PROFESSIONAL local golfer Patrick Mwendapole says it will be difficult for Zambian golfers to be contenders in the 2018 Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open because they are grappling with a lot of challenges.
The 2018 Mopani/Redpath Open will be held at Nkana Golf Club from April 26-29.
In an interview yesterday in Kitwe, Mwendapole lamented that only two Zambians would be taking part in both Pro-Am’s this week giving, the locals no chance of getting some good practice rounds under the belt ahead of Thursday’s tee-off.
“The pressure is always there on the local golfers but we don’t mind that because the problem is people don’t understand what it takes to be up there,” Mwendapole said.
“There is a lot that is involved. If you look at all the local professional, not even a single one is sponsored. But you see, these guys who come from South Africa, it is not like they just dream, they are well sponsored. Everything is set for them and they just come here to hit the ball. But for us, we think of too many things like you have to think of how I am going to travel to Kitwe.”
He also lamented that the Zambian golfers had played only two locally organized tournaments this year apart from the Zanaco Masters in Lusaka and the Mopani/Redpath Zambia Open that starts tomorrow.
“I have played two tournaments so far this year without any sponsorship but used my own money,” Mwendapole said.
He said given an opportunity, there was a lot of potential in local players.
“But given a chance there is sponsorship for all these local players, believe me, they will shoot good scores. This year, we have only played two tournaments and both on the Copperbelt .So if it wasn’t for the mines sponsoring them, we wouldn’t have played any Zambia Professional Golfers Association tournament this year,” said Mwendapole.
So far, only Muthiya and Beza Daka are the high-profile locals that have entered for any of the two Pro-Am’s over the next two days.
Meanwhile, defending champions Riekus Nortje of South Africa said he will not put too much pressure on himself heading into his Mopani/Repath title defence.
Nortje said he is also hoping to improve on his 70th position finish at the recently held Zanaco Masters.
“I am quite confident, I will try my best to defend it and do my best. If it happens it happens, if it dosen’t, it doesn’t,” Nortje said.
Nortje will take part in today’s Greendoor Logistics Pro-Am together with Muthiya while Daka will play in tomorrow’s Sandvick Pro-Am.