Merrick may discard driver in Zambia

2015 Golden Pilsner Zimbabwe Open: Day 4The Nkana Golf Club course is so tight that big-hitting Merrick Bremner is thinking seriously of leaving his driver out of the bag for the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open which gets underway on Thursday.

Bremner has played five rounds on the course, which has added some distance on the 10th and the 15th with new tees, and some water on the 15th and 18th, and is looking forward to the challenge the 6,412-metre layout poses.

“I played the pro-am and four tournament rounds on it last year, and I liked it,” Bremner, who finished in a share of 38th, said. “I didn’t do that well, but there was nothing that was bad about the experience for me.”

Bremner took a couple of weeks off ahead of the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, where a closing four-over 76 on April 9 saw him share 21st, and feels that his game is ready for testing. “I did some fishing for a couple of days before I started practicing again, and the rest was great,” he said.

“There are obviously some difficulties to overcome in that the grass we’re playing on here at Nkana is different from the stuff I practiced on, but we’ve all got to deal with that,” he added. “I’ve brought everything from one-iron on up, so I’ll see how things go in the pro-am tomorrow and make a decision about the driver based on that.”

Bremner is one of the 144-man field competing for the R3.2-million purse, and he has some players who have shown good form up against him.

Not least of those is Dean Burmester, the former Zimbabwean who won his ‘home’ open at Royal Harare two weeks ago. The week’s break between that tournament and this is precisely the kind of thing which could help him get over the possible let-down golfers often experience after a big win.

From the Zambian perspective, there will be a lot of attention on Madalitso Muthiya, who plies his trade in South Africa on the Sunshine Tour. He’s had a quiet start to the 2015 season, with his 28th spot in Zimbabwe his best of three finishes, but he would have been most pleased with his cheque in the Joburg Open, where he took home over R56,000 for his share of 55th.

Defending champion Wallie Coetsee will not be at this year’s tournament at Nkana – his is attempting to top his golden summer by trying his hand on the Asian Tour with the card he earned on that tour’s Qualifying School late in January.


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