Royal Nairobi-based professional Erick Ooko fired a level par 71 gross, to take an early in the Safari Tour round one at the Nyali Golf and Country Club course on Sunday.
Ooko set off with a birdie at the par five-first, but dropped a shot soon after and stayed on level par up to the fifth where he went one under up to the eighth where he bogeyed to finish the front nine on level par.
The back nine was not as smooth either, as Ooko birdied the 11th and 17th both par fives to recover two bogeys on the 10th and 13th to come out on level par again.
This however gave him a two shots advantage over Muthaiga’s Ganeev Giddie and Riz Charania of Windsor while five others including home pro Njuguna Ngugi, Dismas Indiza, Greg Snow and James Karanja tied on three over par 74.
Finishing on four over 75 was Justus Madoya, David Odhiambo and Frank Matilo with Kopan Timbe and Hesbon Kutwa tying on 76 in 12th place.
The local amateurs, who are playing along with the pros, William Kaguta, long-hitting George Munyao, Temi Katembo and Adel Balala were 77 gross. The second round, which will determine the top 20 players, starts Monday.
CHARANIA WINS PRO-AM EVENT
Meanwhile, Windsor Golf hotel and Country Club pro Riz Charania shot level par 71 gross to steer his team of Said Bajaber, Justin Kaburu and Reaz Alibhai to one point victory the Safari Tour Pro-Am event at the Nyali Golf and Country Club course on Saturday.
The four posted a combined score of 82 stableford points, to finish ahead of Sigona-based pro John Wangai and his partners Lemmy Kaburu, Pauline Gachara, and William Kaguta who took the second prize.
Charania posted an individual score of level gross on what was a tough windy and rainy day at Nyali. Speaking after his round, Charania praised his team of amateurs for playing well. “I was lucky to be paired with a team of golfers who were fun to play with and who obviously know their golf course very well,” he said.
For his victory Charania took home Sh3 0,000 whilst his amateur team mates received golf prizes, while Wangai won Sh20,000, with Muthaiga’s Greg Snow taking home Sh10,000.
In the individual amateur category, Nyali’s Joyce Kamau emerged the overall winner after posting an impressive 41 points whilst Sanjay Kotecha was the top placed man with 40 points beating Martin Wahome on countback.
Truphena Oyaro was the best lady on 39 points and Teresia Odoo was second on 34 points. Odoo also claimed the longest drive prize for ladies whilst George Munyao won the longest drive contest for men. Mary Kandu was nearest to the Pin.
The Pros were still battling it out in the first round of the main event at the time of writing. At stake in the 72-hole event with a second round cut, will be a million shillings with the overall winner to take home Sh180, 000.
Nyali’s elite amateurs will join the professionals through the four rounds as part of the Safari Tour’s development program. These are Kelly Rob, William Kaguta, George Munyao, Temi Katembo and Adel Balala.