Chinhoi smiles to second Open title

Chinhoi raises his trophies after winning the Tusker Malt Uganda Open. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

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Shortly after sinking his last putt in a final round of level-par 72 for the final aggregate score 11-under 277 at 5:30pm, Chinhoi took off his shoes and ran to dive into the water right in front of the Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa clubhouse marina.


Robson Chinhoi had kept it simple throughout. The Zimbabwean spoke less and did more with his clubs. So when he finally sealed a 10-shot margin to claim the 17th Tusker Malt Uganda Professionals Golf Open title at Kigo, he freed up his emotions in style on Saturday evening.

Shortly after sinking his last putt in a final round of level-par 72 for the final aggregate score 11-under 277 at 5:30pm, Chinhoi took off his shoes and ran to dive into the water right in front of the Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa clubhouse marina.

The affable lad then swam across to the speed boats’ dock, thereby rallying on the onlookers and partisan gallery that had been treated to the surprise, in sheer delight.

That, perhaps, marks the best celebration there’s been for a golf championship victory in the sport’s history. Yes?

“I think this is the craziest celebration I have done,” Chinhoi said moments after receiving his trophy and later claiming his purse of Shs21m, the biggest share of the Shs100m kitty. This is his second title at this event in three years having won the 2020 edition at Kitante.

“This is the only golf course I have played with a lot of water,” he said, the swim reminiscing his childhood in Nyanga village where he often swam through River Nyamombe.

And having added to his recent wins at the Lubumbashi Open and Kinshasa Open in DR Congo, it is right to say that the man from Royal Harare Club is on fire.

Unlike the 81st Uganda Amateur Open where Kigo home boy Andrew Ssekibejja usurped Michael Tumusiime on the last two holes a week ago, Chinhoi was rather dominant.

He carried a five-shot advantage over the rest of the field after he carded a round of 66 comprising five birdies and an eagle on the 17th green after Day Three on Friday.

Since Ugandan Ronald Rugumayo had equally charged on ‘Moving Day’ with a five-under 67 with as many birdies and an eagle on the 13th green, he formed the final pressure group of three with Kenyan Greg Snow.

However, the race against Chinhoi looked to have been in futility as he had an eight-shot margin over Kenyan Simon Ngige in the second pressure group and Rugumayo after playing par-4 Hole No.9.

The latter had dropped after carding a horrible double-bogey on par-5 Hole No.8 and then a bogey on the tricky yellow flag on the 9th green. Ngige on the other hand had risen thanks to three successive birdies right from the short par-3 Hole No.7.

And whereas some tension seemed to pop up with the gallery on the next three holes, the Open looked to have been fully closed out when Chinhoi sunk an eagle on the par-3 Hole No.13.

He opened his arms wide while facing the gallery understandably backing Rugumayo, nodded his head and then wore his shades in a show of swagger and command. 

“I am a happy guy,” Chinhoi reacted to that moment. “I was just trying to make things exciting. There was a bit of tension ye they wanted Rugumayo. I was just trying to show them its sports and that let’s have fun.”

Just a handful proceeded to follow them to the par-4 Hole No.14 while the rest stayed to wait for them at the short par-3 Hole No.15 in a clear display of surrender.

There was little left to write home and the pain was felt more when Rugumayo bogeyed his last four holes to finish on 77, giving Ngige room to finish on one-under 71 and tie with the Ugandan in second place.

A total 15 Ugandans including lady Irene Nakalembe and national amateur assistant captain Ibrahim Bagalana made the cut.

17TH TUSKER MALT UGANDA GOLF PROS OPEN

FINAL LEADERBOARD

1 Robson Chinhoi (ZIM)                    69 70 66 72 277

T2 Simon Ngige (KEN)                      75 74 67 71 287

T2 Ronald Rugumayo (UGA)         73 70 67 77 287

4 Greg Snow (KEN)                           74 70 70 76 290

T5 Samuel Njoroge (KEN)                 72 74 72 73 291

T5 Nyasha Muyambo (ZIM)               73 72 71 75 291

T7 Visitor Mapwanya (UGA)          73 77 71 72 293

T7 Celestine Nsanzuwera (RWA)      76 72 68 77 293

T9 David Wakhu (KEN)                    76 76 69 73 294

T9 Phillip Kasozi (UGA)                  75 76 71 72 294

T9 Willy Deus Kitata (UGA)           75 74 75 70 294

T9 Dismas Indiza (KEN)                    72 70 76 76 294

T15 Joshua Seale (UGA)                  79 70 72 76 297

T17 Abraham Ainamani (UGA)     77 75 73 73 298

T19 Brian Toolit (UGA)                   78 74 77 71 300

T19 Silver Opio (UGA)                     76 75 73 76 300

T24 Ibrahim Bagalana* (UGA)       81 70 76 76 303

26 Adolf Muhumuza (UGA)            77 71 74 82 304

T28 David Kamulindwa (UGA)      76 76 73 81 306

30 Rodell Gaita (UGA)                     79 73 73 82 307

T31 Irene Nakalembe (UGA)          80 72 74 82 308

T31 Grace Kasango (UGA)              73 77 75 83 308

T34 Marvin Kibirige (UGA)            80 72 79 78 309
 

CAST OF UGANDA PRO OPEN WINNERS

2022: Robson Chinhoi (ZIM)

2021: Jastas Madoya (KEN)

2020: Robson Chinhoi (ZIM)

2019: Muthiya Madalisto (ZAM)

2018: Dismas Indiza (KEN)

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 Baptiste Hakizimana (RWA)

2009: Richard Ainley (KEN)

2008: Dismas Indiza (KEN)

2007: Dismas Indiza (KEN)

2006: Deo Akope (UGA)

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