Cwinyaai’s chance for second Tusker Malt Uganda Open gong

Joseph Cwinyaai is out to defend his Tusker Malt Uganda Open crown at the par-72 Serena Spa and Resort course beginning on Wednesday morning. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 


What you need to know:

Now the five-in-one Tusker Malt Uganda Open at Kigo has Joseph Cwinyaai out to defend his Amateurs’ crown at the par-72 course beginning this morning.


 The buzz at the Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa will go a notch higher when a field of 52 players vie for silverware at the 81st Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open on Wednesday.

The 72-hole championship will precede the Seniors Open won by Kenyan engineer John Muchiri and business lady Edrae Kagombe while Martha Babirye claimed her third Ladies Open title a fortnight ago.

Now the five-in-one Tusker Malt Uganda Open at Kigo has Joseph Cwinyaai out to defend his Amateurs’ crown at the par-72 course beginning this morning.

Cwinyaai last year held off a stiff challenge from 2020 winner Kenyan John Lejirma to win the tourney at the par-71 Entebbe course by three strokes.

The Fort Portal-bred star had held back his decision to turn professional and on Monday, Cwinyaai made a last-minute decision to defend his title. 

“I had a one-on-one with my technical team and they decided I would defend my trophy,” Cwinyaai told this paper. Otherwise, Cwinyaai would have opted to compete at the Kenya Amateur Stroke-play Championship at Vipingo Ridge course from tomorrow until Sunday.

The event is a pathway to the PGA European Tour event - the 2023 Kenya Open. Whereas Cwinyaai backed out of that quest, his other rival Michael Alunga has opted for Vipingo.

Then, the US-based group comprising three-time Open champion Ronald Otile, Daniel Baguma, Denis Asaba, Joel Basalaine, Edrine Okwong and Ibrahim Aliga all won’t take part.

The fiery Kenyans such as Lejirma, Dennis Maara, Michael Karanga from Kiambu and Isaac Makokha of Vet Lab Sports Club all have chosen Vipingo.

From the top 10 of 2020, only Cwinyaai is available and surely, this is his Open, to lose. “Not really,” he said. “I expect to be challenged,” he said.

The handicap +4 player practiced with his wedges in Kigo yesterday. “My mind is set,” he added.

Cwinyaai’s biggest test will come from his fellow national team players in assistant captain Ibrahim Bagalana, Godfrey Nsubuga, Joseph Kasozi who led the Open on Day One at Kitante in 2019 and then the young Reagan Akena who did the same thing in Entebbe last year.

Then, 2011 champion Rogers Byaruhanga could have another big bite at the cherry, Entebbe’s Michael Tumusiime is the dark horse while Muthui Mutisya from Kenya is an unknown quantity in this title race.

Considering the field is largely open, it could spring up a few surprises from the low-handicappers like John Basabose, a regular top competitor, former national team player Nemanja Kostic and Ashvin Kananathan will be in the spotlight too.

2022 UGANDA GOLF OPEN

TOURNAMENT NOTEBOOK

Dates: October 6-29

Venue: Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa

Location: Kigo, Wakiso

Size: Par-72

Expected field: 400 players

Pros’ kitty: Shs100m

Platinum Sponsor: UBL (Shs600m)

Gold Sponsor: Absa (Shs200m)

Bronze Sponsors: R&A, International Golf Federation, Africa Golf Confederation, Serena Hotel Kigo, Case Medical Services, Pepsi

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Oct 6-8: 72nd Ladies Open

Oct 14-15: Seniors Open

Oct 19-22: 81st Amateur Open

Oct 25: Pro-Am

Oct 26-29: 17th Professional Open

80TH TUSKER MALT UGANDA AMATEUR OPEN

FINAL LEADERBOARD

1 Joseph Cwinyaai (UGA)                  75 73 71 68 287

2 John Lejirma (KEN)                        75 71 69 75 290

T3 Tom Jingo (UGA)                          76 75 69 71 291

T3 Chanda Bwembya (ZAM)             72 72 73 74 291

5 Marvin Kibirige (UGA)                   72 75 71 74 292

6 Bulhan Matovu (UGA)                    71 74 75 73 293

7 James Koto (UGA)                          76 75 70 73 294

8 Denis Asaba (UGA)                        77 71 73 74 295

9 Ibrahim Aliga (UGA)                      75 73 73 75 296

10 Elton Thembo (UGA)                  77 76 75 70 298

CAST OF UGANDA AMATEUR OPEN WINNERS

2021: Joseph Cwinyaai (UGA)

2020: John Lejirma (KEN)

2019: Daniel Nduva (KEN)

2018: Ronald Otile (UGA)

2017: Ronald Rugumayo (UGA)

2016: Ronald Otile (UGA)

2015: Ronald Otile (UGA)

2014: Willy Deus Kitata (UGA)

2013: Peter Ssendawula (UGA)

2012: Phillip Kasozi (UGA)

2011: Rogers Byaruhanga (UGA)

2010: Brian Mwesigwa (UGA)

2009: Peter Ssendawula (UGA)

2008: George Olayo (UGA)

2007: Nicholas Rokoine (KEN)

2006: Amos Kamya (UGA)

2005: Charles Yokwe (UGA)

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