Local professional Bagalana readies for Ivory Coast Open

Friday April 16 2021
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Breaking Barriers. Bagalana is ready for his maiden trip to West Africa. He flies out on Sunday. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO

By Allan Darren Kyeyune

Abby Bagalana counts himself a lucky man. At a time when invitations are hard to come by, the professional golfer is preparing for a busy week ahead.
He will be part of the field that will play at the Yamoussoukro Club when the Ivory Coast Open tees-off from April 21-24.

Bagalana earned his invite through the Ivory Coast Golf Federation president Emmanuel Kouakou Koffi. And ahead of his first pro tournament outside East Africa, Bagalana got a soft landing after his travel bill worth $1100 (Shs3.9m) was sorted by a UGC member Andrew Opio, through Spring Spa and Lounge.

Opio has a giving heart. “I occasionally facilitated the professional golfers until the 2019 Uganda Open when I offered a full package to eight amateurs and for sure, I was not disappointed by the performance,” said Opio, a handicap four player.
“When Abby came to me with the Ivory Coast invite, we discussed the same and I chose to facilitate his travels.” The boost offers Bagalana a chance to battle for a 38,000 Euros (Shs165m) kitty. “It means a lot to me because in this era, not many are not willing to support you because of the Covid-19,” said Bagalana, who flies out on Sunday.

 And it comes almost a month after he won his first pro tournament - the UGC Captain’s Prize at Kitante. “Well I’m going for a win,” he stated.
“I am swinging very well of late if you have been following my games,” added the man who has made the cut six times on the regional Safari Tour Series.

Full Name: Abbey Bagalana
Nickname: ‘Madiba’
Date of birth: February 2
Club: Uganda Golf Club
Started playing: 2007
Level: Professional
Turned pro: 2018
Kit: TaylorMade RFI, R15
Pro Honours: Six cuts on Safari Tour, 2021 UGC Captain’s Prize
Favourite holiday destination: Pretoria, South Africa
Dream Car: Porsche