Zim bank on home advantage

HARARE - Zimbabwe Junior Golf Association (ZJGA) team manager Simon Murungweni is confident they can get the better of South Africa at this year’s All Africa Golf Championships.

The country will host the tournament this year which will run from March 26 to 31 at Royal Harare Golf Club.

Over the years, Zimbabwe’s juniors have played second fiddle to their counterparts from across the Limpopo during the tournament which also acts as the qualifier for the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup that is played annually in Nagoya, Japan where the two leading African teams represent the continent.

So far at least 16 countries have confirmed their participation in the tournament with nine of those nations also bringing along their girls teams.

Some of the countries expected at Royal Harare are Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Egypt and Cote D’Ivoire.

The Toyota Junior Golf World Cup organisers introduced a girls’ competition with five countries testing the waters in 2014.

It proved very successful and the girls’ competition was established to run concurrently with the boys’ competition. South Africa was the only African country invited to send their girls’ team in the last two years but now with the category well established, there will be qualifiers for the girls this time around.

“The tournament is going to be very tough and as always, we expect a strong challenge from South Africa and the other nations,” Murungweni said.

“But this time around we will be banking on our home advantage and hopefully we will come out on tops.

“Royal will also be a tough course for the golfers because there is a lot of rain this year and the ball will not run so hopefully our knowledge of the course will be an added advantage.”

Last year, the tournament was held in Tunisia where a Zimbabwe team comprising Kieran Vincent, Bhekithemba Ndlovu, David Amm and Justin Kirsten finished second behind South Africa at the stroke play tournament.

The quartet coached by veteran golf mentor Roger Baylis went on to finish in 14th place at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup with a score of 23-over 875.

Only Amm and Kirsten are still eligible for selection in the team. Vincent is now based in the US where he is on a golf scholarship at Liberty University in Virginia.

Ndlovu is no longer eligible for the tournament due to his age.

The ZJGA will use the forthcoming annual Julius Robinson Julius Robinson Trophy at Wingate Golf Club this weekend to select the team to represent the country at All Africa Golf Championships.

The golfers will also get a chance to earn credits to make the team when they take part in other various tournaments scheduled between now and the end of March.

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