That the Safari Tour has proved a tough nut to crack for Ugandan pros is no secret. Now in its fourth season, it remains a mystery why no Ugandan has managed to clinch a podium finish, leave alone winning the title.
Ugandan pros have been perennial participants on the Tour registering an average of six players per event. Among the permanent fixtures on the Tour start list include Deo Akope, Philip Kasozi, Abbey Bagalana and Ronald Rugumayo. Interestingly, the smaller contingent from Zimbabwe made up of close to three players has enjoyed more success on the Tour than the Ugandans.
The scenario may change tomorrow if Akope holds his nerves and clinches the Nyali title in tomorrow’s final round. Akope shot an impressive three under par 68 to take control of the proceedings for the first time ensuring he goes into tomorrow’s final round in charge of his destiny. It was the second time that the Ugandan posted the best score this week after an identical 68 yesterday, an indication that he means business this time round.
“I am very happy to be in such a strong position as I chase the honour of being the first Ugandan to win on Tour. I however won’t go out so aggressively tomorrow as I know this course can really punish erratic play, “said Akope who had a strong start with an eagle on the opening par-5 and dropped only one shot all day.
While Akope will be scheming all night long, joint leader Simon Ngige will have a lot of scenarios playing on his mind. Just what should Ngige do to win it? The Thika pro has been full of promise but fails to deliver at the final hurdle. Ngige has notched most podium finishes on Tour but is still devoid of a win in recent times. It is not uncommon to see Ngige on top of the leaderboard after three rounds as happened last year at Nyali when he collapsed on the final day when the title was his for the taking. Buoyed by today’s one under par round, his second this week, Ngige will have to deploy his full arsenal tomorrow to shed the near-man tag.
Lurking dangerously in joint third on level par are veterans David Wakhu and Dismas Indiza. Wakhu fought his way into contention after shooting a superb three under par 68 to enhance his chances of clinching a back-to-back double following his triumph last week at Great Rift. Indiza is expected to go out aggressively tomorrow in search of his first victory this season. This is the first time that Indiza has failed to clinch a podium finish in three consecutive events after being locked out of the top 10 in Sigona and Vetlab and only managed seventh place at Great Rift.
All is not lost though for Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi who endured a rough time today with an energy-sapping four over-par 75 a result that saw him drop five places to sixth position. Known for his final day dare-devil play, the four stroke deficit is well within reach for Chinhoi who has four titles under his belt so far.
Mutahi Kibugu continues to dream big after he shot two under 69 today to stay only three shots behind in fifth and will be leading the middle of the pack team comprising of three foreigners Aloys Nsabimana, Tranos Muradzikwa and Visitor Mapwanya in pushing for a decent finish up the table.
Four players managed under par rounds today the best score being three under par 68 by Akope and Wakhu while the highest score was six over par 77.
LEADERBOARD DAY 4
D. Akope -2
S. Ngige -2
D. Wakhu Par
D. Indiza Par
M. Kibugu +1
R. Chinhoi +2
A. Nsabimana +3
T. Muradzikwa +3
V. Mapwanya +3
E. Ooko +4