Kabasweka claims UGC Ladies Open title

UGC Ladies Open winner Peace Kabasweka waves after her final putt. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO 

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Kabasweka returned an aggregate score of 227 gross to beat 26 other top ladies out of the 60-odd field after 54 holes at the par-72 course in Kitante.

Peace Kabasweka is having a stellar year. And the calm player from Fort Portal tourism city is hoping it pays off at the end with glory at the 72nd Uganda Ladies Golf Open in October.

Her dominance on the local scene thus far is giving confidence inevitably. And she took her ambitions for that big one a notch higher by winning the fourth Uganda Golf Club (UGC) Ladies Open on Saturday.

Kabasweka returned an aggregate score of 227 gross to beat 26 other top ladies out of the 60-odd field after 54 holes at the par-72 course in Kitante.

“It was good. Fantastic,” Kabasweka described her second major win of the year after the Entebbe Ladies Open in March.

“It has been an awesome year. I thank God for the breakthrough and I hope to win the other (Uganda) Open as well,” the handicap two player said.

The highlight of her victory was that Kabasweka came from six strokes behind on the final day to beat Day Two leader Gloria Mbaguta by a stroke on the final par-4 Hole No.18 in front of a sizable gallery as the sun had begun to find its way home.

“I was chasing six strokes, I was somehow confident. I just told myself to play against the course which ended up giving me a better score today.”

Left-hander Mbaguta is usually a contender but never a favourite, at least looking over the past decade where she has been a single handicapper. Her best finishes have been usually third or fourth and second at best.

However, after returning a respectable two-under 70 on Friday, Mbaguta surged to lead the field by six strokes with Kabasweka and joint-Day One leader Eva Magala tied on 152 gross in second.

On Saturday though, Kabasweka matched Mbaguta toe-to-toe on either end of Acacia Avenue. Mbaguta’s lead dropped to five strokes when she carded a bogey on par-5 Hole No.1 while Kabasweka had a par.

After identical bogeys Holes par-5 No.3, par-3 No.6, par-4 No.7, Mbaguta got another bogey on the sloppy par-5 Hole No.8 but Kabasweka trimmed her deficit to four shots with par.

Mbaguta then was on the par-3 Hole No.9 green for one but triple-putted for bogey while Kabasweka got a par, the lead down to three shots. The same happened with Mbaguta’s bogey on par-4 No.12 and on the tricky par-4 No.15, her par was still bettered by Kabasweka’s birdie.

Chasing a stroke with three holes to go, Kabasweka played pars all through while Mbaguta fumbled with short putts on the par-3 No.17 and the 18th too.

“My driver went off but I just trusted my swing. I was swinging well on the other clubs and it gave me confidence to carry and I ended up winning,” added Kabasweka, a public administrator by profession.

Whereas Mbaguta will turn eyes to the Open, Kabasweka, Babirye and Meron Kyomugisha will resume training ahead of Team Uganda’s bid for silverware at next month’s All Africa Challenge Trophy in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania.


UGC LADIES OPEN

FINAL LEADERBOARD

1 Peace Kabasweka (UGA)    77 75 75 227

2 Gloria Mbaguta (UGA)       76 70 82 228

3 Martha Babirye (UGA)        79 73 80 231

4 Eva Magala (UGA)              76 79 85 238


UGC LADIES OPEN

CAST OF WINNERS

2018: Irene Nakalembe (Won by 7 strokes)

2019: Martha Babirye (Won by 1 stroke)

2020: Not held (Covid-19 Pandemic)

2021: Martha Babirye (Won via sudden-death play-off)

2022: Peace Kabasweka (Won by 1 stroke)

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