AS the 2018 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open draws closer, local professional golfers warmed up for the tournament by producing solid performances during the Zanaco Masters Golf Tournament played at Lusaka Golf Club on Sunday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
The Zanaco Masters, formerly known as the Zambia Sugar Open, was the first tournament of the 2018-2019 Sunshine Tour wraparound season and carried a lucrative prize fund of R2 million.
The duo of Stephen Ferreira and Ryan Cairns led the Zimbabwean charge after finishing seventh and 12 respectively on the final leaderboard and will be looking to carry the momentum this week at Royal Harare Golf Club.
Ferreira, who represents The Brooke Golf Club (formerly Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club), was the highest-placed local player at the Zanaco Masters after finishing in a two-way tie for seventh position with 2016 Zimbabwe Open champion Lyle Rowe.
The 27 year-old carded a final round two-under-par 70 for a 10-under par 278 total to finish four shots behind the eventual winner JJ Senekal from South Africa.
Ferreira, who earned himself R47 500 for his efforts after managing his first top-10 finish of the season in his first attempt, will be eager to channel his Lusaka form to the Zimbabwe Open.
The Zanaco Masters also proved to be a good platform for Royal Harare Golf Club professional Ryan Cairns carded rounds of 73, 69, 70 and 60 for a total of eight-under par which earned him R29 600.
Cairns’ 12th place finish was his best result on the Sunshine Tour in almost a year and, just like Ferreira, he would be hoping to carry the momentum in the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open.
A total 10 players teed off in the Zanaco Masters, as they joined most of the leading players on the Sunshine Tour in Zambia.
Besides Ferreira and Cairns, there were also encouraging performances from Mark Williams (T35) and Tongo Charamba (66) while Marc Cayeux, Benjamin Follet-Smith, Robson Chinhoi, Trainos Muradzikwa, Mohammad Mandhu and Brian Gondo failed to make the cut.
A total of 156 professionals and qualifying amateurs will tee off in the 2018 Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open, which will be played from Thursday until Sunday at Royal Harare Golf Club.
South African golfer JC Ritchie won last year’s title after seeing off his more seasoned compatriot Trevor Fisher Jnr on the second playoff hole for his maiden Sunshine Tour win.