The long-hitting Dismas Indiza made an early move to the top of the leaderboard at the par 72 Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa course as the inaugural Pam Golding Safari Open got under way on Wednesday.
The Mumias-based Indiza, one of the popular professionals in East Africa, rolled in a total of six birdies in the first round of the Sh1 million event though three bogeys all coming in the first nine almost ruined his chances of an under par score.
He made his first birdie at the second, but dropped a shot soon after at the third before recovering it at the fifth. Just like during the Uganda Open, Indiza bogeyed the seventh though this time round, he made a birdie at the eighth to cross to the back nine on level par.
It was at the back nine where he managed to pick up himself and sank in birdies at the 10th, 12th, 15th and 17th for his solid four under par 68 that gave him a one shot lead from compatriot Edwin Mudanyi who had set the pace with a three under par 69 before the emergence of Indiza.
Mudanyi, who is attached to Vet Lab Sports Club, birdied the sixth and the eighth at the opening nine, then pushed his driver to the right at the 16th where he had to lay up, missed the par, to drop his only shot of the day though his consolation was a birdie at the home green, to close the day on three under par 69.
“The condition of the course is just the same though the greens appeared to have improved a bit after the Uganda Open," said Mudanyi, who was among the six players who posted under par scores in the first round.
The six included Sigona’s Sujan Shah, who shot two under par 70 despite picking up a late double bogey seven at the 17th hole. He had earlier birdied the first, fourth, eighth and the 15th holes.
Uganda’s Abbey Bagalana and Henry Lujja carded one under par 71 each to tie for fourth place with Kenya’s David Wakhu who birdied the fifth, 10th and 18th with two bogeys at the 12th and 14th.
At least 22 players were on two over par 74 and better at the close of the day with six players bunched on 74 and five others on one over par 73 while an equal number had posted level par 72 for the day.
A total of 53 pros turned up for the event which is part of the Kenya based Safari Tour, and being sponsored by Pam Golding Properties, Lake Victoria Serena and a host of other sponsors.