Golf Park's Tony Omuli on Wednesday beat home pro Erick Ooko in the third hole of a play-off, to clinch his maiden victory in day four of the third leg of the 2019/2020 Safari Tour golf series at the par 72 Royal Nairobi Golf Club course.
The two pros went into a play-off after tying at the top with a four-rounds total of three over par 291 with Ooko - who had shared the round three lead with Simon Ngige of Thika - having shot a poor five over par 77 in the final round where Omuli carded level par 72 to also finish on 291.
In the play-off, the duo halved the 10th with pars, then both drove to the left side trees at the 11th hole. Both came out well though Ooko hit a low shot which went over the green for him to pick up a bogey against Omuli's par.
At the 18th, Ooko missed the green on regulation after hitting a tree on the right, chipped well onto the green on three, but missed the par, for Omuli to claim the title.
During the regulation play, Omuli dropped two shots at the seventh and ninth having started well with two back to back birdies. At the back nine, he birdied the 15th but dropped a shot at the 16th to level the course. Ooko bogeyed four holes at the first nine and two at the back nine.
"I am so excited at winning my first tournament since I turned professional. It has been a long struggle though after making cut in the first leg at Nyali and in the Uganda Open, I knew victory was on the way," Omuli said.
"It feels so great though I did not start the tournament well after hitting a 78 but I have learned that, it is not how you start but how you finish. My biggest advantage was on the short game, chip and putt and I will continue working on it," added Omuli, who said he is planning to play in the fourth leg, the Entebbe Open in Uganda at the end of the month, then travel to Lilongwe for the Malawi Open.
Ooko blamed his driver particularly in the final round where he said he was hooking as opposed to his usual draws. "I did not play well at all today particularly off the tee though I am happy after finishing second," said Ooko.
The two were just a shot better than Sigona's Mohit Mediratta, who shot two under par 70 in the final round for a total of four over par 292. In his final round, Mediratta made five birdies but he also dropped three shots.
Thika Sports Club's Simon Ngige, who shared the first and third rounds lead, did not play well in the final round where he shot 78 to tie with Mohit Mediratta on 292. Omuli took home Sh105,000 while Ooko won himself Sh70,000.
A total of 21 players out of an early entry of 46 players, made the second round cut in the event sponsored by Magical Kenya and Absa Group, formerly Barclays Bank, which are also the two top sponsors in the 2020 Magical Kenya Open set for March 12 to 15 at Karen Country Club.
The final leaderboard:
Tony Omuli 78, 69, 72, 72 - 291 *
Erick Ooko 69, 76, 69, 77 - 291
Mohit Mediratta 70, 75, 77, 70 - 292
Simon Ngige 69, 71, 74, 78 - 292
Njuguna Ngugi 76, 71, 76, 70 - 293
Rizwan Charania 76, 73, 73, 71 - 293
Dismas Indiza 74, 73, 73, 73 - 293
Jeff Kubwa 72, 75, 76, 71 - 294
Ken Abuto 74, 74, 73, 74 - 295