Zambia Ladies Golf Union president, Moona Mwila, with the some of the Zambia amateurs who will compete in the inaugural Zambia Ladies Open Championship. From left to right: Kaela Mulenga, Melissa Nawa, Moona Mwila, Tina Nawa and Lorna Mwenda. Photo Credit: WGSA
Jbe’ Kruger, Adilson da Silva, Doug McGuigan, Marc Cayeux, Desvonde Botes, Johan Edfors, Steve Basson and Justin Harding are just some of the professionals who have carved their names into Zambia’s proud golfing history.
The country has proven a happy hunting ground for Zambia Open champions over many decades, but this weekend the country will celebrate a milestone moment to be etched in the history of Zambian golf.
“The first-ever Zambia Ladies Open Championship tees off at Ndola Golf Club on Friday,” said Zambia Ladies Golf Union president, Moono Mwila.
“This is a ground-breaking achievement for women’s golf in the country and it will mark the first time ever that we host a professional women’s tournament in Zambia.
“When we crown our winner on Sunday, her name will go down in the history books. We have arrived at a landmark juncture in the history of Zambia and the Zambia Ladies Golf Union is incredibly proud to commemorate our golden jubilee with this historic occasion.”
The R750,000 Zambia Ladies Open Championship has drawn a field of 49 players, including 30 professionals and 19 amateurs hailing from the host country, as well as South Africa, England, Namibia, Swaziland, Sweden, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Kenya and Australia.
The professional entries include Ladies European Tour campaigner Stacy Bregman, Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Monique Smit, Tandi von Ruben and Kim Williams, as well as LET Access Series players Maggie Yuan, Rachel Drummond, Uloma Mbuko and Lauren Blease.
“In November last year, the ZLGU took a decision to host the country’s first professional women’s event, and we contacted several professional bodies for assistance,” said Mwila.
“We got an immediate positive response from the Women’s PGA of South Africa and that was just the motivation we all needed to get the ball rolling.”
Ndola Golf Club will give the champion a stirring setting to create her own piece of history.
“The club has hosted a number of Zambia Open Championships with the Sunshine Tour and they knew what needed to be done,” Mwila said.
“They volunteered to host the championship and immediately galvanised the fundraising effort to help the ZLGU to reach the R750,000 prize money target. The tournament committee launched a number of fund raising efforts and help us to realise our goal.”
Mwila said that the overwhelming support from the Zambian people endorses the ZLGU’s vision for golf development in the country.
“More than 60 individuals, companies and corporate business have thrown their support behind this tournament,” Mwila said.
“Companies like NFC Mining Africa, Zambia Sugar, Rekays, Plascon, Car Go 2 Go, Polytra, Gomes Haulage and FQM have made substantial contributions, but we are extremely grateful to all the stake holders who have ensured the successful launch of the first Zambia Ladies Open Championship,” Mwila said.
“We do not have any female golf professionals in Zambia at present and that is a situation that needs urgent attention. We need more development at junior level and we need to find a way to support our amateurs who want to cross the bridge to the paid ranks.
“By hosting the WPGA here in Zambia, we are giving our amateurs and the top amateurs from neighbouring countries in Africa the opportunity to test themselves against the professionals, to hone their skills and to learn.
“Our young amateurs will go away from this event, having gained invaluable experience. We look forward to celebrating this glorious occasion in Ndola with the entire golf fraternity, including members, players and fans.
“Here’s to some magical golf for posterity and the rise of new golfing talent.”