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Golf | SA

Ryan Cairns © Gallo Images

Cairns taking aim at Zimbabwe Open

Two players who were once ranked No 1 in the world have won it, and Ryan Cairns would love to add his name to the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open trophy this week.

“Nick Price is the No 1 name on there,” said Cairns. “You’d really want your name next to that at any point in your career, but there is also Vijay Singh.

“And that’s not even to mention Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone. There are some really big names on that trophy, and to win on a golf course like this in any tournament – especially your national open – that would be great,” he added.

The R1.65-million Sunshine Tour tournament takes place on the 6 671-metre (7 209-yard) layout at the 114-year-old Royal Harare Golf Club, and the 156-man field includes 33 Zimbabweans, four of whom play out of Royal Harare.

One of those is Cairns, who grabbed his maiden Sunshine Tour victory last May in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Simola, and he will be looking to make maximum use of his knowledge of the course.

“I won a local tour event here three weeks ago,” he said, “and I birdied four of the last five holes to do it. I was a little bit tired from the busy summer on the Sunshine Tour, but it was nice to pull it off like that.

“It is important to know the course, as long as you keep your wits about you, because there is always a lot more hometown pressure than when you play somewhere foreign. I hope to use the fact that there are a lot of people with expectations to fuel a fire this week,” he added.

He has a top-10 finish in the event to his credit already, with his share of eighth in the 2010 tournament, but he wants to do a lot better than that, and certainly better than his missed cut in 2011 and his share of 25th last year.

The tournament gets underway on Thursday with 2011 champion Theunis Spangenberg and 2012 champion Chris Swanepoel both in the field.


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