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Unfancied leader. Babirye and Kabasweka each led before Kyomugisha took charge at the end
Besides the disruptions of the recent lockdown, this year’s five-in-one Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open is certainly going to be a pretty long yet unpredictable one at Entebbe Club.
The 71st Uganda Ladies Open teed-off on a totally odd script with Meron Kyomugisha as the surprise leader of the 54-hole stroke-play competition at the par-71 course yesterday.
Kyomugisha is not just atop the leader board but, she is miles high up with a seven-shot lead after carding a round of one-under 70.
“I have been practicing a lot and I had some anger,” a smiling Kyomugisha said as she relaxed at the clubhouse shade. Those emotions could have fuelled her to something really spectacular!
Only Babirye’s opening six-shot lead in 2019 relatively comes close to her effort yesterday but, it has been ages since a female player played under the course with a gross score in the main Open.
“When I lost at Ladies Open at Uganda Golf Club in Kitante and finished fifth last weekend, someone said that I would never beat her but practice makes perfect,” the handicap six player said.
Her revenge wasn’t served cold here. Not at all, Kyomugisha fired six birdies on Holes par-4 No.3, par-4 No.5, par-5 No.11, par-3 No.12, par-5 No.15 and par-5 No.18.
The Kabale Club player was however pegged back with five bogeys on Holes par-3 No.2, par-5 No.8, par-4 No.13, par-4 No.16 and par-4 No.17.
Regardless, Kyomugisha is keen on holding onto her big lead and go all the way to championship glory. “Why not? That’s what I am fighting for,” she said when asked about her winning prospects.
“I have to maintain the position. I don’t want to leave the top five places by end of Day Two,” she added. Kyomugisha is followed by Kenyan Mercy Nyanchama and 2020 runner-up Peace Kabasweka each on five-over 77.
“I had challenges around the greens and I didn’t convert birdies and pars,” said Kabasweka. Two-time runner-up Irene Nakalembe is a stroke adrift and ties fourth with Tanzanian Vicky Elias on 78.
Next in sixth is two-time defending champion Martha Babirye struggled before returning 10-over 81. “My body isn’t okay but I am going to get medicine and then charge up,” said Babirye who managed one birdie on the green of Hole No.2.
“My tee-shots were good, everything was okay but whenever I need to have concentration intact, it never happened. But I also love playing the game while chasing so we will see over the next two days,” added the twin.
The course will be busier today with 42 ladies joining the fray for the bronze category while players above 50 will begin their quest for the Seniors’ Open title.
71ST TUSKER MALT UGANDA LADIES OPEN - DAY ONE LEADERBOARD
1 Meron Kyomugisha (UGA) 70
T2 Peace Kabasweka (UGA) 77
T2 Mercy Nyanchama (KEN) 77
T4 Irene Nakalembe (UGA) 78
T4 Vicky Elias (TAZ) 78
6 Martha Babirye (UGA) 81
7 Gloria Mbaguta (UGA) 82
8 Julia Nampewo (UGA) 83
9 Dianah Nambalirwa (UGA) 85
10 Resty Nalutaaya (UGA) 86