In form Kiambu player Michael Karanga coasted to the second successive victory in the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship, KAGC, after sealing two over par 144 in the two rounds competition at Nyeri Golf Club earlier today.
Fresh from victory a fortnight ago at Sigona, Karanga almost blew up his chance during today’s final round when he carded four over par 76, thanks to a careless three-putt on the final hole. A solid display during yesterday’s opening round which saw him enjoy a one stroke lead after playing two under par 70 guaranteed Karanga the narrow victory.
The leading pack of Karanga, Peter Rimui and John Lejirma did not disappoint today as they kept exchanging leadership, in the tense final round. In fact after 16 holes, the three players were all tied.
“I had a very good round yesterday and I was even four under par up to the 17th hole. I have had a very bad experience on the 9th and 18th holes in both rounds. I can’t believe that I won the championship after my erratic display on the final hole,” an elated Karanga said.
A strong final round rally by Peter Rimui which saw the Nanyuki player card one under par 71, the only under par score of the day, was not enough to dislodge Karanga. Rimui had a dismal four over par 76 round yesterday which kept him six shots behind the leader. Today’s strong finish was enough to earn him a podium place T2 alongside John Lejirma of Kenya Railways who failed to cash in on Karanga’s woes despite starting the day only one shot behind the leader. Like Karanga, Lejirma had a troubled closing round managing a measly four over par 76.
“Today I was very poor off the tee. The situation was compounded by the slow pace of play which really affected my concentration,” Lejirma lamented.
Today’s final round proved quite challenging for the elite amateur players especially after rains pounded Nyeri town last night. This, coupled with poorly maintained bunkers and tough pin positions proved a nightmare on the closing day.
The well attended 68th Mount Kenya Championship was the second event in the KAGC series which features 22 events.
Karanga now leads the Order of Merit with 150 points followed by Limuru’s Paul Muchangi who had a bad tournament at Nyeri where he finished tenth. Lejirma’s 33 points haul at Nyeri propelled him to third position a head of Rimui and Adel Balala who gave the Mount Kenya Championship a wide berth.
The series will be used to select players to Magical Kenya 2022. The final ranking will be based on points accumulated in a player’s best 10 rounds during the calendar year.
MT KENYA CHAMPIONSHIP LEADERBOARD
1 Michael Karanga 146
2 Peter Rimui 147
2 John Lejirma 147
4 G. Kariuki 148
4 Simon Njogu 148
6 Ebill Omollo 150
6 Simon Karari 150
8 Elly Barno 151
8 Michael Ngene 151
10 Paul Muchangi 152
10 Cyprian Bundi 152
10 Robert Odero 152