AFTER snatching pole position in the National Aids Council (NAC) Zimbabwe Professional Golfers (ZPG) contest, Zimbabwe and Kenya Order of Merit leading golfer, Robson Chinhoi is set to take his 2023 campaign to Gabon next week.
The 25th edition of the Gabon International Open at the Roland Pedrono of Moanda course will be held from April 6 to 9 where there is sh24 million for the winner.
Chinhoi, who traces the humble beginnings of his career to Mutare’s Hillside Golf Club where he arrived just as a caddie, was the toast of the HIV and Cancer Prevention Drive Pro-Am Golf Tourney which was held last week on Tuesday to Thursday at the Royal Harare Golf Course.
Chinhoi, who is currently the leading golfer for the local tour as well as the Kenya Safari Tour and fourth in Zambia Chevron Tour, enhanced his growing status as one of the rising golfing stars on the continent after cruising to a dominant 10-shot victory in the Uganda Open in October last year.
At that time, the in-form player had already won the Kinshasa and Lubumbashi Open tournaments as he was simply in a class of his own in a star-studded field which featured some of Africa’s leading players on the Safari Tour.
In fact, the victory in the Uganda Pro-Open was the second after the heroics in 2020 during the championship played at Uganda Golf Club in Kampala.
However, with a field of more than 60 professional golfers, some of them from neighbouring countries such as Malawi, Zambia and South Africa as well as far afield as Ghana, Chinhoi won the seventh edition of the NAC tournament following a playoff victory over Visitor Mapwanya.
Chinhoi’s triumph came after a three-hole playoff against fellow pro, Mapwanya.
The duo, who have been playing some quality golf in recent weeks, were tied on 11-under-par 205 on the third and final round of the competition last week on Thursday.
Chinhoi took part in the Max Open in Bulawayo where he finished third.
The talented former Hillside Golf Club player last won the HIV and Cancer Prevention Drive Pro-Am Golf Tournament in 2018 and settled for second position in last year’s contest of the same competition.
In this year’s NAC golf competition, top female golfer, Claire Minter was the ladies champion after grossing 242 in three rounds and tied for 50th place overall as Davison Elijah won the seniors’ category, while Tariro November was the highest placed amateur golfer.
Chinhoi said: “It was a good feeling to be the champion. I last won this competition in 2018 and last year I came second. I have always wanted to win it again and I am happy to have achieved that.”
Chinhoi has now set sights on the prestigious 25th edition of the Gabon International Open.
“I am going for the Gabon Open where I am hoping to coming back home with a trophy. My preparations were made better by the NAC tournament and some recent competitions,” said Chinhoi.
Apart from the Gabon Open, Chinhoi is also preparing for the Zim Open slated for end of this month.
The objective of the NAC Golf Tournament is to raise a minimum of US$60 000 to procure cancer medicines and equipment for organisations that are fighting cancer in different capacities.
The organisations are Island Hospice & Healthcare, KIDZCAN, Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, HOSPAZ and Zimbabwe Cancer Registry.