ABOUT 100 amateur and professional golfers teed off at the Elephant Hills Golf Course in Victoria Falls on Thursday for the Elephant Hills Open Golf 2014 Championship.
Twenty-one year-old Thembelani Vundla, a product of Victoria Falls Golf Club but currently playing in Harare, won the tournament. Vundla is ranked second on the national order of merit.
Participants were drawn from across the country and as far as Botswana and Zambia and had three professional Zimbabwe golfers Peter Banda, Phillip Tshuma and Brian Gondo also playing.
Zimbabwe Golfers Association Development Officer Boniface Chigorimbo said the tournament will have a bearing on ranking of amateur golfers as points would be used in the order of merit.
“This is an open tournament sponsored by people of Victoria Falls but attracting national team players who are vying to get points and professionalism to raise their standards. There are also amateurs who want to have a feel of national status,” said Chigorimbo, who was recently elected into the post.
He said the tournament was bringing development in Matabeleland North as well as giving players an opportunity to earn national points.
“These points affect national selection in the World Amateur Golf ranking as we will send results to the top body. At the moment we have 25 players in the world rankings through tournaments as this one,” added Chigorimbo.
After collecting a number of prizes for the individual points accumulated since Thursday when the tournament started, Vundla attributed his success to Elephant Hills Club and his father Josphat Phiri, also a golfer.
“I am very humbled and would want to thank my club and father. It feels good to win,” he said after receiving a trophy.
ZGA vice president Mufaro Chivonivoni, who is also Matabeleland North Golfers president, said golf was growing in Zimbabwe.
“It is pleasing to see that a product of Victoria Falls won such a competition. It shows the standards of golf is growing as new blood is being groomed unlike in previous years when Bulawayo and Harare would dominate,” he said.
“One of our major goals is development and we are happy Elephant Hills and Hwange are grooming young stars. It is possible to grow top golfers from small towns like this. I want to urge those with old equipment at home to please donate to the little boys so they can develop themselves.”
Elephant Hills captain Elvis Mulenga urged players to be disciplined to realise their goals.
“Golf is about how you carry yourself in the course and how you behave after winning,” he said.
Acy Zerf of Bulawayo Country Club became the female champion.