In a thrilling tee-off to the much-anticipated 2023 Goldfields Ghana Professional Golfers Association Golf Championship, defending champion Kojo Barnni is poised for a formidable defence of his title.
The prestigious event, celebrating its 10th anniversary, commenced yesterday in Darmang in the Western Region of Ghana.
With over 33 seasoned professional golfers in contention, including nine foreign professionals hailing from Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria, the championship promises an intense battle for the coveted title. Barnni, a three-time champion from Tarkwa Golf Club, faces fierce competition from notable contenders such as former champions Vincent Torgah and Lucky Ayisah.
Expressing confidence ahead of the tournament, Barnni acknowledged the tough competition, emphasizing his preparedness for the challenge. "I am well prepared for the task to ensure I make it back-to-back triumphs," he affirmed.
During the opening ceremony, Alhaji Ahmed Padori, the Director of Operation of PGA Ghana, urged participants to uphold the principles of fair play, emphasizing the unique tenets of the game.
He highlighted the anticipation of stiff competition, with a focus not only on favourites like the defending champion and Vincent Toga but also on the other four golfers poised to challenge the event.
The Chairman of the Organization Committee, Hans De Beer, expressed delight in overseeing preparations for this year's championship, emphasizing the inclusion of women in the competition.
"This year, we have included ladies, and we believe this innovation will help nurture a lot of women for professional competition," he said.
Notably, the cash prize for the championship has been raised to GH?385,000, with the regular pro champion now receiving GH?80,000, a significant increase from previous years. This boost is expected to elevate the competitive spirit of the tournament.
In a groundbreaking move, the 10th-anniversary event introduces a platform for women, with four ladies competing amongst themselves.
This initiative aims to prepare them for future international golf tournaments, adding an extra layer of excitement to the championship.