Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi ran away with the second leg of the Safari Tour with an impressive round of 67 to close the week at nine-under-par 279. A battle royale had been anticipated on the final day pitting Chinhoi and co-leader Samuel Njoroge-helped by elder brother C J Wangai- but the Railway Golf Club man faded into a distant second after a disappointing four over par 76. Hopes of a spirited comeback from Greg Snow did not materialize either, leaving the lad from Zimbabwe to go home Kshs 150,000 richer.
Starting the day tied at the top, Chinhoi and Njoroge did not disappoint in the opening exchanges as they went toe-to-toe till the 7th hole when Njoroge’s challenge started to crack with two successive bogeys on the par 3 eighth hole and par 4 ninth hole, a blunder that saw Chinhoi go two shots clear on the turn.
Smelling blood, Chinhoi picked another birdie on the 10th hole and stayed collected as Njoroge faltered further with a successive bogey and a double bogey on the 11th and 12th holes technically bringing the contest to an end. The Zimbabwean went on to birdie number 15, 17 and 18 for a decent 33 score on the back nine.
“I have really had a nice time here and getting my first win on Safari Tour is just awesome. I found the course very easy though a little bit tricky. If you miss the fairway, it can be disastrous. Admittedly I had a slow start with some errors of judgement but by the third round I had mastered the course,” said Chinhoi who debuted the Safari Tour last year and managed four runner up finishes.
Playing in only his second event as a professional, Njoroge was contented with a consecutive second place finish having emerged runner up at Limuru last week, blaming fatigue for his disappointing show on the final day. After staying under par for the opening three rounds, disaster struck when it was least welcome, fully obeying Murphy’s Law. “Honestly, I just collapsed and suddenly started playing some very weird shots. It could have been worse had I not managed to make some par saves on some holes. I have to work on my fitness to avoid such occurrences when playing at this level,” observed Njoroge, the former Kenya amateur champion.
Last week’s winner Greg Snow, who had a rough time adapting to the greens, played a level par 72 round today to settle for third position ending the week on +1.
Tournament Director Patrick Obath was elated with the players’ performance terming the scores posted at the Royal Nairobi Golf Club very encouraging. “The fact that one player managed to beat the -3 bonus threshold shows you the scores are really improving. Several players nearly made the under par score. The good players are getting better with every tournament,” said Obath.
Obath defended the decision to hold four events back-to-back over a period of four weeks saying it was the best way of making the Tour attractive to foreign players. “One of the objectives of launching the Safari Tour was to encourage competition between golfers in this region and the continent in general. We have designed the events in such a way that players can play in at least two events consecutively without travelling back home. We shall retain this approach even for the Uganda rounds,” Obath explained, responding to growing concerns of player-fatigue.
Amateurs Adel Balala and Mutahi Kibugu put up a good show to finish 12th and 20th respectively in the event which brought together 58 players.
With the conclusion of the second leg, the race for the “road to Magical Kenya Open 2021” is beginning to take shape. Snow is sitting pretty on top of the table, followed by Simon Ngige and Dismas Indiza. The top eight players on the order of merit will qualify for Magical Kenya Open. The points tally consists of 10 percent and 20 percent of scores from season one and two performance respectively, while season three will account for 70 percent of the final tally. The third leg of the Safari Tour will take place from 18th to 21st October at Vetlab.
Leaderboard after round 4
Robnson Chinhoi – 279
Samuel Njoroge – 288
Greg Snow – 289
Eric Ooko – 290
Simon Ngige – 292
Brian Njoroge – 293
Alfred Nandwa – 293
Mohit Mediratta – 293