Mopani Zambia Open tees off
Published On May 14, 2014 » 1918 Views» By Administrator Times » Others, Sports
 0 stars
Register to vote!

golf 2By FELIX MALUNGA –

THE richest-ever Zambia Open Golf Championship blasts off today with five past winners and other top professionals on the Sunshine Tour targeting a share of the US$250,000 (more than K1.5 million) prize money in this Mopani Copper Mines sponsored tournament in Kitwe.
It is the first time that the prestigious tournament since inception in 1972 is being staged in Kitwe with the 2014 Mopani Zambia Open being the richest in Africa outside South Africa with a budget of $1 million (about K6.3 million).
Adding spice to this year’s competition are the four luxurious vehicles placed on four par-three short holes on the course where the accurate shooters are guaranteed of driving off from the refurbished Nkana Golf Club.
A Jeep Cherokee worth K648,000 has been placed on hole number three with an LX 35 Hyundai costing K271,000 dangled for the seventh hole while a Toyota Corolla 2014 model valued at K250,000 is up for grabs on the 11th.
A Ford Ranger worth K248,000 is on the 15th hole.
The 2014 Mopani Zambia Open champion is assured of more than K258,000 (R410,229) as winners’ cash prize and competition is expected to be stiff with title holder, Adilson Da Silva facing a fierce challenge to his crown.
Apart from the stiff competition among the 134 players, the Nkana course, established in 1930, also possess a great challenge to the golfers with its tight fairways and tricky landing areas on the greens.
Despite coming up against a tough field, Da Silva is confident of grabbing his third Zambia Open title.
“My target is to retain the title but obviously it will not be an easy task because competition will be high and every golfer wants to beat the champion. I will be patient and play my game so that at the end of it all, I can go back with the title,” the Brazilian said.
Interestingly, Da Silva has been drawn in the same group with probably his fiercest rivals in 2012 champion, Justin Harding and 2011 winner, Doug McGuigan in today’s first round.
McGuigan is being tipped as favourite for the Mopani Zambia Open because the Nkana course layout suits his game. Tyrone Ferreira, the 2009 Zambia Open champion, and the 1996 winner, Desvonde Botes are other top contenders for the Mopani sponsored event.
Local favourite, Madalitso Muthiya, who created history in 2006 when he finished joint runner-up to Steve Basson in Chingola, is hoping to lift the elusive crown especially that this year’s championship is being held in his birth place, Kitwe.
“I am actually playing really well. I was actually born here in Kitwe and it will be nice if I can win it here,” Muthiya, who shot an impressive five-under-par 68 in the Airtel/Samsung Pro-Am on Tuesday, said.
Having won a Tata Xenon car three years ago in Chingola, Patrick Mwendapole also hopes to win one of the four cars that are up for grabs this year.
Zambia’s other top contender is Dayne Moore, whose 2010 score is still unbeaten by a local golfer. Other local professionals are Mohamed Zulu, Stephen Mbewe, Kelvin Phiri, Obed Sholoma, Aaron Simfukwe, Geoffrey Banda, Buba Samutela and Michael Chiluba.
Local amateurs also expected to push Zambia’s agenda are Peter Munyinya, Timothy Sondashi, Tristan Brice, Fred Ndhlovu, Denmark Mulambo and Ebenezer Funga.
Others are Kelvin Chibuye, Matengere Kaira, Mwivwanji Simukoko, Charles Shalubobya, Aaron Simfukwe jnr, Mwila Mwango and Mukuka Mwango jnr.
Also in this year’s rollercoaster is hole-in-one expert, Andre Cruse. Cruse, whose vision on his left eye is just two per cent and has undergone six operations on each eye, has a record of five holes-in-one with two of those achieved at the Zambia Open in 2001 and 2002.

Share this post
Tags

About The Author