Golf Park’s David Wakhu fought a close battle with club-mate Eric Ooko and Vet Lab’s Edwin Mudanyi to clinch the fourth leg of the this year’s Safari Tour pro series at the par 72 Sigona Golf Club course Wednesday.
He fired one over par 73 despite missing several birdie chances, though his final score of one under par 287 was still three shots better than Mudanyi and Ooko who were joined in second place by Mumias’ Dismas Indiza on two over par 290.
Playing in the last team with Mudanyi and Ooko, Wakhu started well picking up a birdie at the first hole, but almost lost it after hitting three straight bogeys from the par three-fifth, though he closed the first nine with a birdie at the down-hilly ninth which kind of revived his quest for a first victory since Nyali Golf and Country Club in 2019.
“I almost lost focus after the three bogeys in a row as I appeared to be focusing on the others as opposed to my game. It was however the birdie at the ninth which brought me back to the game’’ said Wakhu who set off for the back nine with a birdie at the 10th seven pars that gave him one over par 73, to beat both Mudanyi and Ooko by three shots.
“I hit the left side bunker at the fifth, and though I came out well, did not manage to save a par, though I must say my game is getting better after fixing my elbow, and I am now left to deal with my hill which has been giving problem. I am now more confidence and looking forward to playing well in the next event which is the Uganda Open though I am still looking for a sponsor,’’ said Wakhu who thanked Golf Park members and the club for the support they have given him over the four events.
“I dedicate this victory to Golf Park for the tremendous support’’.
It was, however, a tough final round for both Mudanyi and Ooko who both carded four over par 76 to tie for the second place with senior pro DismasIndiza who fired one over par 73 for an all rounds total of two over par 290.
“I had a very slow start as I was three over par in the first four holes though I made a birdie at the fifth, but hit two bogeys at the sixth and seventh largely because of my take off from the tee. I made a birdie at the ninth and 10th and I played well up to the 16th when everything suddenly went crazy. I am happy though because played better than Vet Lab, but I need to put little more effort in my game as I prepare for Uganda Open’’ said Mudanyi.
Ooko on the other hand blamed his poor finish on the back nine he missed many birdie opportunities, though he said his capable of finishing on under par in the next tournament.
“I am getting back to the game after this long wait because of the Corona thing, and I must thank our Golf Park members for giving us great support. I would also like to thank a Royal member Robert Keter for supporting me at Vet Lab. It made a whole world of difference to my performance’’ said Ooko who is also looking for a sponsor to play in Uganda.
He started with a bogey at the first hole, and dropped two more shots on the fifth, and seventh though he made birdies at the fourth, fifth and the ninth. He however lost it at the back nine where he bogeyed five holes with only two birdies at the 15th and the 18th where he missed a two by a foot for an easy birdie.
While Wakhu took home the top prize of KSh150,000 the three second placed players earned KSh85,000 each. A total of 24 players including three amateurs had made the second round cut where winning the amateur title back to back was Nyali’s Adel Balala on 12 over par 300 after a 78 in the closing round.
The final leaderboard
David Wakhu 69, 74, 71, 73= 287
DismasIndiza 74, 69, 74, 73= 290
Eric Ooko 73, 71, 70, 76= 290
Edwin Mudanyi 70, 72, 72, 76= 290
John Wangai 73, 74, 74, 71= 292
Justus Madoya 70, 75, 73, 74= 292
Samuel Njoroge 71, 72, 75, 74= 292
Simon Ngige 73, 73, 72, 75= 293
Brian Njoroge 73, 71, 73, 76= 293