R2m purse for Zim Open

HARARE - The prize money up for grabs at the 2018 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open golf tournament has increased from R1,8 million to R2 million, organisers announced yesterday.

This marks an 11,11 percent increase of the purse for the Sunshine Tour-sanctioned tournament which tees off at Royal Harare Golf Club on April 19.

Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open tournament organising committee chairperson Livingstone Gwata said: “We are very appreciative and thankful to our title sponsor coming in and making this whole tournament possible together with the other partners.

“The minimum prize fund for the Sunshine Tour if you do follow what is happening in South Africa and around the region is R500 000. The Zimbabwe Open version has been sponsored to the tune of R1,8 million and I’m pleased to advice that this year the prize fund has gone up marginally to R2 million.”

Last year, the tournament won by South African JC Ritchie, did not have a title sponsor but diversified financial services group Old Mutual has taken up that role this year.

Old Mutual rest of Africa chief executive officer Jonas Mushosho said his company sees a lot of value in partnering with the Zimbabwe Open and sport in general around the country.

The company already bankrolls all the national junior rugby teams, marathons, the Heath Streak Cricket Academy and many other sporting events across Zimbabwe.

“We are proud to be associated with the Zimbabwe Open; an event that is part of the renowned Sunshine Tour,” Mushosho said.

“Involvement in the community is a central pillar in Old Mutual’s business strategy and with a solid record of accomplishments spanning over 114 years since 1902 in Zimbabwe, the company has become deeply entrenched in the country’s social fabric.”

Besides Old Mutual, some of the other main sponsors of Zimbabwe’s premier golf tournament include Sahwira Events, Golden Pilsener and FBC.

Zol Zimbabwe, OK Zimbabwe, Meikles Hotel and Tongaat Huletts have also come in as associate sponsors of the tournament.

A strong field is also expected to be at Royal Harare Golf Club when the event tees off in two weeks’ time according to tournament director Mike Mahachi.

“This tournament is growing from strength to strength and it continues to attract big players that have got impeccable records on the international circuit,” Mahachi said.

“I’ve just mentioned Marc (Cayeux) who is here with us. Some of you are aware that one of the finest stars Zimbabwe has produced after Nick Price is Marc; he has played on the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour.

“I’m also pleased to announce that since we resuscitated the tournament in 2010, every one of our defending champions have been able to participate.

“This year with the exception of Dean Burmester who is committed in Europe during that week, all the former winners of this event are lined up to play.

“These include Jean Hugu, Jbe Kruger, who’s a very popular golfer among Zimbabweans, Jake Roos, Ritche, who actually won the tournament last year, will be here to defending his title.”

Ritchie beat Trevor Fisher Jr on the second play-off hole after the two golfers had been ted on 16-under-par 272 at the end of the fourth round.

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