Rugumayo penned two letters to Uganda Golf Union secretary Paul Baite and another to the Uganda Professionals Golfers Association (UPGA)
Golf. The defending Uganda Open champion will not have a chance of retaining his coveted title after he indicated that he is turning professional.
KAMPALA. The golf season is almost peaking as the country’s flagship showpiece - the Uganda Open - is around the corner.
The 2018 edition will be a three-in-one tournament at the par-71 course in Entebbe beginning with the Castle Lite 68th Ladies Open from September 12-15. However, it is Uganda Men’s Amateur Open title holder Ronald Rugumayo that is carrying the headlines at the moment. Daily Monitor has learnt that Rugumayo will not defend his title at the 76th edition from September 18-22 after the scratch golfer opted to turn pro last week.
“I would I have loved to defend it,” Rugumayo opened up in a recent interview, “But (I) it’s high time I made a change in my game and turned pro,” he said.
This paper understands Rugumayo penned two letters to Uganda Golf Union secretary Paul Baite and another to the Uganda Professionals Golfers Association (UPGA) dated August 14 with intentions to switch to the paid ranks. Having tied on 11-over par 299 gross after four days of action, Rugumayo won the Uganda Open on the par-72 course at the Uganda Golf Club in Kitante last year after beating off friendly foe and then two-time title holder Ronald Otile via a three-hole sudden-death play-off.
“That was my best moment ever in my golf career as my dream came true,” he recalls.
This put an end to his wait for the ‘Major’ that he had begun yearning for back in 2010. And it was also a reward for consistency that had seen him sweep six club titles and two runner-up finishes at the Tanzania Open and the Kenya Amateur Stroke-play Championship in 2017.
Rugumayo’s last amateur tournament was at the Tooro Club Centenary Celebrations where his finished third behind fellow home boys Adolf Muhumuza and David Kamulindwa. Prior, he had captained Team Uganda to the Africa Region VI Championship at the Nyali Golf & Country Club early this month to cap one of the most successful national campaigns. The 26-year-old plans to feature in the 13th Uganda Professionals Open but he needs to practise first before embarking on pursuing a share of the $50,000 (Shs190m) purse from September 24-29.
“There is little time but I must maximise it. I need some events to get myself ready as I would love to do even better in the pro ranks. My fans have been asking me to turn pro and I feel this is my best time to do so,” Rugumayo said.
“Moving on now will give room to the upcoming players to play for the national team,” he added. Being the 2017 champion, Rugumayo automatically qualifies to become a pro but he will still play in the UPGA qualifiers as a warm-up for the Open.