BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
US-BASED Zimbabwean golfer Nyasha Mauchaza has taken a significant step towards securing a future on the PGA Tour after qualifying for the final stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Starting the final round in 22nd position and seeking one of the spots inside the top 18 on offer, Mauchaza closed with a round of two-under 70 at the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course, to move four spots up to tie for 18th right on the cut-off score of two-under par.
After finishing his final round, Mauchaza, who had carded earlier rounds of 71, 70 and 71 in the first three rounds, had to endure a nervy wait to find out if he had made the cut.
“Of course it was very nervy in the end as I had to wait to find out if I had made the cut. It was a firm test on a strong golf course.,” Mauchaza said in an interview with Standardsport from his US base yesterday.
“I did my best to focus shot by shot and I’m grateful to have made it through. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity to earn a full card on the Korn Ferry Tour.”
Mauchaza has struggled to nail down a spot on any of the major tours in the US, Europe and Asia in recent years but will now have the opportunity to showcase his talent on the international stage.
By qualifying for the Final Stage of the Korn Ferry Tour Q School, the former Wingate Golf Club junior has guaranteed himself status on the primary pathway to the PGA Tour.
However, the strength of his status is dependent on how he performs at the final stage tournament in Savannah, Georgia from November 4-7.
In Savannah, the top 45 finishers will earn full status for the upcoming year on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is a step below the PGA Tour.
The final stage tournament has a purse of $480 000 with $50 000 going to the winner.
Meanwhile, Ben Follet Smith won the coveted title at the National Aids Council-sponsored HIV & Cancer Prevention Drive Pro-Am Golf Tournament for the second time in his fledgling career on Friday.
The 27-year-old fired a final-round three-under par 69 to finish the 54 holes at Royal Harare Club on five- on five-under par 21.
Follet-Smith finished two shots ahead of Kayyam Mandhu who also carded a final round 69 while Tonderayi Masunga was in a three way tie for third with Ryan Cairns and Robson Saurombe.
Overnight leader Jack Allard settled for sixth position in the tournament which attracted a strong field of 53 golfers.