Ugandan Deo Akope clinched victory on the 18th hole after a tense duel against Simon Ngige to bag his first Safari Tour victory in an exciting final round at Nyali Golf Club. Akope who went into the final round fixture tied with Ngige played a conservative level par round to win the Tour fourth leg on two under par 282.
In a see-saw battle, Akope dropped a shot on the front nine as Ngige went top, one shot clear after carding level par at the interval. Ngige however lost the short-lived leadership after the 12th hole when he dropped a shot on the par-3 tenth hole and the worse was to follow immediately after the Thika pro signed off with a double bogey on the 12th to go one shot behind.
The Ugandan took the game by the scruff when a timely birdie on the par-3 fifteenth hole saw him open a two shot lead. The battle got juicier on the 16th hole when Akope dropped two shots to go level with Ngige, setting the stage for a tense two-hole shoot out.
Both players went for the jugular on the par-five seventeenth hole where each carded a birdie. And then came the crowning moment on the par-3 number 18 where a calm Akope rolled in a birdie putt after Ngige missed the green when he pulled his shot to the right and could only manage a bogey after chipping on and putting twice. .
“This is a big day for me. I have been in the game for a very long time and 90 percent of the players back at home look up to me. This achievement will definitely motivate many younger players in Uganda,” said an elated Akope.
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Ngige who surrendered the lead on the final day at the same venue last season to finish fourth.
Veteran Dismas Indiza finished joint second after today’s round of level par, his first podium finish this season in four attempts. Indiza started brightly and reduced the leaders advantage to one stroke in the opening whole. However, three dropped shots on number 2 and number 3 proved costly as the veteran’s one under par round on the back nine left him two shots behind Akope.
Although only one player- Eric Ooko- registered an under-par round today, a total of 12 under-par rounds were witnessed at Nyali during the week as nine players staked a claim at the Kshs 400,000 under-par kitty. For the second consecutive time, the winner will not receive a bonus after Akope’s -2 winning score failed to meet the -3 threshold.
The Tour will take a break following the unexpected cancellation of the Leisure Lodge leg which had been scheduled for 24th to 27th October 2021. “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are forced to cancel the event. We were very keen to keep the momentum going but are currently unable to organize the event to the level that our members are now accustomed to,” said Patrick Obath, Kenya Open Golf Limited Tournament Director.
Action will resume in December with the Uganda Open on the cards while four more events will be held in January and February 2022 ahead of the Magical Kenya Open.
LEADERBOARD DAY 4
D. Akope -2
S. Ngige Par
D. Indiza Par
E. Ooko +2
D. Wakhu +2
M. Kibugu +2
R. Chinhoi +5
T. Muradzikwa +5
A. Nsabimana +7
V. Mapwanya +8
R. Rugumayo +8
S. Njogu +8