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Zanaco Masters: What’s what

2nd April 2019 | Sunshine Tour

Zanaco Masters: What’s what

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The Sunshine Tour moves to the second tournament of the 2019-20 season at the Zanaco Masters in the capital of Zambia at Lusaka Golf Club. The R2-million event starts on Thursday, April 4 and ends on Sunday, April 7.

Now in its second year, the Zanaco Masters used to be the Zambia Sugar Open, and its new name clears up confusion between it and the Mopani Redpath Greendoor Logistics Zambia Open

JJ Senekal, the defending champion is one of three previous winners of the event in the field this week with Vaughn Groenewald and Lyle Rowe the other two. The event is yet to be successfully defended.

The format:

The competition will be decided over 72 holes of stroke play. After 36 holes there will be a cut to the leading 60 professionals and those who tie on the score.

The field:

156 (126 Sunshine Tour players, 30 Zambian players, including 10 amateurs).

Defending champion:

JJ Senekal’s victory last year was decided on the fourth play-off hole after he finished in a tie on 14-under-par 274 in regulation play with Andre De Decker, Jaco Ahlers and Alex Haindl.

The course:

The Lusaka Golf Club in Zambia boasts an 18-hole, par 73, 6,608-metre course that is incorporated into a parkland setting. The greens conform to international standards and the Lusaka Golf Club is probably one of Zambia’s most prestigious sporting facility, attracting a good cross-section of golfing nationalities to Zambia.

It was officially opened in 1935. A few alterations were made during World War II, which saw the addition of new holes. The course as we know it today was developed in 1958. This when the first grass was planted and by 1962 it had all the 18 holes fully developed. In 1993 the first (computer-controlled) state-of-the-art irrigation system was installed. This transformed the fairways. There have been several changes and improvements to the course making it even tougher.

Form player:

Christiaan Basson (pictured) did not miss a cut in his last five starts of last season, including his eighth-place finish at the Limpopo Championship. He finished in a share of sixth last week at this season’s opening event, the Mopani Redpath Greendoor Logistics Zambia Open. He has done well in his two last appearances at the Zanaco Masters, boasting a share of ninth last year and of fifth in 2017. All the signs show that Basson is close to registering his fifth win on tour and this week presents him an opportunity for that.

Sentimental pick:

As always, the man who was junior champion at Lusaka Golf Club four years in a row from 1997 to 2000, Madalitso Muthiya would make a sensational winner at his home club should he manage to pull off a victory. He was the leading Zambian player in last week’s event at Nkana Golf Club, finishing 35th at nine-over-par on a course that played tough and was set up tough. In his home conditions, he will be happy to convert that grit into a popular win.

The bolter:

Jacques P de Villiers missed 15 cuts from 22 starts last season but he has shown that he can produce some good results on a good week as his three top-10s last season attest. He got the new season off to a great start in Kitwe, placing in a share of 10th at the Zambia Open. After that his confidence will be right up there and he will want to do well this week. The Schoeman Park Golf Club representative will want to register his first win on the Sunshine Tour sooner rather than later, what a better way to do it than early on in the season.

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