What you need to know:
- The tournament has not been staged since 2019 because of the ramifications of the pandemic but with a near return to normalcy, Uganda is hoping to make history.
- Captain Joseph Cwinyaai will lead a quartet out of the marina clubhouse at the Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa with a target of adding to the 2018 and 2019 crowns.
Team Uganda will look to bounce back from a two-year lull owing to Covid-19 by starring in front of its own gallery when the Africa Region IV Golf Championships tees off at Kigo today.
The tournament has not been staged since 2019 because of the ramifications of the pandemic but with a near return to normalcy, Uganda is hoping to make history.
Captain Joseph Cwinyaai will lead a quartet out of the marina clubhouse at the Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa with a target of adding to the 2018 and 2019 crowns.
“We have a rich vein of history and we think we have a chance to go for the treble,” Uganda Golf Union’s treasurer Joseph Bagabo said while launching the tournament at Kigo on Tuesday.
“It feels so good and great that it kicks off on home soil,” Cwinyaai said about the resumption of national team business.
The par-72 will have four players each from six teams including Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia who will battle over four rounds of stroke-play beginning with two today and then the final match-play round on Saturday.
“Our target is nothing else other than defending the title on a three-peat and taking it for keeps,” handicap +4 player Cwinyaai said.
And Cwinyaai is in good company with coach lady professional Flavia Namakula. The reigning Uganda Amateur Open has back-up in the experienced +4 player Denis Asaba, national junior captain Godfrey Nsubuga and Michael Alunga, who is currently second on the Kenya Amateur Circuit rankings.
“The team is in good shape and the morale is high to showcase what we have been doing in camp and to our gallant Fans. I trust my teammates more, especially Asaba and Alunga because we have learnt this game since childhood.
“Our plan in the stroke play is two players to attack and the other two play defensive,” he Cwinyaai added.
Meanwhile, Uganda will face a big threat from eternal rivals Kenya who have captain Dennis Maara and 2020 Uganda Amateur Open champion John Lejirma who won it at Kitante.
“The last year’s win makes me feel like I’m home and also eradicates some pressure on me so I’m good to go,” said Lejirma of Railway Golf Club.
However, knowledge of the course conditions will be key. “It is fast conditions on the hard fairways even with the conditions especially in the afternoons,” noted Theodore van Rooyen, the head of golf business at Kigo.
“The course and weather suit our game so there are high chances for Kenyans to clinch the title,” Lejirma warned.
The event is also a precursor for Kigo before the same venue stages the Uganda Golf Open in late September.