Tony returns home encouraged by state of golf in Zimbabwe

Even though he plays his golf in Europe and commentates on the European Tour, Zimbabwean stalwart Tony Johnstone will never miss a chance to play at home in Zimbabwe.

“It’s just great to be back home,” he said after completing his first round of the Africom Zimbabwe Open. “The truest thing ever said is that home is where the heart is and my heart is still in Zim, and I feel quite inspired.”

Johnstone has played in almost every Zimbabwe Open since he turned professional in 1979, winning it in the summer season of 1993. He was quite distraught when it fell off the calendar for nine years between 2002 and 2009 but has since played in last year’s event and looks in good form after opening with a three-under par 69 in this year’s tournament.

Having played in last year’s event also gave Johnstone an idea of the growing awareness and talent that is rising out of Zimbabwe which he is absolutely thrilled about.

“We have so much talent here and natural sportsmen, one of those development schemes eventually would be a great thing here,” he said. “You just never know when you have got a blooming Tiger Woods. You just never know.”

“But it is just fantastic that we have the Zimbabwe Open on the map again. All of the guys love it and they say that they are having the best time. It’s Zimbabwe. What do you expect? Of course you are going to have a good time.”

He was even excited about his prospects in the tournament this year after finishing with three birdies and an eagle in his last four holes. However, he was not so sure when asked what a second Zimbabwe Open title would mean to him.

“It would mean I cheated,” he joked after explaining that the course is just too long for him.

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