Rugumayo roars loud

Saturday December 30 2017

Rugumayo showed class as national golf teams

Rugumayo showed class as national golf teams stuttered during continental meets. PHOTO BY EDDIE CHICCO 



In the past three years, Uganda’s golf always achieved at the international stage with coach Amos Kamya delivering at different fronts.
However, Uganda’s pot of luck ran dry as different teams fired blanks across the continent in 2017.
Incredible Rugumayo
That will certainly go down as the biggest underscore of the sport but if there is anything worthy smiling about, look no further than Ronald Rugumayo.
The scratch player kept best for last in his near-a-decade career as he delivered his best rounds in his final year of amateur golf.
And it all popped up at the right moment as he broke an eight-year duck to lift his maiden title at the 75th Tusker Malt Uganda Amateur Open at the par-72 course in Kitante on September 16.
For as long as golf is still played in Uganda, Rugumayo’s flawless putting on that day will not only be talked forever but also, the youthful talent that watched him will always attempt to emulate. It must still be part of the conversations at the different clubhouses in the country.
Normally, PGA Tour players are adored for their simplicity on the greens and Rugumayo was that near-perfect as he beat holder Ronald Otile by three strokes with three straight birdies on holes par-4 No.12, par-3 No.17 and par-4 No.18 in a three-hole sudden-death play-off.
The pair, both bred at Tooro Golf Club in Fort Portal, had tied on 299 gross after four rounds in arguably the best episode of this championship.
If one recalls Otile’s shot that rolled down the 18th left bunker in the play-off yet Rugumayo had teed-off placed 27th before carding three-under-par 69, clear the title was for the latter.

Poor show on the continent
But Otile had produced a much better performance compared to his no show prior in August as Team Uganda surrendered the East Africa Challenge title to Kenya at the par-71 Dar-es-Salaam Gymkhana Club in Tanzania.
The South Africa-based pairing of Otile and Daniel Baguma received veiled attacks after returning just 1.5 points of the teams 17 yet Kenya won by a margin of 2.5.
While team manager Oscar Semawere blamed the greens, it is clear the earlier unusual outburst from coach Kamya and players about their allowances had stirred a huge psychological blow.
More shocking, after the national Open, Kamya did not travel citing unpaid wages with the team for the All-Africa Amateur Golf Championships at the Victoria Falls in Zambia.
Kamulindwa sensation
Team manager Moses Mastiko acted as coach for the team comprising the best quartet of Rugumayo, Otile, Ismail Mahmoud and Daniel Baguma from the Open but Uganda finished a distant ninth as South Africa took the top honours in October.
However, Uganda had done better by taking fifth place at the 19th All-Africa Junior Championships in Zimbabwe back in April. This was the showpiece that unearthed the talent in David Kamulindwa.
The 16-year-old from Fort Portal finished 13th overall in Harare before putting up the best fight (3.5 points from a possible five matches) as Uganda surrendered the Victoria Cup to Kenya at Entebbe in July.
Big size Mwesigwa or classic Wanzala?
Such was the story as the rest of Africa pipped Uganda to several honours including Tanzanian Angel Eaton toasted to her third title at the 67th edition of the Uganda Ladies Open, denying home darling Irene Nakalembe from a maiden crown.
Yet, Portuguese Stephen Ferreira was a class apart for the home field as he won the Uganda Professionals Open on the first of asking, taking Shs28.9m after carding seven-under overall 281 gross from four rounds.
Uganda’s best was Brian Mwesigwa, the 2010 Amateur Open champion came in third place with 288 gross and his impressive show made many forget the terrible six-year spell he had endured in the paid ranks.
But Fred Wanzala, who tied in fourth place with Kenyan David Wakhu, has been classic all year. The Lake Victoria Serena Golf Club pro won six of the 12 Uganda Professional Golfers Association (UPGA) calendar tournaments including the JBG Open and Pepsi Independence Cup inside one weekend.
He also won the exciting Singleton Challenge, a new clubhouse invention that could have changed the face of Entebbe Golf Club probably forever.

Ladies: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
Amateurs: Ronald Rugumayo (Uganda)
Professionals: Stephen Ferreira (Portugal)
All-Africa Junior (Zimbabwe): 5th
Victoria Cup (Uganda): Lost to Kenya
East Africa Challenge (Tanzania): 2nd
All-Africa Amateur (Zambia): 9th
Amateurs: Ronald Rugumayo
Pros: Phillip Kasozi
Amateurs: Ronald Rugumayo
Pros: Vincent Byamukama
Ladies: Irene Nakalembe
Amateurs: Lutajani Kemisi
Pros: Phillip Kasozi
Amateurs: Deco Mutebi
Pros: Fred Wanzala
Amateurs: Jude Ochieng
Pros: Fred Wanzala
Ladies: Mackline Nsenga
Pros: Ronnie Bukenya
Gadies: Martha Babirye
Lentlemen: John Karionji