Albert Chinogureyi…..out to repeat his feat of last year.
This coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday 10-11 May, it is club championships weekend right round the country as the nation’s myriad of amateur golfers take to the course for what has become an annual ritual for local golf enthusiasts. Indeed, the action is spread across the country with clubs, as far afield as Hwange and the Lowveld, engaging in two days of golf in various divisions to determine their best golfers.
In Harare, virtually all the clubs are engaged in their closed championships. The championships at Royal Harare will be sponsored by Brayford Petroleum with golfers competing in four Divisions – the Championship, B, C and D. The Championship Division is reserved for players with a handicap of 6 or lower, while the ‘B’ Division takes in those playing off 7-12 handicaps. The ‘C’ Division is open to 13-16 handicap golfers with those whose handicaps range between 17 and 24 making up the ‘D’ Division.
The competition at Royal will be played over 54 holes for the Championship and ‘B’ Divisions with 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday. The ‘C’ and ‘D’ Divisions will be played over 36 holes with 18 holes being played on each day. Competition is certain to be stiff especially given that golfers will be keen to avoid missing the ‘cut’ that will be effected in each of the divisions after the first day’s play.
Defending champion, Gary Thompson, looks set to be involved in the proceedings yet again while Cedar Ilic, who was the runner-up in last year’s competition should once again pose a big threat along with the likes of R. Menk, S. Ferreira and Tapiwa Mabikacheche to mention a few.
In the lower divisions, the likes of Albert Chinogureyi, who ran “riot” and won the ‘C’ Division title last year, N. Dhudhia, F. Jagot, B. Stoltz as well as the duo of Professors Sam Tswana and Herbert Chinyanga, who won the ‘B’ and ‘D’ Division titles respectively last year are almost certain to be among the protagonists yet again.
Phil Marshall, who was Borrowdale Brooke Golf and Country Club non-playing captain in last year’s Ryder Cup, also confirmed that the club would be holding its championships this weekend. Intriguingly, a bumper field is set to take to the course at the Brooke as the men’s championships are going to run concurrently with the Seniors’, Juniors’ and Ladies’ club championships.
In the men’s section, Davison Elijah, who made his Zone VI debut for Zimbabwe in Zambia a fortnight ago, is the defending champion after edging T. Sornby to the title last year. Dave Elijah will also be bubbling with confidence after winning the tightly contested annual Shumba Nyanga Tournament in Nyanga over the last weekend. The major threats to his bid for back-to-back titles include veteran professional, Tim Price, fellow professional Julius Kamalizeni and amateur golfer Anyway Katembenuka – who was a distant third last year, as well as new vice-captain Newton Nyagumbo…..mmm only if one were to discount his performance in Nyanga!
The contest in the lower divisions should also be interesting with Ranganai Magombedze, who was a revelation in last year’s Ryder Cup tie against the Leopard Rock/ Hillside team, Charlie Beattie and former skipper Isaac Njainjai expected to be among the major contestants.
Meanwhile at Wingate Golf Club, amateur golf star and perennial campaigner, Laifoti Yadyo will be hoping for a lucky break this time round having finished runner-up in the last two years to Miros Katembenuka and J. Mpasa respectively. 2007 champion Mpasa, for his part, will be looking to consolidate on last year’s showing and retain the title but will face stiff challenge from the likes of recently inducted professional golfer and 2003 club champion, Simon Chigorimbo, Joseph Underwood, C. Matambo, S. Chiwaya, Stanley Bechani and Munyaradzi Ngandu who graduates from the ‘A’ Division that he won in such convincing fashion last year.
At Chapman – Defending champion Tich Musemburi will be keen to follow up his sterling display for the Zone VI side in Zambia with another dominant performance as he bids to win the title for the second year running. His task is unenviable though, with the likes of Trynos ‘Sergio’ Muradzikwa, rising junior pair, Scott Vincent and Mark MacDonald as well as Spencer Muchenje, Dale Howie, Peter Musimwa, Innocent ‘Chinoz’ Juta, Petros Faison, Craig Scott and the lanky Nyasha Muyambo all chasing the coveted title.
