After playing the qualifiers to narrow the field from 110 pairings to a required 64 on January 13, the Singleton Match Play Challenge first round seemed far.
Actually, when Entebbe Golf Club (EGC) captain Edwin Tumusiime read out the draw, there were smiles, verbal exchanges, chants and anxiety amongst the members at the lavish 19th hole.
And almost a month later, many pairings will have to walk their talk when the round of 64 tees-off at the par-71 course in Entebbe today.
To begin with, defending champions Isaac Mariera and John Muchiri will grab much attention when they face Geoffrey Byamugisha and Moses Sebugwawo.
With the former pair being more reserved, the pressure is on clubhouse darling Sebugwawo and teammate Byamugisha to raise the bar in this knock-out championship.
But the course battles are encrypted into some sort of friendly fire.
And that is a perfect spice for talk ahead of the glamorous 19th hole prize giving ceremony themed with the Texas cowboy dress code by title sponsors Singleton, DStv, Serena Hotels and Expresso.
Little wonder Eva Magala and Irene Nakalembe face their allies Gloria Mbaguta and Capt. Evalin Asiimwe in an anticipated thriller.
The quartet was part of the big Ugandan contingent that featured at the IBB International Golf and Country Club Ladies Open in Abuja, Nigeria last week.
“It is this match that forced us to return from Nigeria,” said Magala who finished seventh in Nigeria. Her partner Nakalembe was the best Ugandan in fourth place from a field of 245.
And even if they both have more experience than Mbaguta and Asiimwe, they have preferred to speak less. “The golf will speak for itself.” Magala added.
Entebbe’s favourite pairing of Kiryowa Kiwanuka and Elly Mukasa already promised to show what they are made of following a bye into this round to face Yunus Bbaale and Raymond Mwesigwa.
“We shall give the entire field something to think about,” stated Kiwanuka. Their pairing was beaten 3/2 (three-up with two holes to go) by Dan Kajungu and Collins Nuwagira at the semifinal stage last year.
But their opponents are well aware. “We have played against them before so we’ll it take it a hole at a time,” Bbaale said.
The winning pairing after six rounds will win a fully-sponsored trip courtesy of RwandAir to the World Golf Tour Championships at the luxurious Jumeriah Golf Estates in Dubai, UAE from - November 15-18.
SELECTED PAIRING MATCHES, round of 64
Irene Nakalembe & Eva Magala vs. Gloria Mbaguta & Evalin Asiimwe, John Muchiri vs. Isaac Mariera vs.
Geoffrey Byamugisha & Moses Sebugwawo, Micheal Alunga & Nathan Mubiru vs. Jadu Patel & Anthony
Agaba, Justin Ligyalingi & Peter Mungoma vs. Marvin Kagoro & Moses Masiko, Paul Kaheru & Joseph
Bagabo vs. John Katto & Ronald Rugumayo, Edward Kabuuchu & Andrew Kibaya vs. Gaita Rodell &
Muhammad Jezan, Raymond Mwesigwa & Yunus Bbaale vs. Kiryowa Kiwanuka & Elly Mukasa