Scott Vincent in solid Zimbabwe Open start

Vincent, who plays on the money spinning LIV Golf League, was making his maiden home Open appearance since 2016.

TOP Zimbabwean golfer Scott Vincent shot a brilliant 5 — under par 67 first round score to make an impressive start to his 2024 FBC Zimbabwe Open campaign and finish the day in five way tie for third at Royal Harare yesterday.

Vincent, who plays on the money spinning LIV Golf League, was making his maiden home Open appearance since 2016.

The 31-year-old made six birdies and a bogey on the 18th hole to keep within two strokes of leader Jaco Ahlers from South Africa, who shot an eagle on the third hole as well as six birdies and a bogey on the fourth.

On a good day for South African golfers Michael Hollick shot a round of 66 while former champion, Darren Fichardt, who won the tournament back in 2001, Jacques Blaauw, Anthony Michael and Jason Roets shared third place with Vincent.

Vincent carries the country’s hopes for a local winner of the tournament for the first time since 2000 when legend Mark McNulty bagged it.

While admitting to the pressure of playing at home, Vincent was happy with the first day’s work.

“Today was a fun experience to play my first round in the Zim Open in maybe five or six years and to play in front of some home fans, my parents and just some friends. It’s good to practice uncomfortable feelings like that,” Vincent said.

“I think one of the hardest places to play golf is in your home country because there is so much pressure. Everybody wants you to do really well and they are cheering for you and as an athlete there is a lot of pressure with that.

“But it’s perfect. It’s exactly what I need. This is how I am going to get better as a person and as a golfer. I love the pressure and I want to get better at it and this is a great opportunity for me to do that.

“Today, results wise, it’s really good but it doesn’t change what we are trying to do the next couple of days. I think playing in the morning and in the afternoon is completely different so we need to make those adjustments and be ready for it but the course is playing great.

“The weather, as always in Zimbabwe, is just amazing and it’s a great opportunity and we are excited for tomorrow as well,” he said.

Scottish golfer Doug McGuigan, who is 53 years old, had a good first day at the FBC Zimbabwe Open after he tied for eighth place on 4 — under par 68 along with South Africans Combrick Smit and MJ Viljoen.

Ben Follet-Smith was the next best Zimbabwean golfer, tied for 16th on 2 — under, while upcoming amateur Matthew Bramford shot 1 — under to settle for position 28 along with Biggie Chibvuri and Kieran Vincent.

Four other local golfers namely Robson Chinhoi, Brain Gondo, Tonderai Masunga and Promis Sombreiro closed the day on level par. The Zimbabwe Open, which is in its 12th edition since the return of the competition on the local scene in 2010, is sponsored by FBC Holdings Group to the tune of US$200 000 (R2,5 million).

FBC Holdings Group are title sponsor of the flagship golf event for the third year in a row.

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