Golden Pilsener Zim Open tees off

HARARE - Veteran Zimbabwean golfer Day Muyambo together with South African pair Werner van Wyk and Bryce McCabe get the ball rolling when the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open tees off this morning at Royal Harare Golf Club.

The three golfers, the first names to come of the draw for the first round of the R1,8 million Sunshine Tour sanctioned tournament that has attracted a field of 156 golfers.

The trio will tee off at 6:20am.

Defending champion Dean Burmester tees off at 7:05am together with last year’s runner up Adilson da Silva of Brazil and Zander Lombard, who has been tipped for glory this year.

Burmester, who was born in Zimbabwe but now resides in South Africa, used his win last year at Royal Harare to go on and dominate the Sunshine Tour which earned him a PGA Tour exemption for the The Puerto Rico Open.

“It’s the first one I’m defending this year and it’s exciting. I was walking the fairways in the pro-am yesterday and was going through the memories of the shots I hit and how I pulled it off. It’s just amazing,” he told the Sunshine Tour website.

“That was obviously great fun. Puerto Rico is an amazing place. I was fortunate to play in that event and actually play on the weekend.

“It was a nice PGA Tour debut for me, I made the cut but obviously I had higher expectations. Overall I think the game was good and I learnt quite a lot and hopefully we can use that to my advantage this week.”

After finishing in 50th place on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit in his debut season last year, Lombard has start 2016 in fine form and will be one of the player expected to be in contention come Sunday at Royal Harare.

“I’m looking forward to the next few tournaments in Africa,” Lombard told the Sunshine Tour website.

The 21-year-old believes the Zimbabwe Open is good chance for him to earn his first tour win after a number of near misses.

“If I can win, it’ll mean a great deal to me. It’ll just prove to myself that I’m able to win. You know I’ve been knocking on the door, so it’s just about being patient and sticking to my guns,” he said.

“The course is looking amazing. The guys were speaking about the course beforehand and I really do appreciate what they were saying to me. The greens are top class.”

South African Jbe’ Kruger, who won the tournament in 2010 and 2014, will tee off at 7:14am together with compatriots Merrick Bremner and Vaughn Groenewald as he hopes to make it three wins at Royal Harare.

“Obviously, the greens are always good when we play here. I think they key is to hit the fairways. The golf course gets difficult when you don’t hit the fairways. I see that the rough is longer this year, so the first thing is to hit the fairways and then obviously make some putts.”

Nick Price is the only other golfer to have won Zimbabwe’s premier tournament on three occasions.

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