ZIMBABWEAN golfers put on a decent show on the opening day of the FBC Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club yesterday with three players finishing within four shots of the lead held by South African golfer Wynad Dingle.
The 38-year-old Dingle fired a superb round of six-under-par 66 which featured five birdies and an eagle against just one bogey to seize the overnight lead.
He will begin the second round with a one stroke advantage ahead of the quartet of Peter Karmis of Greece and the South African trio of Adam Breen, Jacques de Villiers and Neil Schietekat, who all returned scores of five-under-par 67.
Rising South African star Jovan Rebula who in 2018 became the second South African golfer in history to win The Amateur had earlier held the clubhouse lead with his four-under-par 68.
Rebula is in solo sixth position ahead of a group of four South African players who are tied for seventh position on three-under-par.
Rising star Robson Chinhoi together with fellow Zimbabweans Promise Sombreiro and Davison Elijah are in a tie for 11th position on two-under-par after they carded identical rounds of 70.
Chinhoi, who has been playing some good golf locally and on the east Africa-based Safari Tour circuit played some solid golf in tough conditions as he lived up to his billing as one of the country’s brightest prospects.
The 31-year-old bounced back from a bogey on the opening hole before bouncing back in style with birdies on the fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth.
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“I’m so pleased and grateful with how I played today because the course was so difficult today,” Chinhoi said after his round.
“I started with a bogey on number one but I managed to bounce back nicely with four birdies in the next seven holes and managed to keep it up there until hole number 17 when I dropped a shot, so overall I’m so happy. My strategy in the second round is just to keep the ball in play and hit more fairways and greens and hope the putts will drop in.”
Chinhoi said he was spurred on by the support he received from local golf fans, who cheered his every shot.
“Its great thing to see my fellow Zimbabweans following us, they gave the support and encouragement just to keep us going and it was a very good feeling.”
Meanwhile, the trio of Biggy Chibvuri, Stuart Krog and Tonderai Masunga are tied for 19th on the leaderboard after carding one-under-par 70 while Kieran Vincent, who was tipped as one of the pre-tournament favourites, is one of five Zimbabweans tied for 31st on level par.
A total of 156 players teed off in the opening round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open yesterday.
The field will be reduced to the top 60 players, including ties after today’s second round.