Rowe eyes sec­ond Zim­babwe Open scalp

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

All eyes will be on South African Lyle Rowe when the Zim­babwe Open golf tour­na­ment gets go­ing at the Royal Harare Golf Club on Thurs­day.

Rowe main­tained fo­cus on his game into the fi­nal day at last year’s edi­tion, which was played on the same course. His dili­gence paid off when he fin­ished at eleven-un­der-par 277 – two shots ahead of com­pa­triot Dy­lan Frit­telli.

The 29-year-old Port El­iz­a­beth-born player carded a five-un­der-par 67 in the fi­nal round to claim his sec­ond Sun­shine Tour since his de­but suc­cess at the Zam­bia Open in 2014.

Rowe played with con­sis­tency for the du­ra­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion on the tough Harare course last year, and he chipped and putted ad­mirably through­out. His flaw­less game ul­ti­mately earned him the sil­ver­ware.

He is look­ing to re­peat his con­quest at this year’s event by mak­ing a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence.

“It’s great to get another chance to play at the same tour­na­ment where I was vic­to­ri­ous the last time around, and where the crowds were par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by my show­ing on the fair­ways,” said Lyle.

“I’m aware that the course lay­out has been changed this year to make the course tougher than it was last year, but I’m de­ter­mined to make a suc­cess­ful ti­tle de­fence.”

One of the old­est events on the Sun­shine Tour, this year’s com­pe­ti­tion – with a R1.8 mil­lion purse – will see top South African play­ers in the mix, in­clud­ing Dean Burmester, who won the tour­na­ment in 2015 with -18, and Jbe’ Kruger, who tri­umphed in 2014 with -16.

Com­peti­tors will also be try­ing to break the record that was set by for­mer world num­ber one, Zim­babwe’s Nick Price, who carded -22 in this event in 1995.

Price, who has been in­ducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, won three ma­jors in his ca­reer – the PGA Cham­pi­onship in 1992 and 1994, and the Bri­tish Open in 1994.

Other play­ers who will be out to make names for them­selves in the par 72 course in­clude Zim­bab­weans Marc Cayeux, Mark Wil­liams and Madal­itso Muthiya.

PHOTO: WAR­REN LIT­TLE / GETTY IM­AGES

IN THE SWING Lyle Rowe will be the man to watch dur­ing the Zim­babwe Open at the Royal Harare Golf Club this week

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