Local favourite Madalitso Muthiya shot a Friday 68 at Lusaka Golf Club and moved into a morning share of sixth at the halfway mark of the R1,2-million Zambia Sugar Open.
“I wanted to put myself into a good position halfway through the tournament, and I think I am well placed now. If I go out there and put some goods round together this weekend I’ll have a good chance,” he explained.
The 30-year-old calls Lusaka Golf Club home and played his way to a five-under-par total during the second round, which left him five strokes shy of early leader Martin du Toit.
“It’s always fun to have the Zambia Open on the golf course where I grew up playing and to have the local support come through for me,” smiled Muthiya. “It’s very nice of them to come out and support me and the other players.”
In 2006 he finished tied second at the Zambia Open, but is yet to lift the trophy. With his early share of seventh at the halfway mark, Muthiya is ready to try for victory.
“When I was just six years old and starting out with golf I watched this tournament, and I believed I could put my name on the trophy when I was growing up. If that happens this week it would be something of a dream come true,” he said.
Having watched his national open continue to grow through the years, Muthiya was pleased with the growth in Zambia golf.
“I think it’s very encouraging to see the juniors an amateurs playing here. There is more investment in golf, and that really helps a tournament like the Zambia Open. The crowds are coming, the purses are growing and that causes a positive ripple effect and brings more junior golfers into the game,” he said.
Du Toit improved his overnight lead with a second-round 70, which took him to 10-under-par going into the weekend. With four of the last five Zambia Open champions in the field this week, he’ll have to keep the putts sinking in order to stay ahead.
“To be 10-under-par after two days is perfect to me, and I’m going to try to keep it going. Just sticking to the basics will keep me up there,” he stated.
2010 champion Adilson Da Silva put up a strong challenge until he carded bogeys at the 17th and 18th, which offset the Brazilian’s charge and left him to an early share of third on seven-under.
Also in the mix was 2011 champion Doug McGuigan, who was all smiles after shooting his second 69 of the tournament. Two solids rounds at the par-73 track earned the Sunward Park resident an eight-under-par total and sole second.
“I’m very happy, because I came into the week looking to shoot three or four-under each day. I’ve put myself into a good position and if I keep it up I’ll certainly be up top on Sunday,” he said.
Matt Carvell’s day turned around after he made a hole-in-one at the sixth, which helped him move to a share of sixth. The 28-year-old took a seven-iron into the 175-metre par-three and found the bottom of the cup.
“It’s my first hole-in-one ever and finally getting one is great. For some reason I had a feeling that I might break the duck and get one this week, and making one got my round back on track,” he said.