Hough relishes Zim Open

HARARE - Local pro golfer Micky Hough is relishing a chance of playing his second Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open when the tournament tees off at Royal Harare Golf Club on Thursday.

Hough, a regular feature on the Sunshine Tour events, will be making his second berth at the country’s premier golf tournament.

The 29-year-old finished in 31st place at the 2012 edition of the tournament and will be among the 156 golfers that will tee off on Independence Day.

There will be added pressure on the local pros to put up a better performance to try and wrestle the Zimbabwe Open title from the South Africans golfers, who have dominated the event in recent years.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s nice to be home and the tournament is run very well,” Hough told the Daily News yesterday.

“They have increased the price money and everything is getting better and better. So for us to come back here, we are really proud to be playing here.”

Hough said there will be added pressure on the contingent of local golfers to do well this weekend in front of home fans.

“In some ways there will be pressure because there will be people who will come to support you and you would want to play nicely for them,” said Hough.

“But we know the course so well and we know the conditions so it’s a big advantage for us.

 “You can get caught up in trying to do too hard. I played here last year and I made the cut and I just have to take everything I learned last year. Everyone will be coming here to watch you win so that’s all you can do.”

South African golfers have maintained a stranglehold on the Zimbabwe Open since its resumption three years ago.

Jbe’ Kruger won the tournament in 2011 while Theunis Spangenberg emerged victorious the following year.

Last year, Chris Swanepoel beat fellow South African Trevor Fisher Jr in a playoff after the two golfers had finished tied on 15-under 273.

You will have to go back to 2000 to find a local winner of the tournament when Mark McNulty triumphed at Royal Harare with a gross of 19-under 269.

Hough believes the South African golfers do not have an edge of the Zimbabweans but anyone can win the tournament if they do the basics right.

“I think we have the same chance as the South African guys of winning the tournament,” he said.

“You have to execute your shots well and have a good game plan. You have got to also hold putts; the thing at Royal is that the greens are so good. You got to make sure that you are giving yourself a lot of chances.”    

Hough comes into this tournament on a run of good form after making the cut at the Telkom PGA Champions.

The Zimbabwean had done well on the first three rounds after firing round of 73, 70 and 72 but he carded a Sunday 76 that saw him drop down the leader board to finish the event on position 76.

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