Royal Nairobi Golf Club Lady Captain Sarah Hoare led her all-ladies team to clinch the top spot during the eighth leg of the Dasani Golf Gala series at the par 72 Royal course at the weekend.
At the Thika Sports Club, a fairly new golfer, Kim Nderitu, playing off handicap 28, posted an amazing 44 points to beat a huge field of 239 players to win the NIC Bank tournament.
At Royal, Hoare - handicap 10 - posted the team’s best score of 38 points for a total of 107 points to beat Jessica Kang’s team on countback. Of the team total, Lucy Awiti posted 35 while former ladies amateur champion Florence Maina contributed 34 points.
Anne Marie Vellecop with 30 points was the weakest link.“This is a special moment for women golfers in the country. We have shown that we can also tackle the greens as well if not better than the men,” Hoare said.
The handicap 23 Jessica Kang anchored her second-placed team with a score of 37 points, one better than Wanja Kimani while Gathigia Gatere added 34.
The fourth player, Kim S. Yoon, the only man in the team, managed 26 points. Three teams qualified. The team of Abner Onsomu, Mugambi Murwithania, Josiah Kogo and Ben Handa finished third with a total of 104.
In the individual category Michele Muhanda playing off handicap 18 was the best guest with 35 points.
Coca-Cola General Manager East Africa, Peter Njonjo, said: “Unlike previous editions of the gala, this year we are giving the winners of the grand finale at Karen on September 29, a different experience; a trip to Dubai to watch the Race-to-Dubai grand finale.”
Njonjo said besides watching the world’s top professionals battle it out, the winners will also have the opportunity of playing at some of the best golf courses in the region. Action now heads to Nakuru in the Central Rift Valley this weekend for the ninth leg.
In Thika, Nderitu said the round was the best in his career. David Matano, a single figure handicap golfer, fired 41 points to beat Harris Maina on countback. Anne Mukiri was the best lady with 40, while Tim Gitonga carded 34 points to lead the NIC Bank staff.
Following his victory, Nderitu had his handicap “chopped” down by four strokes to handicap-24. He began his round steadily, posting a bogey on the opening par-five and par of the short par-four second. He went on to post pars on the fourth and ninth holes, closing the first nine holes with a massive 24 points.
On the back nine, Nderitu ran into trouble on the long, dog-leg left par-five 10th, posting a horrendous triple-bogey, but he quickly recovered from that, strung together four bogeys and pars on the 15th and 16th to finish with 20 points for a total of 44 points. “It was a great day, the golf course was in excellent condition and my swing was on song,” Nderitu said.
NIC Bank Group Managing Director James Macharia said he was impressed by the huge turn out. “We have been sponsoring golf on a regular basis across the country, but we have never seen such a huge turn out of golfers; we are truly honoured,” he said.