Justin Harding shared the runner-up berth in last year’s edition of the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open, and he will be looking to convert some promising recent form into a victory at Nkana Golf Club when the tournament starts on Thursday.
Defending champion Wallie Coetsee will be seeking further fame and fortune on the Asian Tour, and Harding will join fellow-runner-up from 2014 Danie van Tonder in looking to go one better.
Harding has history in Zambia: He won the Indo Bank Zambia Open in Lusaka in 2010, for his third Sunshine Tour title, and that, taken together with last year’s performance, shows he can be in the frame again this week.
That is especially true when taken in conjunction with his two most recent performances on the 2015 Sunshine Tour: He finished in a share of third in the Investec Cup, closing with a seven-under-par 65, and in a share of 14th in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, where his second-round 67 at Royal Harare was his best day in that tournament.
His performance at Nkana Golf Club last year was the basis on which he built his best-ever year on the Sunshine Tour, during which he notched up three other top-10 finishes, and his biggest payday came from his share of 11th in the Alfred Dunhill Championship. He finished 12th on the Order of Merit with over R1.25-million in winnings.
He is currently 37th on the Order of Merit, and with his game showing signs of reaching a level of consistency which frequently puts him into contention, he is going to be one to watch in Kitwe.
Van Tonder will be hoping to put his recent run of poor performances behind him, and to regain the kind of form which saw him come within an ace of winning the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit last year.
And Erik can Rooyen shared sixth in last year’s tournament, and, like Harding, he also has recent form to point to ahead of this week’s tournament. He shared 10th in the Tshwane Open and third in Zimbabwe, all of which adds up to making him a very real threat.