Don't count us out: Charamba

HARARE - With no golfer ranked under 500 in the world, Zimbabwe faces a daunting task to eclipse their well-travelled opponents let alone land the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open that start today at Royal Harare.

However, that has not stopped local golfers from believing they can mount a strong challenge and perhaps cause major upsets when the 72 holes stroke play championship tees off today.

Leading local pro, Tongo Charamba said: “Look, golf at the end of the day doesn’t matter what ranking you are. It will go down to the guy who is thinking better at the end of the week. I believe someone can pull it through.

“Golf is different from other sports where you have one guy who wins everything. In golf you can be number one without winning everything but just by being consistent. I wouldn’t count anyone out.”

At least 156 professionals will take part in Zimbabwe’s premier golf event that has been dominated by South African golfers in recent years.

No local golfer has won the Zimbabwe Open since 2000 when Mark McNulty’s 19-under 269 gave him the crown at Royal Harare.

And statistics do not inspire much confidence to the local golfers cause but tournament director Michael Mahachi insists that should actually serve to inspire the local contingent.

“I don’t think our failure to win the Open has been a let be a letdown. It’s not really about winning the championship but how many locals make the cut,” Mahachi said.

“When we started we had about six players making the cut. Now roughly eleven make the cut. If we get 15 making the cut then we are improving, then we can now start thinking of producing a champion.

“For me if we have one or two guys finishing in the top 10, it will be a bonus. Golf is an individual sport. If you are ranked 900 in the world you can’t expect to win a tournament that has a field of players ranked under 200.

“It’s like Zimbabwe soccer going to the World Cup. If we win just one game we would have achieved.”

Mahachi was however optimistic Zimbabwe golfers would put up a fight against their more illustrious opponents.

“We have a good chance of causing some upsets,” Mahachi said.

“Micky Hough has been playing well; he has picked his form of late. Ryan Cairns is a very experienced.

“Scott Vincent has his confidence up after recently coming second at the Amateur Tournament in the State of Augusta. He is a young boy in form. Tongo has won twice on the Sunshine Tour he is one of our most experienced guys.”

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