Chapman captain, Noel Greenhalgh will be seeking to clinch back-to-back ‘B’ Division titles but David Mafiko, who was the runner-up last year, should pose a huge threat to the skipper’s ambitions.
At Warren Hills, Steve Hazangwe is the defending champion having won last year’s championship by seven shots from B. Hassim. Hazangwe will, however, face a stiff challenge from ‘A’ League teammates Clever Keche, Sam Nyambiya, Daiton Nyamazana, Gareth Gomera, Ricky Masiiwa and L. Mamvura.
At Falcon, club captain Eddie Murungweni will be joined by Clive Nguru Jr, Rogers Jack, Emmanuel Hungwe, Clive Nguru Snr, Munetsi Munetsi, P. Chiwaka and B. Mahachi in the race for club honours. There is little to choose between these golfers as all of them are reputable golfers in their own right. Hopes are high that all of them will turn up for what promises to be an intriguing and closely fought contest.
The players to look out for at the Country Club’s club championships are Amos Nyamudze, who has been playing off scratch for a while now and Daison Kamwanthendo, who has made great progress on the Zimbabwe Golfers Association (ZGA) Order of Merit. Other pretenders to the crown include L. Clever, Joel Mapurisa, Tendai Gombera and H. Kok. Action is also expected at Police Golf Club and Sherwood where R. Narsing is the defending champion.
Elsewhere, Hwange Golf Club will be holding their closed championships this weekend in line with the revised calendar. Club members will be competing in three divisions (A-C). The defending champion is Stephen Simukai, who is currently playing off 3 handicap. Simukai also topped the Hwange Golf Club Order of Merit last year and is set to once again dominate proceedings as he has been playing well of late.
Of the up to 60 club members expected to turn up for the annual championship at Hwange, Vungu Ncube, club committee member Cephas Ncube and V. Maseko pose the biggest threat to Simukai. Last week, Hwange vice-captain, Musa Mono indicated that the course has since recovered and was now in good condition. “The course is improving all the time and is nearer its best now,” he said.
Also involved in this weekend’s action are the Bulawayo clubs, Harry Allen, Bulawayo Golf Club and Bulawayo Country Club. By the time of going to press, Golfzone had not yet confirmed whether the other Matabeleland club, Shangani Mine, would be going ahead with their club championships. The last time Golfzone was in touch with the guys at Shangani, the course was in an unplayable state and club members were playing golf at nearby clubs, especially those in the Midlands.
While many golf clubs will be a hive of activity in the wake of the club championships this weekend, it has also emerged that the majority of the clubs in the Midlands and Manicaland have already held their Club Championships.
Midlands clubs Greta Park Mashava and Shurugwi’s Saunders Park Golf Club held a combined Club Championships at the former club on the weekend of 26-27 April. Golfzone understands that Gideon Mhere was crowned the 2008 club champion in that event with Stella Feldman of Shurugwi, who has made it into the Zimbabwe Ladies Golf Union (ZLGU) team for the A & B Triangular tournament in Zambia in July, emerging the surprise winner in the ‘B’ Division.
In the Eastern Highlands, Mutare’s Hillside Golf Club also held their club championships on the weekend of 26-27 April, the results of which Golfzone will be providing soon.
On a rather disappointing note, ailing club, Mt Pleasant Golf Club will not be able to hold its club Championship for this year at the same time as the other clubs because the course is still in bad condition. A source at the club on Monday revealed that the championships have been deferred to August when the course is expected to be in an improved state.
Other clubs that have postponed their club championships are Kadoma Golf Club, Cam and Motor as well as Chegutu Country Club. Chegutu captain, Hamish Beattie indicated that the three clubs will now be holding a combined club championships on 5 July.