Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya fought off a strong challenge from defending champion Dismas Indiza of Kenya and Zimbabwe’s Tongoona Charamba, to clinch the 2019 Uganda Open Golf title at the par 72 Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa course on Saturday.
A regular player in the Sunshine Tour, Muthiya who started the final round five shots ahead of the pack, did not play as he did in the third round, he missed a number of short putts but made an early birdie at the second hole, only to drop it soon after the third hole. He then missed two close putts at the sixth and seventh. He drove to the fairway bunker at the sixth while at the seventh hole, Muthiya fired to the green bunker. Despite chipping out well to about two feet, he missed the para par.
“Although I did not have any kind of pressure, I must say I was little bit unlucky and did not read the lines well in some holes, but all the same, I am so happy winning here, I love coming to Uganda because the people are very nice and friendly,’’ said Muthiya who is planning to get into the European Tour by going to the Tour school later this month. But before then, he would like to play a few events in the Sunshine tour and probably try his luck in the Asian Tour.
Going to the back nine just three shots ahead of his challengers, Muthiya assured himself of the title after picking up an eagle at the 13th and a birdie later at the 16th hole to close the final round on level par 72 and an all rounds total of nine under par 279, beating the Zimbabwean Charamba by four shots. The winning score was however short of last year’s 10 under by Dismas Indiza at the century-old Entebbe Golf Club course.
The winner Muthiya took home Sh1.1 million while Charamba won Sh773,000 with Indiza getting Sh322,000.
Charamba made two bogeys at the front nine with a five-inch birdie at the ninth in addition to another one at the 12th to also finish on level par 72 and a total of five under par 283. “I am just happy with my golf this week. I have not been playing serious tournaments, so finishing second in this event is an indication that I am still capable of doing better. I would like to try and get back to the Sunshine Tour and play a few events’’ said Charamba.
It was however not a good day for defending champion Indiza who had bounced back to the leaderboard after his record breaking 63 in the third round which appeared to have revived his chances of retaining the title. And he started well, picking up two early birdies at the first and second hole. He however three putted the seventh, then hit his seven-iron approach shot to the water at the eighth.
But it was the triple bogey six at the par three-11th and a bogey soon after which threw him out of the running as one over par 73 could only land him onto fourth position with three under par total of 285, just a shot behind Portugal’s Stephen Ferreira who shot one under par 71 for four under 284. Njoro Country Club’s Simon Ngige finished sixth on level par 288 after one under par 71 while Greg Snow fired six under 66, but it was an improvement coming rather late as he could only tie for the 10th on two over par 289.
279 Madalitso Muthiya(Zam) 72, 66, 69, 72
283 Tongoona Charamba(Zim) 70, 71, 70, 72
284 Stephen Ferreira (Port) 76, 69, 68, 71
285 Dismas Indiza(Ken) 73, 76, 63, 73
286 Nel Andre(SA) 76, 68, 73, 69
288 Simon Ngige (Ken) 74, 72, 71, 71
289 Riz Charania(Ken) 75, 67, 76, 71
289 Meyer Breyten(SA) 75, 67, 73, 74
289 Thato Mazibuko (SA) 68, 73, 74, 74
290 Greg Snow(Ken) 76, 73, 75, 66
290 Robson Chinhoi(Zim) 71, 73, 75, 71.