The stage is set for a nail-biting finish tomorrow as the Safari Tour seventh leg comes to a close at the Par 71 Nyali Golf Club.
After a largely uneventful third round that saw the whole field register uncharacteristically high scores, the leaderboard remained unchanged save for Simon Ngige regaining the top spot, thanks to an off-color display by day two leader David Wakhu.
Playing from the front tees, the pros failed to manage the challenge posed by an unfamiliar short course. Only one player managed to play par with the day’s average score standing at 75. “Honestly we were totally disoriented. You know we are accustomed to playing from the blue tees, so playing from white tees or sometimes red tees was a very unfamiliar territory for us,” said Ngige who shot one over par 72 to remain the only player under par closing the day one under par for the three rounds.
Three bogeys in the opening 10 holes almost ruined his day but the Thika Club pro recovered well to birdie the par four hole number 12 and par 3 15th to ensure he goes into the final round firmly in the driver’s seat. “I started very slowly today and that almost cost me. My biggest undoing today was poor approach shots which meant I had to be very sharp on the putter. It feels great going into the final round ahead of everyone. I know it will be a nervy moment but I will stick to my game plan,” said Ngige.
Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi will be hoping to maintain the steady ascent he’s enjoyed over the last three days as he seeks to erase Ngige’s one stroke advantage tomorrow. A quiet level par round today saw him move one place up to the second position. A promising birdie start on hole number one was evened out by a bogey on number four for a level par finish on the front nine. The scenario was replicated on the back nine where Chinhoi picked two birdies before dropping to shots at the close.
David Wakhu wrapped up the podium positions after a costly six over par 77 round saw him surrender the day 2 leadership he had worked so hard to claim. A birdie-free round was further stained by six bogeys to hand him the daunting task of chasing the game from four shots back. “I bizarrely shanked my tee shot on the first hole. This actually shattered my confidence a bit. This, coupled with the slow pace of play and erratic putting got the better of me today. I am glad though, I still have a chance to go for the title tomorrow,” said Wakhu.
The biggest gainer after today’s round was home player Matthew Wahome who moved three places up the leaderboard to T7 two places ahead of Muthaiga’s Nelson Mudanyi who’s two over par 73 score saw him return to the top 10. Dropping out of the top 10 today were Eric Ooko, Sullivan Muthugia and Kopan Timbe.
DAY THREE LEADERBOARD
1 Simon Ngige -1
2 Robson Chinhoi Par
3 David Wakhu +3
4 Greg Snow +5
5 Dismas Indiza +7
6 Michael Madahana +8
T7 Mathew Wahome +9
T7 Jastas Madoya +9
9 Nelson Mudanyi +10
10 Aloys Nsabimana +11