Dar es Salaam. Zimbabwe’s Ryan Cairns is among top foreign golfers who have so far confirmed their participation in this year’s Tanzania Open, which tees on Friday at the Kili Golf and Wildlife Resort Club course in Arusha.
Cairns, the top ranked golfer on the Zimbabwe Order of Merit, is expected in the country tomorrow, according to the Tanzania Golf Union (TGU).
A Sh17 million cash prize is among awards that will be up for grabs during the four-day championship, which has been organised by TGU in collaboration with Kili Golf and Wildlife Resort Club.
After a dismal show in last year’s tournament, where Kenyans claimed top honours in both amateur and professional series, Tanzanian golfers are looking for a better performance in the forthcoming event.
TGU chairman Chriss Martin said yesterday that preparations and logistics for the anxiously awaited championship were on top gear.
“To ensure this year’s championship is more competitive and exciting than last year’s event, we have invited top players from various countries around the continent,” Martin said.
“We also have set aside hefty prizes winners in the championship which will feature both amateur and professional golfers,” he added.
According to him, local players have been busy since last month, shaping up ahead of what promises to be tough but mouth-watering championship.
The TGU boss expressed optimism that they (Tanzanian players) would claim titles in all categories (amateur, professional, men and women).
But they should expect an easy ride as reports from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda had it yesterday that their golfers were in high spirits, raring to shine in the event. Zimbabwe’s Cairns has reportedly been fine-tuning in Harare for three weeks now in his endeavour to win snatch the Tanzania Open title and the jackpot that goes with it.
The 72-hole championship is open to both men’s and ladies players and the TGU officials are optimistic golfers will once again enjoy facilities at the ultra-modern golf course.
“The Kili Golf and Wildlife Resort has a magnificent view of the 18-hole par 73 golf facility, it presents nature in its correct meaning,” he said.
“It is going to be a wonderful experience for the golfers who will play at the course. Golf fans should expect a major treat,” he added.
In the last year’s event, Kenyan Jacob Okello won the professional category after hitting an aggregate 298 strokes in 74, 74, 71 and 76 gross scores.
The amateur category’s reigning champion, Robinson Owiti of Kenya who won in aggregate 302 (80, 74, 75, 73) last year is also expected to be there to defend his title.