Kampala. Irene Nakalembe needed to overcome a series of emotions to beat a determined field and win a record fifth Castle Lite Entebbe Ladies Golf Open title on Saturday. The handicap three player almost let it go when she trailed Martha Babirye by three strokes after Day One of the tournament’s ninth edition also supported by Britam Insurance and CBA Bank on Friday.
“Something off the course messed me up two hours before teeing off yesterday (Friday),” an emotional Nakalembe opened up to Daily Monitor after a colourful 19th hole prize giving ceremony lit up my comedian Agnes Akite.
“And you know golf is a mental game,” Nakalembe went on, “But I went and prayed to God. Things changed and when I got to the course today, I came out on top again.”
Nakalembe is a true fighter though. Perhaps, this is the most she’s ever dug to emerge as victor at this Open.
The 2018 Uganda Ladies Open runner-up Babirye had fired a big gear when she returned four-over at the par-71 course to lead.
Entebbe’s Nakalembe had last September endured defeat to Babirye when she finished third behind her and Tanzanian Neema Olomi at the Uganda Open. But not again. “I didn’t think I could win it because I had really tough competitors,” Nakalembe had said said earlier upon receiving her trophy from chief guest Dr Maggie Kigozi and a big fridge from CBA’s Anthony Ndegwa on the evening graced by a light drizzle.
She then received a standing ovation from audience, Uganda Golf Union head Innocent Kihika popped champagne while Uganda Ladies Golf Union president Eva Magala hugged her. The moment was crowned beautifully by the DJ’s selection The Winner Takes It All by legendary Swedish pop group ABBA.
Nakalembe described her Day Two on the podium thus: “I was putting really well.”
On Saturday, Nakalembe trimmed the three-shot deficit quickly when she birdied par-4 Hole No.3 while Babirye carded a bogey.
Then the pair was level after Nakalembe shot a par on the short par-3 Hole No.6, Babirye responding with a bogey. Nakalembe was literally off to the fifth crown when she birdied par-5 Hole No.7 only Babirye to terribly wither with a double-bogey.