Krog earns Sunshine Tour card ahead of FBC Zim Open

Zimbabwean professional golfer Stuart Krog

THE FBC Zimbabwe Open couldn't have come at a better time for promising Zimbabwean professional golfer Stuart Krog.

The 27-year-old Harare-born golfer achieved the biggest milestone of his fledgling career as a professional golfer  since turning professional a couple of years ago when he earned his Sunshine Tour card.

Krog has over the past few months been gaining some experience by playing on the development tours in South Africa and locally in the hope of making the step up to the Sunshine Tour.

His hardwork finally paid off on April 22 when he finished in a tie for seventh position at the final stage of the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School at Heron Banks Golf and River Resort, where the top 20 earned their tour cards.

"This means a lot," an elated Krog said in an interview with StandardSport.

"The Sunshine Tour Qualifying School is such a hard week and there is so much at stake, so to be able to perform when I needed to will really give me confidence going forward.

"I have worked really hard over the last couple of years to get to this spot and it’s showed during the week and I know I’ve earned the right to rub shoulders with the best golfers on the Sunshine Tour," he said.

After securing his playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour, Krog will play in his first official event as a full member of the tour when he tees off at the 2023 FBC Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship on Thursday at Royal Harare Golf Club.

The FBC Zimbabwe Open which has a lucrative prize fund of R2,2 million is the first event on the 2023-2024 Sunshine Tour wraparound season.

Krog, who had two top 10 finishes on the developmental Altron Big Easy Tour in South Africa last year, will be playing in his second Zimbabwe Open since turning professional after finishing tied for position 52 last year.

As he prepares for this week's flagship event, Krog reckons local professional golfers have a very good chance of putting on a good show and hopefully end South African golfers' dominance of the event.

"Yeah I am really looking forward to playing in the Zimbabwe Open. I feel we have a strong Zimbabwean contingent this year so hopefully we can put on a show and keep the trophy on home soil," he said.

Krog had a trailblazing junior career during, which he won the 2013 Junior Golfer of the year accolade while he represented the country countless times as a junior and amateur golfer.

And after spending a number of years playing collegiate golf in the US at Henderson State University where he was studying for a Sports Management degree, Krog decided to turn professional in 2021 after his studies for a Master’s degree were cut short by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Krog is among the several Zimbabwean golfers who will be seeking to win the title, which has proved elusive for local players since the tournament's return on the Sunshine Tour schedule 13 years ago.

Other local players to look out for this week include local favorite, Robson Chinhoi, Visitor Mapwanya, Ryan Cairns and rising star Kieran Vincent, who celebrated his maiden victory on the Asian Tour a fortnight ago.

Kieran is the young brother to Zimbabwean Olympian Scott Vincent who is now plying his trade mainly on the LIV Golf circuit.

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