It has been a memorable week for Zimbabwe junior golf as the national team booked a ticket to the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup while the country also earned the onus to host the 2017 All Africa Golf Challenge.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
The Stuart Krog-inspired four-man Zimbabwe team finished second, 35 strokes behind powerhouse South Africa at the just-ended All Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Zambia, where the top two teams ensured participation at the World Cup set for June.
After a sloppy start on the first day at Chainama Golf Club finishing fifth, Zimbabwe bounced back into second place on day two with a dramatic two shot victory over South Africa.
Krog and Kiren Vincent shot the best score of the day, one under par 71 as Zimbabwe recorded a combined tally of 221.
With Justin Kirsten and Jack Allard completing the team, Zimbabwe consolidated second place on day three and four to finish the tournament with a total score of 908 in the 72-hole challenge.
South Africa, winning their 16 consecutive All Africa Golf championship, grossed 873 points, 35 ahead of Zimbabwe while hosts Zambia came third with 923 points as Uganda settled for fourth position on 931.
Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association (ZJGA) president Brian Maphosa could not hide his excitement about the recent achievements and showered praise on the team.
“We are very excited to have qualified for the junior golf World Cup. We have a great team at the moment, four solid players with great drive and we will surely see great things coming out of them,” he said.
Maphosa also spoke about a “jinx” that has to be broken — that of playing second fiddle to South Africa at most if not all regional and continental golf tournaments.
“Playing second to South Africa is obviously a jinx that needs to be broken. On the practical level, South Africa has it all in terms of a large talent base, resources and funding.We are not even comparable in that regard.
“It’s amazing how we almost matched them in this competition regardless of the gulf in terms of resources. It can only mean we are on the right track and we are grateful of the support that the Zimbabwe Golf Association has been giving us,” added Maphosa.
Zimbabwe now has a perfect opportunity to upset mighty South Africa when the country plays host to the 2017 All Africa Junior Golf Challenge and the junior golf association is relishing hosting the prestigious tournament.
“It’s obviously a great honour to be given such an opportunity to showcase the best of what Africa has in junior golfing. These are the future greats of golf and to host them when they are still at development stage is our small way of contributing to the greatness,” said the ZJGA president.