All set for Golden Pilsener Zim Open

HARARE - With all the world attention centred on Augusta National for the ongoing Masters, local golf fans can also look forward to next week’s Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club.

The action will start on Monday with the pre-qualifying tournament where at least 80 hopefuls will battle it out for the eight available slots to enter the main championship.

A Pro-Am tournament will then be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at Royal Harare with the main championship teeing off on Thursday.

Defending champion Dean Burmester is set to return to Harare as he seeks to make it two wins in a row at the Sunshine Tour sanctioned event.

Burmester finished last year’s tournament on 16-under 272, one stroke ahead of Brazilian Adilson da Silva, who was on 15-under.

Since winning Zimbabwe’s premier golf tournament, Burmester went on a wonderful run in the Sunshine Tour circuit.

The Zimbabwe-born golfer, who now represents South Africa, won the Lombard Insurance Classic, Sun Windmill Challenge and the Vodacom Origins — Koro Creek to cap off an unforgettable year for the Bloemfontein-based pro.

Another notable golfer, who will be at Royal Harare next week, is two time winner Jbe’ Kruger, who won the tournament when it was resurrected in 2010 and in 2014.

Rising German golfer Alexander Knappe is also expected to be among the field when the tournament tees off on Thursday. 

Speaking at a media briefing in the capital yesterday to officially launch the 2016 edition, tournament director Mike Mahachi was excited by the quality field which will be on display.

“This event has attracted world class players . . . these are players that have won either on the Sunshine Tour, the Asia Tour and some of them on the European Tour,” Mahachi said.

“Please be advised that we have got one of the best upcoming European Tour players from Germany called . . . Knappe.

“Alexander played in the Dimension Data this year in Fancourt and he finished third. Our hospitality partner Meikles Hotel has accommodated Alexander as their guest for this event.

“In the field there are also some upcoming South African golfers. As you know South Africa has produced some of the most spectacular golfers in the world.

“In the field we will also have Zander Lombard. He finished second at the South Africa Open earlier this year. He’s a very exciting player, who turned pro only three years ago, and he has shown great potential. He is tipped to take over from the likes of Ernie Els.

Mahachi added: “We also have Dylan Frittelli. He is a 24-year-old South African, who was actually based in the States a couple of years ago.

“For some of you who watched the World Golf Championship in Bridgestone this year, there was a South African by the name Danie van Tonder. Danny is a very exciting player. He doesn’t tee his ball on the tee box. He’s one of the players that will be with us this coming week.”

On the amateur front, last year’s best placed amateur Stuart Krogg will be travelling from the United States after accepting an invitation from the Zimbabwe Golf Association.

“The field of 156 has got five exempted amateurs. Remember the amateurs are invited by the ZGA,” Mahachi said.

“As you all know the ZGA is the governing body which regulates golf amongst amateurs in the country and such given they invite their top five players. I’m pleased to announce that among the top five players that were nominated this year is Krogg, he is currently based at the Virginia Tech on a scholarship.”

Delta Beverages channel marketing executive Irimayi Muzorewa said: “Delta Beverages is proud to announce that Golden Pilsener will be the title sponsor of the 2016 Zimbabwe Open. This marks the fifth year Golden Pilsener will be involved in this prestigious event.”

Besides Delta, the other companies who have come in to be anchor sponsors are sugar producer Tongaat Hulett, Internet services provider ZOL Zimbabwe and Sahwira Events Management.

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