KITANTE- Emmanuel ‘Apuuli’ Basaliza gatecrashed Dr Sam Zaramba’s grand party as the elderly community made a return to action after a two-year sabbatical at the Smile Seniors Golf Tournament on Saturday.
Basaliza, with a golfing career spanning 47 years, beat the fatigue after travelling from his home club in Fort Portal and proceeded to win the Platinum category of 80 plus year-olds with 27 stableford points.
“The prospect of playing golf always gives me joy,” said the 89-year-old nicknamed Mzee Kijjana, arguably the oldest playing golfer in Uganda, amidst deafening applause from the patrons at Uganda Golf Club (UGC)’s 19th hole.
“And to play and win gives me double joy. When I started to play in 1967, there were mostly whites that dominated the game and when I see more black people like me playing the game passionately I am equally delighted.”
In his heyday, Basaliza represented the national amateur team, enjoyed several duels with legendary Sadi Onito (12-time Uganda Open winner) and Tooro’s John Bahindi with the epitome of his career being the back-to-back Western Region Open titles he scooped in 1975 and 76.
But Dr Zaramba still enjoyed his moment in the limelight on the evening well controlled by the amiable emcee Charles ‘Uncle K’ Kareba.
“This is great for me,” said Zaramba, who took the overall title after returning 39 points. “Thank you very much everyone. Hats off to the sponsors. Let everyone enjoy the night on my behalf.”
The day’s sponsors, Smile Telecom, received a round of applause from the patrons after they promised to facilitate more seniors’ calendar events including the Seniors Open later this year.
“Thank you for keeping your promise. You have made us smile and we hope there are more good things to come,” said UGC captain Charles Katarikawe, who was flanked by Ambrose Akandonda, the chairman of Uganda Seniors Golfing Society.
The biggest side bet awards were claimed by Gen Ivan Koreta whose hard slog of 300 yards on hole 10 won him the longest drive accolade and Tom Arara (nearest to the pin) whose approach shot on green No. 9 was just approximately 1.1 inches away from the pin.
Newly re-elected cricket boss Richard Mwami, playing off handicap 8, crowned a good day by winning the Group A men’s subsidiary event with 36 stableford points whereas Connie Mukulu stood out in the women’s section with 47 points.
Sam Zaramba 39 points
Platinum (80 years +)
Apuuli Basaliza 27 points
Diamond (70-79 Years)
George Egadu 38 points
Gold (65-69 Years)
Anthony Akullo 33 points c/b
Silver (60 – 64 years)
Onyango Matata 34 points c/b
Bronze (55- 60 years)
Francis Kazinduki 34 points c/b
Best back nine
Dr. Kanyesigye 18 points
Best first nine
Dan Kiregu 19 points
Nearest to the pin
Gen. Ivan Koreta