Mandhu delighted with ranking

HARARE - Rising professional golfer Muhammad Mandhu is delighted with his early 2013 form that has seen him claim second place on the Golden Pilsener Zambezi Tour Order of Merit.

After two tournaments, Mandhu has amassed a total of $1 650 on the local circuit’s money list together with Chapman-based pro Robson Saurombe.

The duo is trailing behind Ryan Cairns, who is in first place with a total of $4 000 after he won both the Pre-Open Classic and the Chairman’s Cup last month.

“It’s a good feeling to know that I’m in second place on the money list but I would love to be number one,” Mandhu told the Daily News yesterday.

The Royal Harare Golf Club-based pro started the year with a third place finish at the Pre-Open Classic at his home course.

Mandhu, who turned 23 last month, shot rounds of 73 and 73 for a total of two-over 146.

Cairns won the tournament with a score of one-under 143 while Shane Pringle finished in second place, just one shot behind.

Mandhu should have got his big break at the Chairman’s Cup at the Borrowdale Brooke but he let nerves get the better of him.

After firing a four-under 68 in the opening round, Mandhu was perfectly placed to fight for honours only to fizzle out, allowing Cairns to come from behind to snatch the victory.

“It was the first time that I had gone into the final round of a professional event in the lead,” Mandhu recalls of that fateful final round at the Chairman’s Cup.

“I was leading the tournament on six-under going into the final three holes and unfortunately I made a bogey on the 17th which was followed by another double bogey on the final hole.

“Cairns was there to capitalise on the mistakes I made and obviously he is an experienced golfer who has been in such situations many times in the Sunshine Tour.”

That experience of losing a tournament he had in the bag on the final two holes will now be crucial for Mandhu as he prepares to play at this month’s co-sanctioned Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open which begins on April 18 at Royal Harare.

The 23-year-old is no stranger to the Zimbabwe Open as he was one of the few local golfers who made the cut at last year’s tournament.

Making his debut at the country’s premier golf event, Mandhu carded rounds of 74, 71, 76, 76 as he finished a credible 62nd place.

“After those two events on the Zambezi Tour I feel very confident and I have set myself very high standards for the Zimbabwe Open,” he said.

Like always, the competition at the Zimbabwe Open will be very tough as most of the leading contenders on the Sunshine Tour will be in attendance including defending champion Chris Swanepoel.

But Mandhu is a man high on confidence at the moment and believes he will raise the country’ flag high at the tournament.

“I have been working hard this year,” he said. “Playing a lot of golf on the course as if it’s a tournament, the whole 18 holes and making sure that I score very low rounds.”

Mandhu paid tribute to the Zambezi Tour for providing local pros with tournaments all year round, which has helped them raise the standard of their game.  

 

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