Home pro Erick Ooko Tuesday made a steady move to finally tie at the top of the leaderboard with round two leader Simon Ngige, going into Wednesday’s final round of the Kenya Open Golf Limited organised Safari Tour series at the par 72 Royal Nairobi Golf Course.
Ooko made birdies on the second, fifth and seventh at the front nine where he also dropped two shots at the sixth and ninth after missing the greens on his second shots.
However, he managed to recover the two shots with birdies at the 15th and 18th for a three under par 69, the day’s best score which saw him move to the top with a 54-hole total of two under par 214 to tie with Ngige who posted two over par 74 to also wind up on 214.
"Today I was just focusing on my game because I made a lot of mistakes during the second round, so I tried to avoid that though my putting was also good," said Ooko.
On his part, Simon Ngige made a double bogey on the par-three 13th, having also dropped a number of shots elsewhere. From there, it was tough going for him though he was lucky to share the lead with the hot-charging Ooko.
It was not also a good outing for Golf Park’s David Wakhu and Sigona’s Mohit Mediratta. Both carded 77 each to tie for seventh place on 222 with among others, Riz Charania, and another Royal pro Kenneth Bollo.
But closing the day behind the two leaders, was Tony Omulli from Golf Park who carded level par 72 for a total of 219, while also making a move to fourth place was Mumias-based Dismas Indiza who fired one over par 73 for a total of 220, just a shot better than Ken Abuto of Royal and the only amateur to make the cut, Daniel Nduva of Nyali Golf and Country Club in Mombasa.
Abuto carded one over par 73 while Nduva who bogeyed a number of holes eventually ended on 75 for an all rounds total of 221. A total of 21 players made the second round cut, from the field of 46 players including six Ugandans and a player each from Tanzania and Rwanda.
Besides cash prizes for the pros, some points towards the “Road to the Magical Kenya Open 2020’’ are at stake in each of the Safari Tour series events which now includes three in Uganda. Like last year’s series, the 2019/20 series is also being sponsored by Magical Kenya and the Absa Group formerly Barclays Bank.
From Royal Nairobi, the Safari Tour will return to Uganda, for the Entebbe Open at the Entebbe Golf Club course from October 30 before the series comes back home for the fifth leg at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort Naivasha from November 23 to 27.
The leader board at the close of round three at Royal:
214 Erick Ooko 69, 76, 69
214 Simon Ngige 69, 71, 74
219 Tony Omuli 78, 69, 72
220 Dismas Indiza 74, 73, 73
221 Ken Abuto 74, 74, 73
221Daniel Nduva (Am) 74, 72, 75
222 Riz Charania 76, 73, 73
222Ken Bollo 74, 75, 73
222 Mohit Mediratta 70, 75, 77.