In a dramatic, thrilling and tension packed golfing affair, Entebbe based golfer, Willy Deus Kitata, handicap + 3 won the 2014 Tusker Malt Uganda Open golf championship at the par 71 Kitante course on Saturday.
Kitata, fresh from a European tour (where he played several competitions) achieved the feat he has always been dreaming of since 2011 after overcoming Toro’s Adolf Muhumuza after a sudden death victory on hole 12.
“I am so happy for this victory. It is a dream come true”, a visibly excited Kitata remarked in his victory speech at the 18th hole green of the Uganda Golf Club at Kitante in Kampala.
Kitata’s victory followed years of near misses especially in 2012, where he lost to Phillip Kasozi and 2013’s moment of madness when Peter Ssendaula won it in Entebbe.
How Kitata won it:
Right from the opening day of action, Kitata played the second fiddle game – trailing day one leader, Martin Ochaya by 5 strokes.
He steadily made amends on day two – posting 2 over par 73 gross alongside Toro star Adolf Muhumuza, falling narrowing the gap by 2 strokes.
By day 3, Muhumuza was ahead by 3 strokes (119 gross in 44 holes).
Coming into day 4, it was surely a two horse race as the two other players in the same pressure group – Phillip Kasozi and Peter Ssendawula were way behind the first two.
Succumbing to pressure and fatigue effects, Muhumuza fell 3 strokes behind Kitata but gallantly fought back as Kitata choked on holes 15, 16 and 17 and the Toro ace played level to catch up and force a play off.
The two national team players had returned the same scores (292 total gross) over the 72 holes action in 4 grueling days.
Even by the play -offs on holes 12, 17 and 18, the two golfers, who now commanded the biggest gallery were all square as the tension as well as excitement grew.
This called for the sudden death action on fairway 12. With visibly fatigued bodies, the 2 golfers teed off on 12.
Muhumuza lost a stroke as he drove a ball in a water trench while Kitata played it safe on the course and the rest as they say is history.
Kitata Casts Professional Golf Career on Ice:
The overall gross winner at the Uganda Open is automatically guaranteed a shot on the professional circuit – Kitata will have to wait a little longer.
“At the moment, i will just think about it. My sponsor advised i wait a little while to turn pro”, he elucidated.
In the professional event of the 72nd Uganda open, Ugandan Deo Akope had the widest and best smile, overcoming a strong field of 47 other pros who included the some of the finest golfers on the continent.
Akope, who returned 281 gross over 72 holes cashed the lion’s share of the $40,000 professionals’ purse, also winning his 3rd Uganda Open pro event.
Kenyan long hitting Dismas Ndiza scored 284 gross to take the runners up gong while towering Denis Anguyo returned 286 to finish third on the leader board.
Other notable top performers:
Golfer, Steven Katwiremu livened the 2014 edition with that eye catching hole in one performance on hole 4 during the subsidiary action of tournament.
He achieved this on hole 4 using 8 iron ball pinnacle as he was playing alongside Fabian Rwalinda, Kostic Nemanja and Patrick Mwaka.
Mehta club’s Edrine Okong returned the best nett scores (288) with Fred Nkurunya taking the first runners up position after posting 297 nett.
The longest drive contest was won by day one amateur winner, Martin Ochaya, who shot 401 yards on day three on hole 18.
The nearest to the pin was taken by the 2012 open winner, Phillip Kasozi. There were prizes for the each of the day’s gross winners.
Uganda Golf Open Championship 2014 Results:
Overall Gross Winner: Willy Kitata – 292 Gross (Wins by sudden death on hole 12)
Runners Up: Adolf Muhumuza – 292 gross
1st Runners up: Phillip Kasozi – 299 Gross
2nd Runners up: Peter Ssendaula – 304 Gross
3rd Runners up: Robert Oluba – 305 Gross
36 Holes Winner (Day 1 and 2):
Robert Happy – 152
36 Holes Winner (Day 3 and 4):
Gideon Kagyenzi – 150
Gross Winners Per Day:
Day 1: Martin Ochaya – 72 gross
Day 2: Gerald Kabuye – 75 gross
Day 3: Becca Mwanja – 74 gross
Day 4: Ronnie ‘Rasta’ Bukenya – 73 gross
Winner: Edrine Okong – 288 Nett
1st Runners up: Fred Nkuranya – 297 Nett
2nd Runners up: Taylor Koonce – 299 Nett
Longest Drive : Martin Ochaya (401 yards on hole 18 – day 3)
Nearest to the pin: Phillip Kasozi
Winner: Deo Akope – 281 gross
Runners up: Dismas Ndiza – 284 gross
1st Runners up: Dennis Anguyo – 286 gross