Mapwanya overcomes playoff jitters in NAC ProAm triumph

Mapwanya and Gondo finished tied on 8-under par 208 after 54 holes before the former won the title in a playoff decider.

TOP local professional golfer Visitor Mapwanya managed to shake off the playoff ghost that haunted him last year to claim a playoff victory over Brian Gondo in the NAC HIV and Cancer Drive tournament at Royal Harare last Thursday.

Mapwanya and Gondo finished tied on 8-under par 208 after 54 holes before the former won the title in a playoff decider.

The Renco Mine-bred golfer shot rounds of 68, 70 and 70 while Gondo carded 68, 67 and 73 in three rounds.

Last year Mapwanya agonisingly lost in a playoff against local rival Robson Chinhoi and the plan was to avoid a playoff this time around.

"Last year I lost on a playoff and it was a big relief for me to win in a playoff. When I lost in a playoff last year this year the aim was to try and avoid another playoff because "I didn't want to have a repeat of what happened the last time. "But unfortunately I had to play another playoff and luckily I managed to pull through," a relieved Mapwanya told The Sports Hub at the awards ceremony on Friday night.

Defending champion Chinhoi settled for third place, two strokes behind the winner despite enjoying a three shot lead going into the final day.

A final round 75 after shooting 69 and 66 in the first two days denied Chinhoi a second successive NAC ProAm win.

The win means a lot for Mapwanya, who feels it's a confident booster early in the year and will look to build on it going forward.

"Actually it's a confidence booster for me especially going into next week's event in South Africa where I was invited to play," he said.

"I can say this year it was tougher than last year because the guys were playing some extremely good golf. I just tried to stay within touching distance of the leaders so that I can capitalise when they slip up and I did just that."

The NAC HIV and Cancer Drive ProAm is the second big tournament for professional golfers on the local scene this month after the return of the Lowveld ProAm two weeks ago.

Mapwanya is excited with the increase in the number of tournaments for local professional golfers.

"It's good for local professionals to play these tournaments regularly as we prepare for Zim Open, which is the biggest tournament on the calendar.

"At this tournament (Zim Open)you will be competing against golfers who tournaments almost every week which is why local golfers have struggled in the past. So it's quite good if we can have tournaments such as this one twice a month it can only help improve our game for big tournaments." he said.

This year the target for Mapwanya is to play Sunshine Tour and by the end of the year make it onto the Asian Tour.

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