Few lessons with Royal-based pro Hesbon Kutwa, paid off for handicap 15 George Makori, who over the weekend, beat a field of 232 players, to emerge the overall winner of the fifth leg of the KCB Road to Karen Masters amateur golf series at Royal Nairobi Golf Club.
Makori, whose handicap was later chopped to 13, will now lead the last batch of qualifiers for the KCB Karen Masters pro-Am on June 26 at Karen.
“I had some few lessons with pro Hesbon Kutwa, and I am so happy it paid off today. Qualifying for the Masters is a dream come true’’ said Makori.
And he only needed seven pars and one birdie for 39 points, beating the single figure handicapper Robert Nyanchoga, who carded three over par 38 to take the men’s title.
“The greens were a bit difficult and the course playing long, but I guess we have to play the course as we find it,’’ said Nyanchoga who made birdies on the second, third, seventh and 13th with bogeys on the fifth, sixth, seventh and 17th, having started with a double at the par four-first hole.
He beat Bharat Gohil on countback while former captain Bernard Kiraithe was third on 37 points. The ladies title went to Jesica Kang with a score of 33 points, beating Nancy Ikinu on countback. Kang also took the nearest to pin.
Winning the two nines were John Henry Juma on 20 points, same as second nine winner Chrispine Mudhune who won the second nine.
In the guest category, Machakos Golf Club’s Muli Kavita carded 39 points to also book a place in the Karen Masters pro-am where, Makori, Nyanchoga, Kang and Kavita will be joined by staff winner Tomothy Kuria and Charles Machani, who was picked as a wild card. Kuria had carded 28 points to win the staff prize.
Meanwhile, Allan Oluoch and Nancy Ikinu won the longest drive contest in the leg which concluded the five-event series held at Sigona, Nyali, Nakuru and Thika.
Speaking during the prize giving ceremony, Timothy Kuria who is KCB Bank Kenya’s Head of Corporate Banking, lauded the golfers for the huge turnout.
“We are redefining golfing in Kenya by increasingly giving more opportunities to amateur and professional golfers across the country.
“We believe in growing sports talent for local and international competitions. It’s our way of using golf to promote sports tourism and as a result catalysing Kenya’s economic growth agenda’’ said Kuria.
Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) chairman Charan Thethy thanked KCB for including the pros in this year’s series saying the pros have benefitted a lot as they prepare for the Karen Masters.
“We have come along way with KCB, right from those days of the KCB Pro-Am tour which grew to eventually cover the East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda where the prize money went to up annually to eventually reach 14 million.
We are most grateful for this partnership and hopefully, it will continue to grow," said Thethy.
The amateur event followed the 54-hole pro event won by long hitter Dismas Indiza with a score of two under par 214 gross.