14-year-old in Golden Pilsener Zim Golf Open

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FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD junior golfer David Amm has booked a place in the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open golf tournament after finishing second in the qualifying event held at Chapman Golf Club on Monday.

More than 70 local and international golfers participated in the qualifiers chasing the eight available slots. Others who qualified were two Kenyans Anderson Engell and Ngugi Njunguna, Ryan Lang, Jason Jackson Shane Johnson, Steven Ferreira and Scott Ferguson.

Ferguson who had finished tied on three-over par 75, managed to book a place through a play-off against Davison Elijah and Kenya’s Mahomed.

Amm’s qualification takes the number of amateur players in the Open to six together with Scott Vincent, Jack Allard, Clive Nguru, Chris Mbanga and Thembelani Vundla.

All the amateurs who qualified are very young with most of them below the age of 21. This highlights that as a country we are producing very talented junior golfers. Unfortunately in the recent years none of our promising golfers have managed to qualify to play in the top world tours.In the last ten years only Marc Cayeux and Brendon De Jongé have qualified for the European tour and US PGA tour respectively.

Zimbabwe undoubtedly has a lot of raw talent and as Nick Price once said: “There are probably 100 kids with the athletic ability of Tiger Woods in my country.”

However, what seems to be missing in Zimbabwe are the financial resources to mould talent into world-class golfers. The main issue is probably to do with the economic challenges being experienced in the country.

This has resulted in the number of golfers playing the game going down and the number of corporates able to sponsor also reducing.

This impacts negatively on the money available for golf development programmes. In other countries talent is identified at an early age and player capabilities are evaluated early on and then individual plans are then crafted to suit each player.

Each player will have a very generous budget allocated to him for all their needs on and off the course. This enables the golfer to focus purely on the golf while not having to worry about where money for equipment, travel etc will come from.

Given the number of dedicated coaches and administrators in the country, the moment more money is channelled to the game we will soon be able to see a number of talented golfers fulfilling their potential and being ranked among the best in the world.

Some of golfing talent is now on golfing scholarships in America and hopefully the exposure they get there would be invaluable in the future. Among some of them are Scott Vincent at Virginia Tech, Ray Badenhorst at Florida Tech and Ben Follet-Smith at Mississippi State.