The National Aids Council (NAC) HIV/AIDS cancer awareness fund-raising golf tournament teed off today (Wednesday) with 68 golfers from four nations taking part in this 3rd edition of the tournament at Royal Harare Golf Club which has become the second biggest on the local golf calendar in terms of prize money.

The tournament has a total of $40 000 in prize money and comes hot on the hills of the Harare Sunshine City Open played last week at Chapman Golf Club.

The 3rd edition of the NAC HIV/AIDS cancer awareness fund-raising golf tournament aims to raise over $100 000 this year for the purchase of 15 cancer screening machines known as truscreen which uses technology to detect pre-cancerous change by optical and electrical measurements.

NAC Financial Director Albert Manenji hailed their partnership with Zimbabwe Professional Golfers Association (ZPGA) and expressed hope the fund-raising efforts will get at least one truscreen cancer screening machine at each of the 65 district hospitals.

“60 percent of the cancers are HIV/AIDS related and people from rural and peri-urban inability to access health services. Last year we targeted at least 15 sets of the machines and raised $80 000, this year another 15 at a cost of $7 550 each,” he said.

ZPGA president Gary Thompson said they were taking a cue from the US Professional Golfers Association where over $2 billion goes to charity and hope to help raise not just awareness but mobilise resources for charity through golf.

“The philosophy charity breeds prosperity is so true. We hope through our partnership with NAC to raise funds towards charity will go a long way in swinging the cancer out with a golf swing,” he said.

ZPGA development officer William Lake who shot into the lead with a five under part 67 round said they were launching a 3 year apprenticeship training programme through their affiliation to the SA PGA, Europe and the America’s.

“A Zimbabwe golfer will be able go and train anywhere in the world with the qualification. We hope to improve golf development in Zimbabwe and related industries,” he said.

Trainos Murazikwa shot a 4 under par 68 to claim second position into the second day of the 54 hole tournament while Biggie Chibvuri was tied third with defending champion Ben Follet-Smith on 3 under par 69.

Thompson also shot a 2 under par 70 while Robson Chinhoi was level on 72 tied with Mohammed Mandhu, Zambia Madalitso Muthiya and Pride Sembo.

The tournament continues through to Friday with a pro-am.