The stage is finally set for East Africa’s professional golfers as they converge at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course, for the first round of the 2018/2019 Safari Tour fifth leg from 8am.
At least 53 players including eight amateurs had listed their names for the draw at the time of writing with Kenya as expected having entered majority of the players. “We will be able to know how many players will play until all of them have signed the entry sheet to play,’’ said Vincent Wang’ombe, Kenya’s leading referee who is in charge of registration and scoring in the tour.
Only long-hitting Nuru Mollel had registered from Tanzania while those who entered from Uganda included Ronald Rugumayo from Toro Golf Club and Uganda Golf Club’s duo of Deo Akope and Richard Baguma.
Other Ugandans in the list were Brian Toolit, Philip Kasozi currently ranked 14th in the tour, and Dennis Anguyo.
The Ugandans and Tanzanians will have a chance of playing in the Kenya Open if they make the top eight at the end of the Tour series next month. The amateurs who will have to make the second round cut to proceed to the last two round include Vet Lab’s
Edwin Mudanyi, Mike Kisia, Muthaiga’s Kibugu Mutahi and Zubair Khan, Ruiru’s Chris Andrea, Akshay Chandaria of Windsor and Railway’s Samuel Njoroge who is the Kenya Amateur Strokeplay champion.
Leading the hunt for the pros top prize of Sh450,000 will be home player Greg Snow who has won three of the four legs played and a home victory will see him maintain the lead in the series.
To challenge him with be long-hitting Dismas Indiza of Mumias, first leg winner David Wakhu, Thika’s Simon Ngige, Erick Ooko from Royal Nairobi and Sigona’s Sujan Shah among others.
The prize in the fifth unlike the first four events, has gone up to Sh3 million because of the support the tour has received from Barclays Bank and East Africa Breweries who gave Sh1 million each. This means the winner at Muthaiga will take home more than the Sh150,000 which Greg Snow won in the three events he clinched.
Over 200 players including some of the pros meanwhile were at Muthaiga on Saturday for the pro-am which was still on at the time of writing and where home pro Jeff Kubwa was leading among the pros with two under par 38 points.