Muthaiga Golf Club's Kellie Gachaga managed to overcome an awful start to eventually claim the overall gross title in the 2018 Kenya Junior Strokeplay Golf Championship at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course on Thursday.
Playing her last event as a junior and before she goes away to the USA for higher education, the handicap three Gachaga picked up a triple bogey seven at the par four-first hole and a double at the short hole-second and the sixth, but managed to par six holes and a birdie at the ninth for a final round 78 and a total of 306 gross.
"I was capable of shooting under par today and even over the other rounds, save for some poor putting and bad second or approaching shots. I am going to work on my shot game with my coach in the USA to make sure that I am able to shoot below 70," said Gachaga, who bogeyed the 12th and 16th though she wound up the day with a birdie at the 18th, to beat gross winner Windsor's Akshay Chandaria by two shots.
Chandaria, who started with 81 in the first round, shot his second 76 for a total of 308 gross. Defending champion Mutahi Kibugu, who was also playing his last event as junior, finished second on 309 gross after a 78 in the final round.
"I think I was tired after all the golf I played over the past few weeks," said Kibugu. Another Muthaiga player Zubair Khan was third in that category with a score of 310 gross.
The overall nett title went to Nyali Golf and Country Club's Andrew Wahome - who shot some amazing rounds of 67, 67, 66 and 72 for a total of 272 nett. In the 14 to 15 years category, Windsor's Taimur Malik fired gross 309 to beat Muthaiga's Njoroge Kibugu by three shots while Akil Burhanuddin of Arusha Gymkhana in Tanzania was third on 343 gross.
Winning the 13 years and under category was Celina Patel of Sigona Golf Club with a score of gross 371, well ahead of Mukundi Muthusi of Muthaiga who carded 380 gross, just a shot better than Alyssa Jamal of Nyali.
The trophy for the youngest player of the tournament went to 10-year-old Junaid Manji of Muthaiga who posted a total of 423 gross. A total of 51 players participated in the championship which is also a World Amateur Ranking event.
Speaking during the prize giving ceremony attended by Kenya Ladies Golf Union chair Lucy Muhinga, the Junior Golf Foundation president Gitonga Kabera thanked Crown Paints for its continued support of the event.
He said JGF will soon revive the events for non handicapped golfers in order to encourage more boys and girls to take up the sport. The next national event will be the Junior matchplay at Sigona from August 14-17 while the Limuru Open will take place on August 20 and 21.