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Rugumayo is 2017 Uganda golf king

Ronald Rugumayo (middle) gets his first Uganda Golf Open trophy from UBL’s Marketing Director, Juliana Kagwa and UGU boss Opendi on Saturday.

New champion after tense Uganda Golf Open final day

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Ronald Rugumayo was the toast of Ugandan golf on Saturday after his come-from-behind victory in the country’s top tournament.

Ronald Otile played like the defending champion most of all four days of the Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Amateur Open, but he had no response to Rugumayo’s three birdies during the three-hole play-off.

The tournament only went into a play-off (decider) at the UGC Club Kitante, thanks to some stunning day 3 and 4 golf from Toro Club’s Rugumayo.

While all eyes were on Otile, Richard and Daniel Baguma, 25-year-old Rugumayo shot a perfect third round three-under par-69, to join the ‘high table’ for the final day. He had virtually sneaked in, having carded 80 and 78 on the first two days.

Going into the final day, the ‘pressure group’ had four golfers tied at 227 strokes – Otile, Rugumayo, Kenya’s Sam Njoroge and Roddell Gaita.

Otile and Rugumayo broke away to take the lead, both with 72 strokes ( total 299 strokes over 72 holes). The defending champion however had to sink a putt for a bogey from a long way, to stay in contention.

Despite this, the momentum Rugumayo had set could not be stopped, and three birdies on the play-off holes 12, 17 and 18 made the Toro golfer the 75th champion of Uganda’s top golf event. Otile found himself in trouble from the first play-off hole 12, managing a par, then birdie next, and when he ended in the bunker on the final hole, his fate was sealed.

On top of the champion’s prizes on Saturday, sponsors Tusker Malt have entered  Rugumayo into the prestigious Nyali Golf Open in Kenya next month – just the kind of stage that makes one think seriously about turning professional.

Action continues in the Uganda Open series in the next one week, with the Pro-Am and the professionals events.

VIDEO: The last hole action

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