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Huge blow for Zim golf


WELL-RESPECTED golf development coach Roger Baylis believes Zimbabwe has wasted a golden opportunity to showcase the significant strides the country has made in reviving the sport, after the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA)’s failure to enter the team for the World Amateur Team Championship to be held in Japan.


Zimbabwe has participated in every single edition of the prestigious biennial tournament, which is also known as the Eisenhower Trophy, since the inaugural edition held at the famous old course at St Andrews, Scotland, in 1958.

The country will, however, miss out this year after ZGA failed to enter a team for this year’s edition of the tournament to be held from September 11 to 14 in Japan before the registration deadline.

Baylis, who has coached many Zimbabwe teams at the world’s premier amateur golf event, said the country could find it difficult to compete at the tournament again as it featured 73 countries.

“It’s a shame really, probably the saddest thing to happen to local golf. We have competed in every edition of the tournament since 1958 and with places reserved for only 73 countries we might find it difficult to return there again in the future,” Baylis who has coached many successful local golfers including current PGA Tour professional Brendon de Jongé, said.

The veteran Chapman Golf Club teaching pro said Zimbabwe had stood a very strong chance of doing well this year.

“We really had a strong chance. We had probably the best team we had ever assembled for the tournament. In 2012 we managed to finish 17th out of 73 countries in Turkey.

We even finished above South Africa which was a very significant achievement. We had two players from that team who were expected to return again this year in Ray Badenhorst and Scott Vincent, so we had a very strong chance,” he said.

Promising amateurs Vincent, Ben Follet-Smith and Badenhorst were expected to represent Zimbabwe at the bi-annual tournament with Tonderai Musunga the non-travelling reserve.

Zimbabwe’s amateur golfers lifted the country’s flag high at the 2012 Eisenhower Trophy in Turkey, finishing in a five-way tie for 17th with Wales, Poland, Thailand and Netherlands at the 73-team tournament on three-under par 425.

The Baylis-coached side were the highest placed African team and managed to outshine neighbours South Africa who finished 23rd. It was the country’s best result at the prestigious international event to date.

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