Theunis after consecutive Harare wins

The Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open looks set to light up Royal Harare Golf Club as Theunis Spangeberg returns to defend his title at the R1.5-million tournament, which starts on Thursday.

Unlike last year, the weather is forecast to be clear and sunny, but Spangenberg will not be given any breaks from the likes of last year’s runner-up Matthew Carvell.

The most recent victor on the Sunshine Tour, Jake Roos, heads for Royal Harare after winner the Platinum Classic at the end of March. Roos overcame Chris Swanepoel and Anthony Michael in a playoff after the trio finished tied for first place at 14-under-par.

Michael’s run of good form, which saw him into the playoff, is likely to continue in Zimbabwe this week – He showed his affinity for the Harare course when he shot 62 during the second round of the 2010 Zimababwe Open.

A handful of success stories from the Sunshine Big Easy Tour will join the fray in Harare, included in that group are Dean Burmester and Morne Buys, both of whom recorded top-10 finishes at the Telkom PGA Championship.

Burmester finished tied third at the Platinum Classic after shooting 69 during the final round to close the tournament just one stroke shy of making the playoff.

At a tournament which has been won by the likes of Vijay Singh and Jbe Kruger, as well as local heroes Nick Price and Mark McNulty, plenty is at stake this week.

Not least of which is a new Land Rover Evoque, which will be awarded to the first player during any competitive round to make an eagle at the par-four 18th hole.

Spangenberg has etched his name into the history books alongside the greats of the past, but the large prizefund and strong field mean that defending his title will be no mean feat.

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