Magala, Namakula pleased but Nakalembe left mulling
Posted Tuesday, October 8 2013 at 01:00
The Ugandan trio, despite being defiant in defeat, offered mixed reactions after Tanzania’s Eaton won her second straight title.
After playing second fiddle to friendly foe Angel Eaton for the second successive year, Flavia Namakula could have decided to play the blame game.
After all, caddie Herman Mutebi broke her putter on the eve of the tournament and she played in one of the slowest groups on Day Two of the just concluded 60th Uganda Ladies Amateur Golf Open. But she chose to tread a different path when journalists insisted on asking whether the new putter had cost her a third Open title.
“Of course the new putter played a role in my positioning,” the golfing soldier told the journalists that had crammed around the 18th green after her final round of two-over-par 74 on Saturday. “But I cannot wholly blame the putter. It was of the same make like the old one. Instead I am proud of my finish. I think I showed a lot of character to finish second.”
Scarcity of quality events
Put to task to explain why she was delighted by a return looked at as mediocre by many since Tanzanian Eaton (229) had doubled her victory margin from four strokes last year to eight at the weekend, Namakula was a mouthful.
“We are very few ladies with low handicaps in Uganda and we hardly play women competitions. We don’t get enough exposure on different courses and conditions. But for me to rally from fifth (Day 1) to fourth (Day 2) enroute to finishing second, I think I showed I am not just a good golfer but also a fighter.”
Eva Magala, who finished third with 237 gross but surrendered the second slot to Namakula on countback, summarised the 54-hole strokeplay event as the pick of her campaigns. “This is my best Open,” said Magala, who exhibited some classy par-saving putts in her last two rounds of 77 and 81.
“I hardly practiced for this tournament because I was involved in the organisation. My short game, approach and play around the green was well up there. If my driver had caught fire, I should have returned better scores.”
But home girl Irene Nakalembe was left mulling. “I played below my expectations,” confessed the 30-year national ladies team rookie.
“For a person, who was playing at their home course, I dropped too many shots on the front nine during each of the three rounds.
“I dropped six to seven shots which left me playing catch up at the back nine where I also found myself dropping two more shots.”
Many a hole, Nakalembe found herself off the fairway in the rough and she struggled with her approach shots hence arriving late at the green.
Magala heaved praise on Eaton and hinted on the way forward for ladies golf in Uganda. “Angel is good because she has been to an academy and has sponsors who ensure she plays all over the continent,” five-handicapper Magala said about the 23-year-old nicknamed Malaika.
“It is hard not to like her because she plays some amazing shots and all you have to do as her challengers is admire. As the ladies union, we should look for funds and take our young players to academies so that they get used to different challenges at an early stage.”
LAST 11 WINNERS
2003: Esther Okullo (Uganda)
2004: Rose Naliaka (Kenya)
2005: Sophie Viggo (Tanzania)
2006: Mary Karano (Kenya)
2007: Mary Karano (Kenya)
2008: Melissa Nawa (Zambia)
2009: Jasper Kamukama (Uganda)
2010: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2011: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2012: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2013: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)