By FELIX MALUNGA-
TOURNAMENT authorities, Sunshine Tour are amazed with the amount of works done at Nkana Golf Club in Kitwe and predicted that the Mopani Copper Mines 2014 Zambia Open Championship will be the most competitive ever in local history.
After inspecting the golf club and meeting officials in Kitwe yesterday, Sunshine Tour tournament director, Dan Zwiebel described the Nkana course as ‘absolutely amazing and fantastic’ and that the golf course layout was one of the most challenging he had ever seen in many years.
Zwiebel said with the way the course had been done, only an accurate player would win the Mopani Zambia Open Championship and not just a long hitter.
He said the tournament sanctioning authorities do not even need to do a final inspection on the course because the Zambia Golf Union (ZGU), Zambia Open Organising Committee (ZOOC) and Nkana Golf Club were already doing a commendable job in ensuring everything was in order.
“It’s my first time to be here. Everything will be tournament-ready come four weeks from now.
“These works done here are absolutely amazing, this is fantastic. I would like to thank Mopani for this massive investment,” he said in an interview.
Zwiebel said being the first time that golfers would be playing for $250,000 (about K1.5 million) in Zambia, the Mopani sponsored tournament would be the most competitive as many of the top players on the Sunshine Tour would be heading to Kitwe.
He said with the overwhelming response of entries received so far, Sunshine Tour would pick the top-ranked 114 on its circuit and leave the rest of the slots to Zambia.
The South Africa-based official said the Mopani Zambia Open would have a total field of 144 players.
Entries for the Mopani Zambia Open have swelled to over 154 on the Sunshine Tour website.
ZGU president, Charles Mwanza said the Mopani Zambia Open would be the best and the most unique because of the massive construction works done at Nkana and the biggest purse money ever on offer.
Mwanza said ZGU expected the local professionals and amateurs to also put up an improved performance this year.
He said with Zambia turning 50 years, the long wait for a local to clinch the Zambia Open should be over this year.
Mwanza also said it was encouraging that ZGU’s deliberate programme of rotating the Zambia Open had led to the upgrading of golf courses across the nation.
Nkana will stage the Mopani Zambia Open Championship on May 12-18 while Lusaka Golf Club will host the Zambia Sugar Zambia Open in June.