Local golf professional Tongo Charamba favoured to win the inaugural Mashwede Diesel Open did it in style beating his nearest rival by a clear five shots in the Zambezi Tour, now an integral part of the regional Sunshine Tour, at Falcon Golf Club yesterday. He carded a three-under 141.
The Mashewede, played over two rounds on Friday and Saturday, lived up to its billing as an exciting opener to this year’s golf season where pros earned points that determine their fortunes in the regional golf safari.
Sponsored by Mashwede Diesel, it is the single biggest tournament in the country sponsored by an individual-owned indigenous company. Charamba was just another also-ran on the first day, carding a two-over par 74 in which not a single professional beat the course. But in the second round yesterday he upped the ante and recorded a five-under par 67 on the par 72 course.
His nearest rival, Ryan Cairns, fresh from winning the Big Easy Sunshine Tour meet in South Africa last week with an unassailable 15 under, was full of praise for Charamba but said his second place finish on a two-over 146 had boosted his confidence ahead of the Zimbabwe Open in two weeks’ time. Counted out Brian Gondo who came third.
Charamba himself said he felt good over his victory and was not under any pressure from his rivals as he is now one of the few regulars on the Sunshine Tour. “I feel good and, looking forward to the Zim Open, I feel excited.”
Ignatius Mketekete, also favoured to win on the back of a great performance last year, attributed his rather subdued finish to rust. He came out 6th with a three-over 147. The last professional tournament in Zimbabwe was played in November last year. It wasn’t too bad considering there two golfers tied on second and, three, including him, tied on third.
William Kashiri, the veteran Mbare Trio musician, showed his eggs are not all in one basket by winning the Amateur side of the tournament. He carded a two-under-70 in both rounds. Rank outsider Steve Chiminya came second. The two are separated by more than 30 years in age.
Mashwede managing director Alex Mashamanda lamented the lack of sponsorship for local pros and vowed to continue to do his bit in that regard.