The seven Zimbabweans that have so far entered the event are all holders of valid Sunshine Tour cards — Tongo Charamba, Marc Cayeux, Sean Farrell, Tony Johnstone, Julius Kamalizeni, Anyway Katembenuka and Ignatius Mketekete.
While the field has a huge South African presence with the likes of Thomas Aiken, Josh Cunliffe, James Kamte, James Kingston, Mark Murless and in-form golfers Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, a number of golfers from overseas are also set to be involved. So far, the English duo of Neil Cheetham and Christopher Corry are confirmed entries, as is Canada’s Benjamin Hatchwell and Brazilian Adilson Da Silva who was a regular feature on the local PGA tour in the 1990s.
Defending champion Darren Fichardt of South Africa, who won the last edition of the tournament at Chapman Golf Club in 2001 on a score of -13, will also be here to defend his title. Other former champions who will feature are 1999 winner Jean Hugo, and forgotten man Tony Johnstone, who won the event way back in 1993.
While more entrants are expected in the next few weeks as the tournament draw closes, 30 other slots are already availed for other golf stakeholders. The Zimbabwe Professional Golf Association has been allocated 10 slots, while five top Zimbabwean amateurs will also be accommodated in the field. There are five slots for Africa invites and these will take in the top performers from Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Namibia and Botswana. There will also be five professional golfers invited by tournament sponsors while another five players will enter via the Zimbabwe pre-qualifier that will be held at Wingate on April 18.
According to information released by the Zimbabwe Open Golf Committee, other entrants will come from another pre-qualifier to be held in South Africa between March 8-12, with the rest of the envisaged 156-strong field being filled up basing on the Sunshine Tour category list. — Golfzone