Making cuts at the money-spinning events across the region and continent is every Ugandan professional golfer’s dream. But to US-based Willy Deus Kitata, that is the least of his worries.
The 2014 Uganda Amateur Open Championship winner is on the prowl in familiar territory seeking to make the cut at the coveted Magical Kenya Open that tees off in a fortnight.
Fresh from Florida at the back-end of last year, Kitata found no luck at the par-72 Uganda Golf Club (UGC) Kitante course – a turf on which he won the Uganda Open as an amateur - when missed the cut at the Shs100m Uganda Professionals Open. And already this he has made just one cut from the two events he has played thus far at the Safari Tour Series.
Any performance analyst would think that it would be wise for a man like Kitata to change his game management style from total aggression to controlled play. But Kitata is a different animal.
“I have to be aggressive,” said the man sponsored by Major League Baseball (MLB) and based in Florida, during his practice break at Entebbe Club’s Hole No.14 (driving), Hole No.13 (putting) and Hole No.8 (bunker work).
“Yes, that’s the only way out for me if I am to make the cut. Kasozi (Phillip) and Deo (Akope) are shoo-in candidates and I want to be Uganda’s third representative. And if I win the Karen Masters (Feb 20-25), I will be in. “Every shot will count but I know one thing that it’s going to be an aggressive approach for me. Whenever I don’t win, I feel bad. I can make a cut whenever I want. But now, it is about winning because I joined the Safari Tour late.”
Being outspoken has seen Kitata fall in trouble with the administrators over the years. But he reveals he has never stopped fighting and still has a stomach for just causes. His current point of contention is the unfairness towards regional professionals by the organisers of the regional events that render them as beggars rather than inclusive.
“Wildcards and invitations for many big events including the Kenya Open are given to guys from outside the region that are not that good and those that will not add any value to the competitions. Those slots should be given to our own because these tours were introduced to help develop the game in our region,” reasoned Kitata.
Hefty cash prizes
There is a bouquet of healthy cash-pots for the Karen Masters has a $25,000 (Shs91m) and an identical one of $1.3m (Shs4.7b) for each of the Magical Kenya Open (March 18-21) and subsequent Kenya Savannah Classic (March 23-26) that has only just been introduced on the European Tour to form Kenya’s latest flagship double-header event at Karen Country Club.
Now Kitata wants a bite at the Savannah Classic cherry if a slot at the Kenya Open fails.
“I fly out on February 19 (tomorrow) for the Karen Masters and then grind it out. My coaches (Van McMillan and Mike Robinson) are back in the US but they have done some good work with me in this period while I have been here. I want to revive my winning circle,” concluded Kitata.
A host of Ugandans including Deo Akope, Richard Baguma and Abbey Bagalana, Phillip Kasozi and towering Dennis Anguyo are already in Nairobi looking to grab their chances with both hands.
AT A GLANCE
Name: Willy Deus Kitata
DOB: June 8, 1991
Nickname: Jose/C-Unit President
Golf Career: Started in 2011
Turned Pro: June 8, 2015
Driving Range: 350 yards
Fairway Percentage: 75%
Putting Average: 30
Home Course: PGA National Florida
Childhood Course: Entebbe Club
Residence: Jupiter, Florida
Occupation: professional golfer:
*2011-2015: National Team Caps
*Uganda Open 2014 (Kitante UGC)
* Burundi Open (2013 & 2014)
*Eskom Open (2013)
*Kenya Match play Open Championship 2012
*Runner up Uganda Open x3 (2011, 2012, 2013)
*Local Majors x 24
Pro High: Q-School Sunshine 2020 – Got tour card
Asian Tour: 2019 Q-School Thailand – Got tour card