Cairns Zim's lone representative again

HARARE - Zimbabwean golfers found the going tough at the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open pre-qualifying tournament at Irene Country Club in South Africa yesterday.

Brian Gondo, Greg Bentley, Ignatius Mketekete and Tongo Charamba all failed to make the cut to qualify for the tournament that starts today at The Els Club Copperleaf and carries a €1.5-million prize fund.

Charamba was the better-placed of the Zimbabwean contingent after he carded a round of one-over 73.

Bentley and Mketekete were a further three strokes behind after firing a four-over 76 to fall out of contention for the 10 places that were up for grabs.

Bulawayo Golf Club-based pro Gondo once again had a torrid time as he finished in last place in the field of 80 golfers with a score of eight-over 80.

This leaves Ryan Cairns as the only Zimbabwean who will tee-off today with the rest of the field of 156 golfers at the European Tour and Sunshine Tour event.

Cairns has been drawn together with South Africans Stef Visage and Ben Fouchee in the opening round today.

The trio will be the last group to tee-off at 1:20pm.

The Tshwane Open field also includes Africa Open champion Darren Fichardt and last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am champion Jaco van Zyl.

Englishman Laurie Canter blasted his way through pre-Q, carding a massive 11-under-par 61 on his way to sealing his place in the tournament proper.

“I’m most excited about getting through, but I really surprised myself by putting together a score that was so low. I’m thrilled that I could keep it going today,” Canter told the Sunshine Tour website after his win.

The Englishman played his way through Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in January, but has battled to make it into the co-sanctioned events, whose large prize funds attract big names.

“My goal after Q-School was to make it into at least one of the events co-sanctioned with the European Tour,” said Canter. “I’m really excited for the chance to test myself against one of the best fields in world golf.” - Sports Writer

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