Augustine Hwata Sports Reporter
FOLLOWING his best finish at the Zimbabwe Open, golfer Tongoona Charamba challenged the Zambezi Tour to organise more top competitions to give local players a platform to improve their game.
South African golfers once again dominated the Zim Open with J’be Kruger winning by a stroke after posting an 18-under-par 270.
Charamba was the best-placed Zimbabwean golfer with a nine-under-par 279 at Royal Harare on Sunday.
Last year, Charamba was outside the top finishers and reason to be smiling on Sunday.
He is also the president of the Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association.
“I was impressed by the way I played. I was feeling good, going into the tournament, because I had been playing nicely in the last few events.
“I expected to do well and I did. It’s my best finish in the Open since I started playing,” said Charamba.
Anderson Rusike was the first winner of the Zimbabwe Open in 1984.
Tony Johnstone was the next in ‘93 while between ‘95 and ‘98, Nick Price (three times) and Mark McNulty (once), dominated the event.
McNulty was the last Zimbabwean golfer to win the Zimbabwe Open in 2000.
While most of the South Africans who made the bulk of the 156 field are heading to Swaziland for the Investec Swazi Open, one could count on the fingers on one hand the Zimbabweans who will be taking part in the same event.
Indications so far are that only Charamba, Ryan Cairns and Ignatius Mketeteke could be heading to Swaziland while most of the ZPGA members’ clubs will gather dust.
“There is a lot that needs to be done if we are to get a Zimbabwean winning the Zim Open again. For a start we need to play a lot more tournaments, locally, and get the guys groomed.
“We also need sponsorship to go out there and play in international tournaments and that will help in handling the pressure.
“It’s a different game when you are playing in a major tournament with big crowds and the courses are set differently from what you normally play in.
“But here we only get this kind of settings if we are playing on tours and I hope the corporate world will come and support the local golfers,” said Charamba.
Meanwhile, the national junior golf 2014 April School Holidays programme teed off yesterday with the juniors playing in the Nomads Tournament at Bulawayo Golf Club.
Today the golfers will be at Harry Allen Club for the Stanchem Tournament while tomorrow they return to BGC for the Loxton Trophy.
The last tournament is the Matland Champs at the Country Club.
Top amateur Stuart Krog, who dominated the events last year, is not taking part.