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Safari Tour: Players struggle at the tough Great Rift course

  • January 14, 2021
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It was a tough day in office as players struggled to master the tight and long playing Great Rift Valley course on the second day of the Safari Tour sixth leg. On a hot and windy day, only two players shot under par with the rest of the field recording an average score of six over par 77.

This saw overnight leader Justus Madoya cling on to the top position despite carding one over par 72 today to wrap the proceedings on three under par 139. “The course was playing so tough today. The strong winds coupled with extremely fast greens was just a nightmare. And my putter deserted me completely today,” said Madoya who now enjoys a healthy six shot-lead. For the day’s toil, Madoya was rewarded with five birdies which were sadly cancelled out by six bogeys.

Reading from a different script, Simon Ngige had a sterling round carding three under par 69 to move up the leaderboard closing the day in T2 position alongside amateur player Adel Balala. Joining Ngige on the brighter side of things was Eric Ooko who’s one under par 70 score propelled him in to the top 10 for a T5 finish.

Simon Ngige

The foreign pros led by the Uganda legion remained in the hunt, holding on tightly to their places in the top 10. Abbey Bagalana remains second on the log after returning three over par 74, one shot ahead of countryman Deo Akope. The duo are joined by Aloys Nsabimana in the top 10.

It was atypical outing for danger-man Robson Chinhoi after the Zimbabwean shot 11 over par 82 to drop to T18. Starting the day in the third position, Chinhoi had been expected to push the overnight leaders all the way but this was not to be. Despite enjoying a rich vein of form, it will take a miracle for the soft-spoken Zimbabwean to clinch the title, granted that he now lies 14 shots behind the leader. “I am playing through a lot of pain after I injured my hand early this week. This has forced me to rely so much on the driver for distance since I can’t get good distance with the fairway woods and irons. I am optimistic that if I improve on my driving, I shall be able to recover,” Chinhoi said.   

Robson Chinhoi

But the biggest casualty of the opening rounds is no doubt the fast-rising Samuel Njoroge who inexplicably failed to make the +13 cut. Since turning pro in September last year, Njoro has exhibited consistency registering a couple of podium finishes in the season’s opening rounds.  In fact, he garnered the highest number of points in the five opening rounds of the season. “I have had a terrible experience over the last two days. Nothing has worked for me! Perhaps I should blame it on overconfidence. I will definitely bounce back in the next round,” Njoroge summed up after shooting 80 and 76.

After today’s big chop, 25 players remain in contention for the Kshs 1 million prize money.

LEADERBOARD

J. Madoya           -3

S. Ngige                                +3

A. Balala (AM)   +3

A. Bagalana          +3

G. Snow               +4

D. Wakhu            +5

E.Ooko                 +5

D. Akope              +6

J. Okello               +6

A. Nsabimana    +7

E. Mudanyi         +7


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