Local hero Madalitso Muthiya is excited to play the Mopani Copper Mines Zambia Open at Nkana Golf Club this week, which marks a new venue for the $250 000 tournament.
“My game has been good and I’ve been playing well. All-in-all I’m very confident, because I’ve put in a lot of work and I’ve been playing most of the Sunshine Tour events. When I’m not in South Africa I head to Lusaka Golf Club and practice from there,” he said.
The 31-year-old has competed across the globe, but the support he receives from Zambians makes his week in Kitwe more exciting. Nkana Golf Club suits Muthiya, who became the first Zambian to play in the US Open when he successfully qualified in 2006.
“It’s definitely an advantage to play on home soil, even though I’ve only played this course a few times. I was born in Kitwe and the town is starting to come alive again with the injection from the mines and the building of the community. It’s great to see what has come around over the years,” he said.
This year Zambia hosts two events on the Sunshine Tour schedule, which indicates that golf is on the rise. The more attention this sport receives, the more opportunities there are for young players to succeed.
Muthiya studied at the University of New Mexico on a sports scholarship. He hopes to see more young Zambians getting such opportunities and the addition of a second tournament has made him optimistic.
“It’s very encouraging to see us hosting two events and hopefully there will be more. It can only help the development of golf in Zambia, because it will inspire the younger golfers and introduce new players to the game,” he said.
But for the moment Muthiya is focused on succeeding at this week’s Mopani Copper Mines Zambia Open, where home soil and local support will help him contend for the title.
“I’ve always been a good striker of the ball, so this course suits me. I’ve had some nice results in Zambia and it’s always great to see the crowds, so I’m confident that this will be another good tournament,” he said.