Young Mohit Mediratta put in an assured performance in the three holes playoff, upstaging veteran Dismas Indiza by one hole to win his first tournament as a professional player as curtains came down today at the eighth leg of the Safari Tour at Muthaiga Golf Club.
In one of the most exciting finishes on the Tour in recent times, the winner had to be decided through a tiebreaker after the 26 year old Mediratta denied Indiza an outright win on the 18th hole, thanks to a dramatic eagle which cancelled Indiza’s birdie for a three under par gross tie.
Calm, swift and determined, Sigona Golf Club’s Mediratta got the better of Indiza on the par three 13th first playoff hole with a brilliant birdie to go one shot ahead in the tension packed proceedings. The two went on to par the two remaining playoff holes- 17th and 18th – for Mediratta to take home the Kshs 150,000 prize money on offer.
“I am so happy that the pressure is now off my back. I have been wondering when I will get my first silverware and this has really been troubling me. At last, I have a trophy for my cabinet,” said an elated Mediratta who turned pro almost four years ago.
Today’s battle, youth against experience, between Mediratta and Indiza was indeed epic. Starting the day one shot behind Indiza, Mediratta seized the leadership from Indiza after the first nine holes when he shot level par to better Indiza’s three over par 39. But the lead didn’t last long as Indiza gained two shots on the turn with an eagle on the par five 10th hole. Playing in the company of Zambia’s Dayne Moore, the two Kenyans played identical scores until the 18th hole when Mediratta delivered the sucker punch.
Playing aggressively, Mediratta missed the fairway off the tee, landing under the trees on the left, 200yards to the green. With Indiza having landed his second shot just off the green, Mediratta played a fantastic but risky shot landing less than five feet off the pin for a brave eagle to better Indiza’s birdie effort and force the match into a playoff.
“I don’t know how I pulled off that shot. I saw a very narrow gap and decided to try my luck since I knew it was my final opportunity to match Indiza. I am glad it worked. I have been very confident this week, putting well, driving well and some good iron play. This is what confidence can bring about,” said Mediratta who has been in a golf academy in South Africa for the last nine years.
A visibly exhausted Indiza has been struggling to keep up the pace at Muthaiga. After a slow start, Indiza shot a respectable six under par 65 on the second day to open a five shot lead. Though trying by all means to hang on to the lead, the last two days have seen fatigue take its toll on the 52 year old allowing the chasing pack to catch up with him. He went home Kshs 100,000 richer and has a 10 days break to recharge his batteries ahead of the final Safari Tour showdown at Karen Club.
Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi dislodged Moore from the podium after a blistering five under par 66 round- the best today- propelled him to the third place for a cool Kshs 80,000. Chinhoi scorched the front nine sinking four birdies for a decent four under par 32 on the turn before picking two back to back birdies on the 17th and 18th holes. The podium finish cemented his top spot in the foreign pros “Road to Magical Kenya Open” race.
Debutant Moore enjoyed a smooth introduction to the Safari Tour walking home with Kshs 75,000 after finishing fourth. Moore has been steady all week, permanently featuring in the top three on the leaderboard and he is for sure a player to watch on the Safari Tour.
With only one round remaining, the race for the eight Magical Kenya slots for the locals is far from over. For their consistency, the two front runners Indiza and Greg Snow are all but assured of their places while the race for the remaining six slots pits the likes of Simon Ngige, David Wakhu, Erick Ooko, CJ Wangai, Jastas Madoya, Edwin Mudanyi, Samuel Njoroge and Tony Omuli.
LEADERBOARD DAY 4
1 Mohit Mediratta -3
2 Dismas Indiza -3
3 Robson Chinhoi -2
4 Dayne Moore -1
5 Simon Ngige 2
6 Greg Snow 3
6 Tony Omuli 3
8 Nyasha Muyambo 4
8 C J Wangai 4
10 Andrew Odoh 5