IN VICTORIA FALLS, ZIMBABWE
Kenya’s team captain Alfred Nandwa produced two birdies and an eagle but against three bogeys to sign for one under par 71 which steered his team to fourth place as the battle for supremacy in Africa’s amateur golf got underway at the par 72 Elephant Hills Golf Resort course here Tuesday.
It was a good start for the former Njoro Country Club captain, now attached to Railway Golf Club in Nairobi, as he picked up his first birdie at the par four third to turn to the back nine on minus one.
He then eagled the 531-metre par five-10th and birdied the 12th, although a poor approach at the 13th saw him drop his first shot of the day that was followed by a close miss for a par at the 16th and 18th to level the back nine.
“I was really firing until at the 13th hole, but I think this is a good start for me and the team,” said Nandwa as Edwin Mudanyi shot two over par 74 while John Karichu fired seven over par 79 for Kenya’s 224 that left them 13 shots behind defending champions South Africa and two behind Reunion Islands.
“We are just two shots off our target for today, and this event being a four rounds event, anything can happen,” said Kenya’s coach John Liefland.
Kenya’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Lucy Chelimo, who is in Victoria Falls to support the team, said she has high hopes for the Kenyan players.
SOUTH AFRICA DOMINATE
South Africa, who have dominated the Africa Amateur Golf Team Championship since 2001, carded four under par 68 through Gerrick Higgo and a perfect five under par 67 by Malcolm Mitchell addition to Matt Suealez’s 76 for a first round 211.
Higgo had a total of six birdies and an eagle with a double at the third, a single bogey at the sixth and the 13th spoiling the party for him, while Mitchell rolled in two birdies and an eagle at the front nine and two birdies and a bogey at the back nine.
Coming a surprise second was Egypt on 219 with a one under par 71 by Abu Issa El Ela, one over par 73 from Mageed Abd El Tawab and three over par posted by Fares Abd El Aziz. Reunion, whose golf has shown tremendous improvement over the past four years, posted a total of 222 which included a 69 by Alendare Lasalarie.
Hosts Zimbabwe were a shot behind Kenya on 225 in the 15-team tournament.