BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWEAN professional golfer Mohammad Mandhu rallied from a three-shot deficit to win the Zimbabwe Challenge Golf/Under-par Tour event and the bragging rights for the hosting course at Royal Harare Golf Club yesterday.
Mandhu, who plays out of the picturesque Harare-based course, began the final round three shots off the overnight lead held by rising star Robson Chinhoi after opening with level par round of 70 on Thursday.
While Chinhoi found the going tough by carding a two over-par 74, Mandhu made good use of his familiarity to the surroundings of his home course with a solid 70 for a 36-hole total of two-under par 142.
Mandhu’s final round included an eagle and two birdies, which included a three on the par-four 17th hole as he held of Chinhoi for a one stroke victory.
It was a satisfying win for Mandhu, who has been working hard on his game after a difficult two-month spell on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa.
“I feel good, obviously this is my home course. I played really good both two days, I was hitting great, but I left a few putts short. In the end, I’m glad I did enough to get the win,” an elated Mandhu said after his victory.
The 30-year-old golfer also thanked golf administrator Themba Sibanda and fellow pro Arnold Burasho for providing the platform for local professional golfers to get regular competitive game time.
Other sponsors who were backing the event include The Pro Shop Zimbabwe and individuals Caleb Tapfuma and Obrian Dube.
“Thumbs up to Arnold Burasho and Themba Sibanda who have been behind the Zimbabwe Challenge Tour and Under-par Tour respectively. They’ve done a great job to get us all playing. I think it’s a great idea to get us playing twice a month and I can guarantee you we’re going to see much better scores from all the players,” Mandhu said.
Chinhoi, who has been playing brilliant golf on the East Africa-based Safari Tour, began the final round as the favourite, but in the end, had to settle for second position with a one under par-143 total.
Wingate Park Golf Club-based pro Mairos Katembenuka finished in third position on the leaderboard as he recovered from a 77 in the opening round to finish his campaign with a solid 70.
Tatenda Makunde was a shot back in fourth position after carding rounds of 76 and 73, while Visitor Mapwanya settled for fifth position on four over-par 149.
United States-based leading Zimbabwean amateur golfer David Amm, who is currently in the country on holiday, finished as the highest-placed amateur in the field.
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