sporting competition in South Africa after rugby’s Currie Cup, which was first played for in 1893.
The tournament was a 36-hole event until 1908 when it became 72 holes. However, for the next 60 years, it was a three-day event as 36 holes were played on the final day. It was only at the 1969 event at Durban Country Club that it became a four-day event – the format it still maintains today.
In 1997, the European Tour co-sanctioned the event for the first time.