All in all, 156 of the top golfers will be on the course, with Kruger looking for a third title, having also won the contest when it was re-introduced in 2010. He missed out for eight years due to the non-availability of a sponsor.
“I am in the best shape of my career. A third title will do good to my reputation,” said the defending champion, who arrived early in Harare ahead of the official welcoming day.
Should he win again, Kruger would have equalled the record set by Zimbabweans Nick Price and Marc McNulty, who won three titles each. Ironically, McNulty was the last Zimbabwean to win the Zimbabwe Open, following his success in 2000.
Since then, the title has gone to South African golfers, with the best Zimbabwe has done being Tongoona Charamba’s 10th finish in the 2014 edition. Charamba will once again carry Zimbabwe’s hopes with Ryan Cairns, Scott Vincent, Mark Williams and Mohhamed Mandu, who won the Pre-Zimbabwe Open title.
Michael Mahachi, secretary of the organizing committee, said they expected a tough competition due to the “appetizing” line-up. “The course is in perfect condition and we have top class golfers coming from South Africa. This is an event not to miss,” he said.
Mahachi revealed that they had invited Zimbabwe’s current top golfer, Brendon de Jonge, but the USA-based golfer turned down the invitation, citing a full schedule on the US PGA Tour. Ironically, De Jonge is not on the list of golfers taking part in the Masters that is running along the same days as the Zimbabwe Open.
The Zimbabwe Open has a high spectator value and thousands are expected to be at Royal Harare Golf Club following hole after hole in the four days the tournament will run.Post published in: Golf