ONE of Zimbabwe’s most promising golfers Robson Chinhoi has every reason to feel confident ahead of the R2,2 million FBC Zimbabwe Open which tees off at Royal Harare Golf Club this morning.
He might not be the highest-ranked Zimbabwean in the field, with that title being held by Asian Tour star Kieran Vincent, but Chinhoi has been on a run of good form both locally and on the Kenya-based Safari Tour circuit.
The 31-year-old golfer won an impressive three times on the Safari Tour during the just-ended season after clinching the Uganda Open in October before sealing back-to-back triumphs at Sigona Golf Club and Limuru Country Club on January 18 and 26, respectively.
Chinhoi also had an opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best players in Europe when he featured in the DP World Tour co-sanctioned Magical Kenya Open 2023 played at Muthaiga Golf Club from March 9-12.
Although Chinhoi didn’t make the cut in the Magical Kenya Open, he was able to gain some valuable experience which should serve him well in this week’s FBC Zimbabwe Open.
Last week, he warmed up for the national open in style clinching the Chevron Tour’s Mutapa Trophy which provided the final opportunity for local golfers to prepare for this week’s high-profile tourney.
“I’m feeling good and confident; I’ve been waiting for this event for a long time now,” Chinhoi told NewsDay Sport ahead of today’s tee off.
“We played in the Mutapa Trophy on the Chevron Tour last week and I managed to win by one stroke ahead of Visitor Mapwanya. I shot 68, 74 and 70 for a four under-par total.
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“It was a very good preparation for the Zimbabwe Open this week and also it really boosted my confidence. If I can play more of the same this week and do the same as I did last week it will mean I will be top of the leaderboard.”
Chinhoi admitted that conditions at Royal are slightly different from when they played in the Mutapa Trophy last week.
“The course is looking good, it’s a bit different from last week, the greens were a bit slow last week, but everything else is just the same. I’m wishing everyone who is participating this week the best of luck,” he said.
Chinhoi was amongst several Zimbabwean golfers to make the cut during last week’s Zimbabwe Open as he finished tied for 48th.
He will tee off in this year’s tournament this afternoon alongside South Africans Jacques Blaauw and Stefan Wears-Taylor, who missed out on last year’s title to Albert Venter after a playoff.
A total of 156 golfers will tee off in the FBC Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship this morning.
Zimbabwe is represented by 27 professional golfers and 12 qualifying amateurs.
Amongst the Zimbabwean contingent of professionals, two players, Ryan Cairns and Tongo Charamba are former winners on the Sunshine Tour while Harare Stephen Ferreira also claimed his maiden win recently but now competes under the Portugal flag.
Meanwhile, Vincent will be hoping to continue his recent rich vein of form after he recently clinched his maiden win on the Asian Tour.
Vincent will tee off alongside fellow tournament favourite Jaco Alhers and defending champion Venter at 720am.