The bonus prize is no doubt the Holy Grail of members of Safari Tour, only achieved on two occasions out of more than 20 attempts. But the jinx may be broken tomorrow when co-leaders Samuel Njoroge and Zimbabwean Robinson Chinhoi go head-to-head in the last round of the second leg of the Safari Tour 2020 at Royal Nairobi Golf Club. The two went on top of the leaderboard after today’s penultimate round, shooting an identical three-under-par 69 to dislodge erstwhile leaders Greg Snow and Eric Ooko.
It was a drama-filled day as Chinhoi threatened to tear apart record books with scintillating play especially on the back nine where he shot 32. The Zimbabwean played four back-to-back birdies from hole number 15 to 18 to add to another string of three back-to-back birdies recorded on the front nine from number one to number three. Chinhoi’s fine run was only checked by a double bogey on the par 3 hole number six. “I made some poor calls on the front nine which almost cost me dearly. Dropping four shots on three consecutive holes almost got the better of me. I am happy I recovered fast enough,” Chinhoi observed.
Not to be outdone, Njoroge sunk two birdies on the front nine for a two under par 34 finish before navigating the back nine steadily on one under par 35 headlined with four birdies on the 10th, 13th, 14th and 15th holes. An uncharacteristic poor shot off the tee on number 12 saw his ball roll deep into the thick rough on the right side of the fairway for a double bogey. “It was a very good day for me, the mishap on number 12 notwithstanding. Though I am on top of the leaderboard, I plan to play aggressively tomorrow to surpass the -3 bonus cutoff mark,” said Njoroge.
Greg Snow’s efforts of extending the lead were dealt a big blow on the front nine when he returned a score of three over par 39 as two double bogeys on the par 4 hole number two and par 3 hole number threw him off balance.
The race for a podium finish remains tight with C.J Wangai placed third on level par while top amateur Mutahi Kibugi-itching for an upset, Snow and Ooko lie in wait hoping to benefit from any slip by the joint-leaders.
The average score in today’s penultimate round stood at 74 with Wangai and Simon Ngige the best performers moving three places up the leaderboard.
The winner will pocket Kshs 105,000 and 50 points for the Safari Tour league, which is used to select players to Magical Kenya Open. A bonus of Kshs 45,000 will also be paid out for an overall score of -3 or better.
Leaderboard after day 3
Samuel Njoroge – 212
Robson Chinhoi – 212
John Wangai – 216
Mutahi Kibugu – 217
Greg Snow – 217
Eric Ooko – 217
Simon Ngige – 218
Kopan Timbe – 220
Alloys Nsabimana – 222
Adel Balala – 222