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Mapwanya’s playoff triumph secures Pro-AM NAC golf victory

HARARE — Visitor Mapwanya clinched victory at the 2024 Pro-AM NAC Golf Tournament on Friday, triumphing over Brian Gondo in a playoff at the Royal Harare Golf Club.

Entering the final round three strokes behind leaders Gondo and Robson Chinhoi, Mapwanya, of Chapman Golf Club, displayed remarkable skill, carding a final round of 70 to finish at 8 under par 208.

Chinhoi, co-leader with Gondo at the start of the day, struggled in the final round, finishing third with a three over par 75, failing to sustain the momentum from his promising initial rounds of 69 and 66.

Gondo, from Bulawayo Golf Club, equaled Mapwanya’s total score of 208 after a final round of one over par 73, leading to a playoff for the title.

The tournament win grants Mapwanya an invitation to the prestigious Players Championship in South Africa. Claire Minter from Borrowdale Brooke Golf Club claimed the women’s prize with a one-under-par gross, receiving a US$1,000 cheque.

Mapwanya earned US$7,140 for the victory, which is 17 percent of the total prize fund. Gondo received US$4,830, while Chinhoi took home US$2,898 for finishing third.

Albert Manenji, the National Aids Council’s finance and administration manager, emphasized the tournament’s wider significance: “Apart from the prize money, our focus is on the substantial funds raised by various partners. We’ve amassed over US$25,000, which will aid our partners in the battle against cancer.”

The beneficiaries include KidzCanZimbabwe, the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe (HOSPAZ).

Raymond Yekeye, NAC’s operations director with over a quarter-century in HIV response, commented on the evolving health challenges: “We’ve made strides in the fight against AIDS, but now we face other non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes. Our Pro-Am initiative is designed to tackle these issues.”

With 1.2 million people living with HIV in Zimbabwe, the majority of whom receive treatment from partner organizations, Yekeye stressed the need for resource self-sufficiency: “In the event of donor withdrawal, we must be ready to support those affected.”

The tournament enjoyed significant backing from Newavakash International, with additional support from CBZ, Old Mutual, POSB, and AFC, highlighting a united effort to combat HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases.