IN KAMPALA, UGANDA
Stephen Ferreira got a reintroduction to East African golf after lifting his maiden title at the 12th edition of the Tusker Malt Uganda Professionals Open at Kitante on Saturday.
The Portuguese, a regular on the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) circuit, edged Kenya’s strong man Dismas Indiza by three strokes to lift his third title in 2017.
Starting the day six strokes behind, Indiza huffed and puffed to cut the deficit enroute to returning a hard-earned three-under-par 69 but it was still not enough as the Zimbabwe-based finished with little or if any to worry about.
“Uganda has been good to me and I am happy to win this title,” said Ferreira, moments after receiving his trophy from Uganda Golf Union President Johnson Omolo, Uganda Breweries Managing Director Mark Ongom Ocitti and Uganda Professional Golfers Association (UPGA) chairman Sam Ssejjaka in front of a packed par-72 Kitante course.
“It was a little difficult towards the end but the most important thing was to finish top,” said Ferreira, who finished overall on seven-under after four rounds, the best finish perhaps since the tournament's inception in 2006.
Indiza was justifiably not contented with his second place finish despite managing to play under in three of his four rounds. But the four-time winner says he was undone by his Day Three return of three-over-par 75.
“It is that round that put me off the rails,” said Indiza, champion here in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. Contrary, the 49-year-old, who led for the first two days, lost it when a more consistent Ferreira carded six-under-par 66 on Friday.
“I think that is the round that was most important,” noted Ferreira, who’s a regular at the Barclays Kenya Open - European Tour Challenge event.
FINAL DAY JITTERS
But his overnight six-shot lead was threatened on the final day when Indiza opened his account with birdies par-5 No.1 and par-3 No.4, as well as an eagle on par-5 No.5.
However, Ferreira showed his cool, lining up birdies on No.5, 8 and it is his eagle on par-5 No.13 that broke Indiza’s back even if he got a double-bogey after three-putting hole par-4 No.16 and a bogey on par-4 No.18.
Indiza’s runner-up place was equally threatened by Uganda's Brian Mwesigwa when the 2010 Amateur Open champion collected a birdie on par-4 No.15 to a rapturous applause to go a stroke behind the Kenyan in the overall standings.
But Mwesigwa would finish with a double-bogey, ending the tournament on level yet Indiza got four-under overall.
1 Stephen Ferreira (POR) 72 71 66 72 281
2 Dismas Indiza (KEN) 69 71 75 69 284
3 Brian Mwesigwa (UGA) 71 73 71 73 288
T4 David Wakhu (KEN) 74 71 75 69 289
T4 Fred Wanzala (UGA) 75 71 72 71 289
T6 Deo Akope (UGA) 69 77 73 71 290
T6 Joshua Seale (RSA) 76 73 69 72 290
T6 Anil Shah (KEN) 74 70 74 72 290
9 Simon Ngige (KEN) 74 74 73 70 291
T10 Rizwan Charania (KEN) 74 75 71 73 293
T10 Tongoona Charamba (ZIM) 75 70 73 75 293