The Uganda Ladies Golf Open winners’ list has had a sort of copy and paste format in the past few years.
Only Ugandan Flavia Namakula and Tanzanian Angel Eaton’s names have been encrypted in the history books as they shared the past eight titles since 2010.
Yet, it is Irene Nakalembe who was the bridesmaid as Namakula won by six strokes in 2016 and also as Eaton bagged her third title by two strokes last year at the par-72 course in Kitante.
But quitters do not win and winners do not quit. After those close shaves, Nakalembe is back much stronger with greater hunger to win the Open.
She will lead the home group in the field when the three-day 68th Castle Lite-sponsored Ladies Open tees-off at the par-71 course in Entebbe this morning.
Her intent is clear. “I don’t have the Uganda Open in my cabinet, so I need it,” Nakalembe said in a recent interview. “I want to play good golf and I want to be a champion.”
But there are few issues to clear though especially after she carded four-over 75 in the official practice round at Entebbe yesterday. “Not bad,” the handicap two player offered, “I have been struggling to adjust from the slow greens in Ghana (at Ghana Ladies Open). My putting wasn’t good but I played this round to try get my rhythm,”
There is no much time left though as Nakalembe must accustom to a course she calls home. “To be honest, it is my best shot (at the Open).”
She has been on form in 2018; winning her record fourth Entebbe Ladies Open title, the inaugural Uganda Golf Club Ladies Open, tenth at the All-Africa Challenge Trophy (AACT) and second at the Ghana Ladies Open this year.
“The more you compete, the more you improve in many aspects,” she said of her run. But Nakalembe should be aware that Eaton is here to defend her title.
“That is my plan,” Eaton said. “The Entebbe course is difficult to play because of the many trees but I will just play the course and not the people who I will play with,” added the 2012 and 2013 champion.
RECENT AMATEUR WINNERS
2017: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2016: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2015: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2014: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2013: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2012: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2011: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2010: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2009: Jasper Kamukama (Uganda)
2008: Melissa Nawa (Zambia)
2007: Mary Karano (Kenya)
MARGIN OF VICTORY - LAST SIX YEARS
2017: Eaton won by 2 strokes
2016: Namakula won by 6 strokes
2015: Namakula won by 6 strokes
2014: Namakula won by 12 strokes
2013: Eaton won by 8 strokes
2012: Eaton won by 5 strokes
2011: Namakula won by 5 strokes
2010: Namakula won by a 1 shot
2009: Kamukama edged Karano
in a sudden death play-off
RECENT AMATEUR WINNERS
2017: Ronald Rugumayo (Uganda)
2016: Ronald Otile (Uganda)
2015: Ronald Otile (Uganda)
2014: Willy Deus Kitata (Uganda)
2013: Peter Ssendawula (Uganda)
2012: Phillip Kasozi (Uganda)
2011: Rogers Byaruhanga (Uganda)
2010: Brian Mwesigwa (Uganda)
2009: Peter Ssendawula (Uganda)
2008: George Olayo (Uganda)
2007: Nicholas Rokoine (Kenya)
2017: Stephen Ferreira (POR)
2016: Joshua Seale (RSA)
2015: Muthiya Madalitso (ZAM)
2014: Deo Akope (UGA)
2013: Vincent Byamukama (UGA)
2012: Dismas Indiza (KEN)
2011: Dismas Indiza (KEN)
2010: Jean Hakizimana (RWA)
2009: Richard Ainley (KEN)
2008: Dismas Indiza (KEN)
2007: Dismas Indiza (KEN)