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Zimbabwe to host Africom Zim Open golf tourney

by Byo24News
21 Jan 2011 at 18:55hrs | Views
Zimbabwe  will host some of the continent's best golfers this week when the 2011 Africom Zim Open, the premier golfing event in the country, explodes into life with a qualifying tournament at Chapman Golf Club in Harare on Tuesday. 
The main tournament, the 2011 Africom Zim Open sponsored to the tune of US$500 000, will start at Royal Harare on Thursday and end at the same venue on Sunday. 
Expectations are high that this year's Zim Open, the second since the tournament resurfaced after a nine-year absence from the radar, will be bigger and better than last year's successful comeback show. 
'This year, Zimbabwe Open Committee hopes to attract big names from the European Tour and beyond who would have just finished playing the Jo'burg Open in South Africa,' said the Golfzone website. 
'The purse is likely to remain the same. 'The positive, interesting and new dimension to the tournament is that all pre-qualifiers are likely to be held in Zimbabwe and this effectively would mean a massive convergence of golfers from the region and beyond in Harare. 'For the 2010 Africom Zimbabwe Open, pre- qualifiers were held separately in South Africa and Zimbabwe.' 
The return of the Zim Open to the Sunshine Tour is being used by Zimbabwean sports authorities as another example of the fact that life is slowly returning to normal in the country after the complications that arose from a difficult economic operating environment. 
That a raft of Zimbabwean companies, led by the flagship sponsor Africom, could put together US$500 000 to sponsor such a premier tournament is a demonstration of the financial strength of the firms and their commitment to the development of sport. 
Africom, a converged network services provider in the partnership with Interfin, Zimplats, Econet and Delta Beverages, will bankroll the 2011 Zim Open tournament. 
'Pre-qualifying and ProAm events will start on Tuesday culminating in the final professional tournament from Thursday to Sunday,' said the organisers in a statement. 
'The Africom Zim Open is a golf tournament on the Sunshine Tour circuit. It was first played in 1984 and was part of what was known as the Safari Tour, a collection of events in Africa that were played by professionals based on the European Challenge Tour. 
'The tournament has attracted some of the world's leading players (and) past winners include major golf stars like Vijay Singh and Nick Price, who along with Mark McNulty is the most successful player at the event, both men having recorded three victories. 
This year's tournament will be the 20th edition of the Zim Open Africom chief executive Kwanayi Kashangura said the growth shown by the tournament has increased their confidence and sponsorship of the Zim Open. 
ZPGA President Ackil Yousef paid tribute to the sponsors for their confidence in the game. 
Last year's comeback tournament, which was won by South Africa's Jbe' Kruger, was described as a resounding success story. 'April 2010 will surely and always be remembered as the month in which Zimbabwe regained its place in the golfing sunshine, thanks to title sponsor, Africom, anchor sponsors, Econet, Pilsener and Innscor and key sponsors, SAA and Zimplats,' said the Golfzone website. 
'For many local golf enthusiasts, this was the first time they had got a chance to watch and interact with an assortment of top class golfers in one setting. 
'For many a junior golfer, this was a chance to watch the masters at play and glean a few tricks form what they had seen. 
'And as it turned out, a huge crowd, made up of spectators of all ages, followed the golfers √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú particularly the leading groups, for the entire tournament. 
'Such was the enthusiasm on the part of the fans that every entry on the tee box by a leading player sparked a huge buzz – you would have thought Tiger Woods was in town.'

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