IN KAMPALA, UGANDA
Hosts Uganda put up an excellent performance in the closing round singles, beating defending champions Kenya 7-3 for an all rounds total of 14 points to win the Victoria Cup, an annual rotational tournament between the two countries for the first time, at the par 72 Uganda Golf Club course on Saturday.
The Kenyans let the Ugandans go up right from the early stages of the round and save for William Odera who was unbeaten in all his matches, long hitter Daniel Nduva and the Great Rift Valley’s Simon Njogu who fought all the way to the end, the rest could not recover from the Ugandan fire supported by a big crowd.
“The players did not put up their best in the final round, as they allowed the Ugandans who appear to be very strong individually, to dominate the matches in the first nine. All the same, it’s a good lesson for me as a coach to try see how we can correct where we have some weaknesses," said Kenya coach John van Liefled.
The Kenyans needed only four points out of 10 points to halve with Uganda hence retain the trophy by virtual of being the defending champions. However, the last man on the course Robinson Owiti - who had not lost a match before the singles, fought a close battle with Uganda’s most experienced player and team captain Joseph Chinywaai.
The Ugandan at one time was four-up though Owiti fought his way to bring the scores to only two holes for Chinywaai who however chipped to about two feet at the 16th after missing the green on two, while Owiti who was at the apron for two, missed his putt to give the Ugandan a 2-1 victory, a crucial point for the hosts for the 14-12 score.
Earlier, Daniel Nduva had won 2-1 at the 17th against Ashraf Bagalana having been up by three holes earlier on. William Odera on the other hand took the lead early enough from the front nine to eventually beat the 6.2” tall Grace Kasango from Jinja Golf Club 4-3.
Kenya won the inaugural tournament at Muthaiga on Maradaka Day 2016, then beat Uganda in Entebbe in 2017 before completing a treble at Vet Lab Sports Club last year. “I am overwhelmed with this victory which we did not expect particularly after Kenya took the lead going into the final round. We had a young team but I must thank the team manager and his coach for really working hard with the boys to eventually deliver the cup for the first time," said Uganda Golf Union president Innocent Kihika, who also thanked all the sponsors for making it possible for the union to host the event.
The Kenya team returns back home on Sunday.