Zimbabwean golfers poised to make history at inaugural Africa Amateur Championships ZGA president and Africa Golf Confederation vice president Martin Chikwana

Brandon Moyom, [email protected] 

A historic moment awaits Zimbabwe’s top amateur golfers as they prepare to join the elite of the continent in the first-ever Africa Amateur Championships, scheduled for 21-24 February. 

The prestigious tournament, which will be held at the spectacular Leopard Creek Country Club in Mpumalanga, South Africa, will offer a rare chance for young golfers to showcase their skills and talents on a world-class stage.

The tournament, which is endorsed by the R&A, will also feature the Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational, running alongside the men’s event. 

The two championships will mark a major milestone in the development of amateur golf in Africa, as they will provide a platform for the most promising golfers in the region to compete and learn from each other, while also creating a pathway for them to pursue their professional aspirations.

Zimbabwe will be represented by seven players in both competitions, including Tanaka Chatora, Innocent Mukumba, Matthew Bramford, Margaret Nyamukondiwa and Kudzai Mandava.

They will be among the 72 golfers from 24 nations who will vie for the coveted titles and prizes.

Tanaka Chatora is one of the players who will represent Zimbabwe at the inaugural Africa Amateur Championship

Martin Chikwana, the president of the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) and the vice-president of the Africa Golf Confederation, said the tournament was a huge opportunity for the youngsters to shine and grow. 

“It’s something huge for the youngsters. It will give them exposure and awards them something to play for and it’s a huge step in terms of producing future African stars. It is a pathway to play against other seasoned golfers from other parts of the continent. It’s expensive for these youngsters to go to play in top competitions in Europe so now they will have the chance to play against the best. 

“To have this and being a collection of everyone in Africa, it’s a huge thing for us. It’s a huge event and thank you to the R&A, African Golf and all the confederations who have put in so many hours to make it a success for Africa,” he said.

He added that the participants would not have to worry about any expenses, as the organisers would cover everything for them. He also expressed his hope that the tournament would become a big event not only in Africa but also globally, attracting a lot of attention and interest.

The tournament, which will be set against the stunning backdrop of the Kruger National Park, will offer life-changing opportunities for the winners. The champion of the men’s event will earn exemptions into The 152nd Open at Royal Troon, The Amateur Championship, the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the Waterfall City Tournament of Champions powered by Attacq. 

The champion of the women’s event will earn starts in The Women’s Amateur Championship, Final Qualifying for the AIG Women’s Open and The Investec South African Women’s Open in 2024, and the Lalla Meryem Cup and Magical Kenya Ladies Open in 2025.

Phil Anderton, the Chief Development Officer at the R&A, said that the creation of the championships was inspired by the success of similar events in Asia-Pacific and Latin America. 

He added that the African championships would help nurture the talent and potential of the continent’s golfers. 

“The creation of the Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational reflects our commitment to fostering talent, creating a pathway for aspiring golfers and elevating the standard of amateur golf in the region.

“We want to replicate the success we’ve achieved in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, where our international events for both men and women have become proven platforms for discovering future stars of the sport. 

“A number of these talented golfers have gone on to become major champions and be successful on professional tours, inspiring others to pursue their ambitions in golf.

“We are thankful for the fantastic support we have received from Mr Johann Rupert, who is a committed and passionate partner, in staging these events at the wonderful Leopard Creek and we look forward to seeing who emerges from the field to etch their names into history as the first winners of these events,” said Anderton.

The Africa Amateur Championship and Africa Amateur Women’s Invitational have been developed by The R&A to nurture talent and provide a pathway for the continent’s elite amateur golfers to the international stage.

The R&A is the world’s governing body of golf alongside the United States Golf Association (USGA). However, the two operate in separate jurisdictions with a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards.

The R&A, through R&A Rules Ltd, governs the sport worldwide, outside of the United States and Mexico, on behalf of over 61 million golfers in 145 countries and with the consent of 164 organisations from amateur and professional golf. — @brandon_malvin

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