- Royal golfer fights off Kaguamba’s challenge to win Safaricom tournament at Vipingo Ridge course
Former international Jay Sandhu weathered a tough and windy yet pristine Vipingo Ridge’s Baobab Golf Course on Saturday to win this year’s Safaricom Business Golf Challenge.
The 31-year-old Royal Golf Club player shot three-over par 76 round of 33 Stableford points to prevail, beating Karen’s Paul Kaguamba who is also a Sigona player by a point.
Windsor’s Butsarawan Phintham finished two points off the pace in the grand finale that brought together 124 players, including 36 from 18 qualifying events that started August last year.
Playing under strong winds, Sandhu, who is also a former Kenya Amateur Strokeplay champion, embraced a rather lukewarm first nine where he dropped three shots for three-over par 39 of 15 points before stabilising to roll out two birdies and clear his back nine on level par 36 of 18 points.
Sandhu drops a point
Sandhu dropped a shot on the opening hole before steadying to roll out four successive pars. He would then blow away two shots when he strayed twice into the bush on the tricky dog leg right and then left to scratch the par-five sixth hole. He later cleared the last three holes on front nine with level pars.
Sandhi bogeyed par-fours 10th and 13th but recovered both shots when he two putted par-five 15th and rolled a single 15-feet birdie putt on par-four last hole. Hole sixth also troubled most players, including Kaguamba, who also dropped two shots on the hole besides four other bogeys for his first nine of 14 points. He returned 18 points on inward.
“This is one of the few magnificent championship courses I have been to. The winds make every hole tricky and any bad shot lands you in trouble,” said Sandhu, who represented Kenya at last year’s Africa Zone Six Championship at Nyali.
Sandhu, who also won the longest drive with 275 metres on his birdie- 18th, collected a symbolic Green Jacket in addition to a glamorous trophy and the latest IPad 2 from Safaricom chairman, Nicholas Nganga. Kaguamba received a Galaxy Tab and a trophy while Phintham won a trophy and HP Pavilion Laptop.
Nyali players ruled the roast to scoop the top four prizes in the guest category. Kim Lanxe reigned supreme with 36 points followed by G. K. Muthoma 34, S. M. Kamau 32 c/b Joyce Lanxe and Eric Nyongesa (Mombasa). Joyce Lanxe also won the Ladies’ longest drive award (186m) while the nines went to Victor Kyalo (18 points) and L. Njue (19).
Sandhu and Lanxe’s caddies also won mobile phones. The staff prize went to Tony Tugee (24 points), the nearest-to-pin award to Jane Githire while the best effort came from Dennis Kabutha with 13 points.
Elsewhere, James Muteithia amassed 41 stableford points, beating 100 seasoned golfers to win the Mustek East Africa golf tournament at the Sigona Golf club. Muteithia, playing off 14, posted rounds 18 and 23 on outward and inward to see of Gideon Mugunyu (23) on 38 c/b Gideon Mugunyu.
Deep shah won first nine award with 23 while Michael Hughs went for second nine on 20 points.