Former Zimbabwe ladies amateur golf number one player Batsirai Tilowakuti’s recent purple patch on the local scene has seen her being picked for the national team which is currently in Namibia for the Regional All Africa Challenge Trophy that tees off at Omeya Golf Estate in Windhoek tomorrow.
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
After a lengthy maternity hiatus from the game, Tilowakuti — now married to Lawrence Mpundu — struggled to discover the touch that made her a force to reckon with locally and regionally.
However, the 22-year-old golfer who is fast approaching her level best, has already shot her way to two local titles, in Mashonaland East and Matabeleland, a feat that won her a return into the national team fold.
Speaking to Standardsport at the national ladies team send off ceremony at Royal Harare on Friday, Tilowakuti could not hide her joy at donning the national team colours once again.
“I feel so happy to be back representing my country. I am very proud of myself and of the team that I am part of and I hope we are going to win in Namibia,” she said.
“When I came back after a maternity break, it was really tough for me to get my game going but this year with two wins already, I feel it’s going to be a good year. My target in Namibia is to be the best golfer at the competition and help my team win, and I have a feeling that we are going to win,” said the former Hatcliffe High School student.
The last time Zimbabwe competed at the biennial regional competition that was hosted at Centurion Country Club in Durban, South Africa, the team finished a disappointing fourth out of six countries.
Also in the Zimbabwe team is the 2013 female junior golfer of the year, 12-year-old prodigy Danielle Bekker who is making her debut appearance in the senior ladies team.
Playing off a nine handicap, Bekker is the mainstay for the junior golf team but has been elevated to the senior team due to her impressive rise in golf circles which has seen her compete at international tournaments around the globe.
“I feel good to be in the national team. I am a bit nervous to be playing at this level but I am going to perform very well and make sure we bring back the trophy,” said Bekker.
Bekker, who has competed in a number of tournaments in South Africa, winning a handful, is set to compete at the Junior European Championships in Scotland next month, a tournament in which she finished second last year.
Aulia Alfazema, one of the most consistent female golfers in recent years and Loice Chingono, another top female golfer, complete the team that is vying for the lucrative regional trophy.
Rhodah Muridzo, who comes from an iconic golfing family, is coaching the team for the second time running at the tournament.
Zimbabwe will have to contend with five other countries namely South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana at the RAACT tourney.
South Africa have dominated the competition, claiming four titles since the inaugural event in Botswana in 2007.
Regional All-Africa Challenge Trophy events are held biennially in West Africa, southern Africa, North Africa and East/Central Africa and are financially supported by the Royal and Ancient of St Andrews (R&A).