The future looks bright for the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU) after top junior golfer Emily Jones (14) won the Zimbabwe Open last week and another Danielle Bekker (15), was tied for fourth.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Jones and Bekker have cemented their place in the senior national team that recorded a historic victory at the Gilberson and Page Trophy Triangular Ladies Golf Tournament in Zambia last month.
It was the first time since 2003 that Zimbabwe won that competition, with a number of junior players coming up the ranks.
With other senior top players like Batsirai Tilowakuti who was runner-up last week, Yolanda Mubaiwa, Shamiso Makwara and junior player Margaret Nyamukondiwa playing well, Zimbabwe may dominate golf on the continent for years to come.
ZLGU president Caroline mutsambiwa was excited to talk about the future of ladies golf in the country.
“I am excited by the prospects of our golf. Despite having a lot of disadvantages, we have given South Africa a run for their money and if we had as much resources as they do, I am sure we would be better than them,” Mutsambiwa said on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Open.
Earlier in the year, the ladies junior team including Jones, Bekker and Rumbidzai Chisango missed out on World Cup qualifications after finishing second to South Africa at the Africa Junior Championships.
Can Zimbabwe upstage the southern neighbours in the coming few years?
“I can see that happening, especially considering how well Emily is playing and also Danielle, although not at her best currently but they can only get better. And in a year or two they may take us to the World Cup for the first time,” she said.
The ZLGU president also expressed delight at how the sport has been growing in the provinces.
“Ladies golf is growing in provinces, especially Matabeleland where we have a big number of players as well as in Mashonaland East and Midlands, but Harare has the biggest numbers.
“We also have a lot of juniors in Harare alone and we had a nine-year-old Mpho Nkomani participating in this tournament. She played very well and we are excited about it. Our energy and vision is on the juniors so if we put a lot of effort and encourage the juniors to come in and play. our golf will grow bigger,” Mutsambiwa said.
Nkomani hit the longest drive in her division playing against senior players.
There are also other young golfers such as Tracy Humbira and Primrose Chikwanya who have shown a lot of promise lately.
The Zimbabwe Open saw a significant rise in the number of participants with up to 90 registering this year compared to about 70 last year.
Several players came from neighbouring countries like South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. Jahaanvie Walia from Zambia and a Motswana Ouname Mnotsha finished third and fourth respectively.
ZLGU said it would like to see more regional participation at the Zimbabwe Open in coming years.