John Wangai shot an impressive 69 today to take a commanding lead during the opening round of the second edition of the Safari Tour 2020 season at Royal Nairobi Golf Club. After a slow start that saw him bogey the first hole, Wangai regained composure to post back to back birdies on the par 5 second hole and par 4 third. The Sigona professional’s aggressive play saw him sink one more birdie on the par 5 number seven to wrap up the front nine with a decent score of 34. Wangai maintained the tempo on the second nine sinking two more birdies on the 10th and 14th to close the day at -3.
“Generally, I am very happy with my game today. Though I struggled a bit off the tee, my putting was spot-on. I would have returned a better score if I was steady off the tee but this is a minor problem which I believe I have already fixed after spending some time on the range after today’s round,” an elated Wangai observed.
It was a test of wits as the players struggled to adapt to the long-running Royal course. Only four players out of a field of 60 managed to play under par citing slow greens and relatively dry fairways. An assertion that Wangai disproves: “The course is in very good shape and offers a different kind of challenge. Though not so fast, the greens are very receptive and holding quite well. This course calls for extremely high accuracy off the tee; if you go off the fairway the ball will definitely run so deep in to the rough.”
Overall, four players Wangai, Kopan Timbe, Robson Chinhoi and Alloys Nsabimana played under par while four players led by Muthaiga Golf Club top amateur Mutahi Kibugu played level par. The average scoring for day one was 76.
Last week’s winner Greg Snow had an uncharacteristic slow start playing a costly triple bogey on the first hole but this was soon to be erased by an eagle on the par five second hole before sinking two birdies on the par 4 fourth and par 3 sixth hole for a respectable 35. But the back nine would prove a challenge blighted by one double bogey and two bogeys for Snow to finish the side two over gross.
Dismas Indiza’s hopes of bouncing back after a disastrous outing at Limuru hang by the tread after he could only manage 76. Starting seven shots behind the leader tomorrow will be quite a tall order for the veteran. “I cannot complain much about today’s performance. I feel much better than the opening week, but my putting is still not good. I was thrown off balance a bit with the triple bogey on the par 5 number seven so tomorrow I have to be more aggressive to bounce back,” said Indiza, who shot disastrous 41 on the front nine before steadying the ship with -1 performance on the back nine.
Action continues tomorrow.
Safari Tour – Royal Nairobi Golf Club Leader Board
C. J. Wangai – 69
Kopan Timbe – 70
Robson Chinhoi – 71
Alloys Nsabimana – 71
Simon Ngige – 72
Hesbon Kutwa – 72
Mutahi Kibugu (AM) – 72
Samuel Njoroge – 72
Ooko Erick Obura – 72
Robinson Owiti – 73
Paul Chidale – 73
Alfred Nandwa – 73
Greg Snow – 73
Opati David – 73
|C. J. Wangai||-||4||4||5||4||5||4||4||3||5||4||3||4||4||6||3||3||3||4|
|Edwin Inana Asuza||-||4||4||3||5||5||3||6||4||5||3||3||5||3||5||5||3||4||0|
|George Filex Khalakai||-||4||5||5||4||5||4||5||3||3||4||3||6||4||6||8||3||5||5|
|Isaac Makokha (AM)||-||5||4||6||5||7||4||5||3||5||4||3||7||4||6||5||3||5||5|
|John Karichu Mathiaka||-||3||4||5||5||6||3||5||3||4||4||3||6||5||7||4||2||4||4|