Rwanda’s number one golfer Emmanuel Ruterana is in for a huge test today when he makes his debut appearance on the sunshine tour; South Africa’s top professional golf series.
The 26-year-old is expected to tee-off this morning alongside 145 other golfers in the four-day tournament that is being staged at the Fish River Sun Country Club.
On top of South Africa, the R 1.2 (Frw 88m) event has also attracted golfers from 17 other countries namely; USA, England, Switzerland, Norway, Scotland, Serbia, Brazil, Wales, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Namibia, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Rwanda.
Meanwhile, 55 golfers are also confirmed to have made last minute exits from the event.
On top of contending with some of the world’s top golfers, Ruterana will also have to deal with some wild winds during the course of play.
It has been reported that the course will test the pros with south westerly and south easterly winds that will be strongest today and on Saturday.
"I don’t play under these conditions in Rwanda so it is definitely going to be a big test for me. South Africans are at an advantage here and are genuine favourites," Ruterana noted.
"It’s however an honour to be lined up on this tour and I’m looking forward to weighing my self with some of the best golfers on the planet," he continued.
Ruterana who left for South Africa on Sunday is among six golfers from the East African region.
Others include the Ugandan trio of Deo Akope, Amos Kamya and Godfrey Mande and Shah Anil and Thethy Charandeep from Kenya.
Since Sunday, Ruterana who is officially sponsored by Rwanda Commercial Bank (BCR) has been trying to get acclimatised to South Africa’s golf courses.
Meanwhile, among the hopeful starters campaigning for the winner’s cheque worth R190, 200 (approximately Frw 14m) on offer is Kwazulu Natal rising star, Prinavin Nelson.
The ambitious 20-year who made an immediate impression on his pro debut at the European Tour co-sanctioned Joburg Open, where he earned R23, 958 (approx. Frw 1.7m) for his 67th place tie has set himself some high standards, amongst which is to emulate fellow Ernie Els Foundation graduate, James Kamte.
After the Africa Open event, Ruterana will also compete in two other events; the Vodacom championship from Feb 14-17 and the telecom PGA event from Feb 21-24.
The Vodacom event has R 2.4 million (approx. Frw176m) worth of prize money while the Telecom PGA is billed up to R 2.5 million (approx. Frw183m)