Eisenhower Trophy qualifiers lined up

HARARE - Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) has moved to put behind them their failure to enter a team for the 2014 edition of the Eisenhower Trophy by ensuring they are in “close contact” with the International Golf Federation.

Two years ago, a ZGA administration gaffe cost the country its place at the biannual Eisenhower Trophy in Japan after the federation “forgot” to enter the team within the deadline.

Zimbabwe’s team for that tournament would have been Ray Badenhorst, Ben Follet-Smith and Tonderai Musunga.

“Yes, Zimbabwe will be participating in the Eisenhower 2016 competitions. We are in close contact with the International Golf Federation and will make the necessary announcements in due course,” ZGA secretary general Brian Maphosa told the Daily News yesterday.

The Eisenhower Trophy is a biennial world amateur team golf championship for men organised by the International Golf Federation and Maphosa insists the country is on course to participate in the tournament.

“Five qualifying tournaments are lined up from 17th June to 15 August,” he said. “These include the Matabeleland, Manicaland, Midlands, Harare and Zimbabwe Amateur tournaments and we are anticipating strong fields as players both locally and foreign based will battle it out for a spot in the team.”

The biannual tournament is stroke play event, in which the best two scores from three players count toward the team’s score for each round. It carries the ultimate in prestige for a country’s top amateur golfers.

Before the 2014 gaffe, Zimbabwe had participated in every tournament since Rhodesia’s first entry back in 1964.

The tournament was named after former the 34th American president Dwight “General Ike” Eisenhower, who was a keen golfer.

Eisenhower was a five-star general and the supreme commander of the Allied forces, who led the D-Day Normandy landings to help drive the Nazis out of France in 1944.

He was later elected US president in 1953 and served for two terms until 1961.

Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969.

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