Featured on PGAZ Facebook page
By Duncan Mlanjira
Malawi’s top pro golfer, Paul Chidale has been specially invited to participate in Zambia’s Suscon invitational pro golf being played at the immaculate Bonanza Golf Course in Lusaka, Zambia as recognition of his impeccable performance when he won the pro category of the SeedCo Lilongwe Open.
A banner depicting Chidale’s portrait with the Malawian flag as background is being displayed at the host club and he has also been featured in Times of Zambia newspaper that he is joined by Senegalese top golfer Samba Niang.
The paper also took cognizance of Chidale’s performance in Kenya’s Safari Tour.
The course has attracted over 100 players and Times of Zambia quotes the tournament’s publicity chairperson Alfred Tamba as saying the presence of the foreign pros was a plus to the tournament and would inject a competitive edge into the locals.
“It’s our goal to make this as competitive as possible and going forward we will have more pros from other countries take part in the local event.
“The foreign flavour is what our golfers need to check their progress,” Tamba is quoted as saying.
A short interview with Chidale has been posted Facebook page of Professional Golfers Association of Zambia (PGAZ) in which he recognised some of the Zambian pros that he has interacted with during his previous participation of the Kenyan Safari Tours where he has tremendously improved his game.
One of them is Madalitso Muthiya who made headlines last year after his excellent performance during the Sunshine Tour in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Muthiya is reported to have taken up golf at the age of six and at 15 he caught the attention of former Zambia’s president Frederick Chiluba, who then asked an American, James Roth to assist the lad in securing an athletic scholarship to a university.
Malawi Professional Golfers Association (PGAMW) vice-president, Patridge Shycal said the prize money for the Zambian tour is not known but it is reported that the top 5 best pros will receive some good money. something.
At the close of Day 1, Chidale had shot -4 (68), tying on leaderboard with Zambian pro G. Chibale.
During the SeedCo Lilongwe Open, Chidale excelled against experienced pros from Zambia and Zimbabwe including highly rated South African, Irvin Mazibuko — former Sunshine Tour champion.
Chidale came first with total gross of 208 (67 Day 1; 67 Day 2 and 74 Day 3) while Mazibuko came 8th with 224 (72; 78 and 74 respectively).
Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi was second with gross 214; Sydney Wemba Jnr third with 216 and Zambian Mwalikwa Sondashi 4th with 219 while Malawian Chris Mzokomera was 5th with 220.
During prize presentation, Chidale applauded the golf community for its support that has enabled him to improve his game, saying his triumph was not just for him but for everyone who belongs to the sport.
He also encouraged local players to work hard and aim to be on top.
He also applauded SeedCo Malawi for the sponsorship of the pro category at US$5,000 that encouraged that brought the best of every pro on the field.
SeedCo Malawi’s Managing Director, Boyd Luwe said the company is are happy to associate itself with golf and that they thought of increasing the hype of their tournament this year through US$5,000 purse money for the pros.
“We saw it fit to offer our golf professionals from the region a little something extra to compete for at this year’s SeedCo Lilongwe Open while paving way for other corporates to emulate the same in their future tournaments plans,” Luwe said.
“It should start with us the corporates to support our professionals by including them in our budgets if we are to grow the game.
“Companies have sponsored amateur golf in Malawi for years and it’s high time to go more international by sponsoring professional tours as well that will facilitate tourist’s traffic and thereby profiling Malawi on the international scene”, he said.
Golf Union of Malawi president Canan Manda said the future of golf in the country is just bright and the focus now is to start teaching the sport in schools as grassroots investment.
Manda said the challenge is that Malawi has few golf courses and member driven.