Ronald Rugumayo believes he can change the face of professional golf in Uganda after bossing the Equity Bank Rwenzori Open at Tooro Golf Club in Fort Portal at the weekend.
The Fort Portal-bred player recently rebranded his image on digital platforms, thanks to support from his sponsors Edwin Tabaro and George Nkya.
And he has inevitably upped the ante on course in 2021, peaking early on at Tooro with an aggregate score of eight-under 132 to seal a three-shot victory over the field to take the biggest share of the Shs8m purse by Equity Bank.
This marked his third win since turning pro in 2018 and he says his golf is now to inspire people.
“When you look at pros in Uganda, no one has a website, no one has a Facebook page,” Rugumayo said after carding rounds of 65 and 67 at the nine-hole par-70 course.
“So the first we did was branding myself to easily attract sponsors. As my slogan says: ‘golf to inspire’ not just to attract sponsors but all get other people to join golf,” the 28-year-old said.
Rugumayo defeated his understudy David Kamulindwa and the feeling at the clubhouse was that the duo were thrust by their familiarity and knowledge of the course.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Rugumayo. “You have to play your best to win. Of course, this being my home course, I have the edge. Every time I stepped on the tee-box, I just pulled the trigger then I chipped and putted well.”
Rugumayo’s opening round of 65 had four birdies and three bogeys but it was the eagles on Holes No.3 and No.13 that gave him a two-shot lead on Day One.
Kamulindwa, who fired 67 on Day One, could have snatched it on Day Two when led by a shot after Hole No.7 but, the youngster got two bogeys on the ensuing holes while Rugumayo collected corresponding birdies.
“That is the point where I handed Rugumayo victory,” said Kamulindwa, who would finish with 68 for a total 135.
Rugumayo had been solid, finishing with an eagle on Hole No.12 to add to his five birdies on the day.
“My target is not here. I am looking at the Kenya Open and playing other big events outside East Africa in the near future,” added Rugumayo, a pro winner of the 2019 Pepsi Independence Cup and the Tusker Malt Series’ leg in Tooro.
How they finished
65 67 132
67 68 135
71 68 139
71 70 141
69 72 141
73 69 142
71 71 142
71 72 143
77 68 145
73 73 146
72 74 146
71 69 140
70 71 141
71 72 143
72 73 145
78 70 148
74 77 151
76 77 153
79 77 166