The Richest Event Attraction

Filed under: by: golf clubs showcase

Maybe few of us have heard of The Zambia Open. But with R800,000 in prize money this year, it did raise our interest. It also attracted good golfers like Ian Woosnam, Sam Torrance, Christy O'Connor Jnr and Johan Edfors.

It's the richest event on the winter sector of the Sunshine Tour.

It has been part of the Sunshine Tour since 1996, and was co-sanctioned by the European Challenge Tour from 2001 to 2004. It was also an event on the Challenge Tour between 1991 and 1993, having previously been part of the now defunct Safari Tour.

With three Zambia Open champions in the field - defending champion Tyrone Ferreira, and former champions Steve Basson and Desvonde Botes - it's going to be a closely-contested affair, especially as the field also includes the likes of Brandon Pieters who is one of just two players on the Sunshine Tour this year to have won twice.

His victories came in the Vodacom Business Origins series events in Pretoria and George.

Ferreira claimed his maiden Sunshine Tour win in this event last year, handling the strong winds better than his pursuers to finish on eight-under 208 ahead of Charl Coetzee and Divan van den Heever.

Last year's tournament was held at Chainama Hills, and this year, it returns to Ndola Golf Club, the scene of Basson's second consecutive win. Botes also won at Ndola, but back in 1996.

Other players in good form ahead of the Zambia Open are Zimbabwean TC Charamba and South Africans Jbe' Kruger, Tyrone Mordt and Christiaan Basson.

They finished behind last week's Sunshine Tour winner Jaco van Zyl, who is not playing in Zambia this week after winning his third title in 2009 at the Telkom PGA Pro-Am.

Charamba was second with a strong closing round, with Kruger and Mordt sharing third. Basson shared fifth with Botes.

Sunshine Tour tournament director Gary Todd told Zambian media that the Tour valued the Zambia Open as an important event on its calendar and was always confident it would take place despite a postponement earlier in the year.

"We had a good event in 2008 and it is an achievement to host it again. What happened in March was a bit unfortunate and we would like to add more African events to the tour,", he said.

"We currently only have events in Swaziland, Namibia and Zambia."

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