KAMPALA- Stephen Ferreira got a reintroduction to East African golf after lifting his maiden title at the 12th edition of the Tusker Malt Uganda Professionals Golf Open at Kitante yesterday.
The Portuguese journeyman, a regular on the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) circuit, edged Kenya legend Dismas Indiza by three strokes to lift his third title in 2017.
Starting the day six strokes behind, Indiza huffed and puffed to cut the deficit enroute to returning a hard-earned three-under-par 69 but it was still not enough as the Zimbabwe-based star crossed the finish line with little or if any to worry about.
“Uganda has been good to me,” said Ferreira, moments after receiving his trophy and cheque of Shs28.9m from Uganda Golf Union President Johnson Omolo, Uganda Breweries Managing Director Mark Ongom Ocitti and Uganda Professional Golfers Association (UPGA) chairman Dr Sam Ssejjaka in front of a packed-to-the-rafters gallery at the par-72 Kitante course on Saturday evening.
“I am happy to win this title. It was a little difficult towards the end but the most important thing was to finish top,” said Ferreira, who finished with an aggregate of seven-under-par 281 after four rounds, the best finish perhaps since the tournament inception in 2006.
Indiza was justifiably not contented with his second place finish despite managing to play under in three of his four rounds. But the four-time winner says he was undone by his Day Three return of three-over-par 75. He said as much about it.
“It is that round that put me off the rails,” said Indiza, champion here in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. Contrary, the 49-year-old, who led for the first two days, lost it when a more consistent Ferreira carded six-under-par 66 on Friday.
“I think that is the round that was most important,” noted Ferreira, who’s a regular at the Barclays Kenya Open – a European Challenge Tour event.
Final day jitters
But his overnight six-shot lead was threatened in the final day pressure group (which had Uganda’s best Brian Mwesigwa) when Indiza opened his account with birdies par-5 No.1 and par-3 No.4, as well as an eagle on par-5 No.5.
However, Ferreira showed he was a man with mettle, fashioning birdies on No.5, 8 and it is his eagle on par-5 No.13 that broke Indiza’s back even if he got a double-bogey after three-putting the par-4 No.16 and a bogey on par-4 No.18.
GOLF OPEN FINAL LEADERBOARD
1 Stephen Ferreira (POR) 72 71 66 72 281
2 Dismas Indiza (KEN) 69 71 75 69 284
3 Brian Mwesigwa (UGA) 71 73 71 73 288
T4 David Wakhu (KEN) 74 71 75 69 289
T4 Fred Wanzala (UGA) 75 71 72 71 289
T6 Deo Akope (UGA) 69 77 73 71 290
T6 Joshua Seale (RSA) 76 73 69 72 290
T6 Anil Shah (KEN) 74 70 74 72 290
9 Simon Ngige (KEN) 74 74 73 70 291
T10 Rizwan Charania (KEN) 74 75 71 73 293
T10 T. Charamba (ZIM) 75 70 73 75 293