What you need to know:
Departure Lounge. Ronald Rugumayo has no time to make merry for his small wins on the road after picking $1,100 (Shs4.1m) for his fifth place finish at the Chief Ikenna Classic Port Harcourt with a voyage to South Africa for iconic events lined-up.
Ronald Rugumayo, affectionately known as Mayo, is gearing up for a challenging yet thrilling phase in his golfing journey.
Throughout the year, Mayo has carved a niche for himself as the first Ugandan professional golfer to make a cut on the Sunshine Tour, Altron Big Easy Tour, and clinch a top spot on the Blue Label Development Tour.
Adding another accolade to his growing profile, Mayo, over the weekend, secured a commendable fifth-place finish at the Chief Ikenna Okafor Birthday Classic in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, pocketing $1,100 (Shs4.1m).
The RwandAir and Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort & Spa co-sponsored golfer shared the fifth position with local talent Sunday Olapade, while Willy Gift emerged victorious with an impressive 11-under score, earning $5,000 (about Shs18m) and a brand new Toyota Prado.
Notably, Mayo made a brief return to Uganda and almost scripted a memorable victory at the 18th Uganda Professionals Open. Dominating the leaderboard for the initial three days, he faced a turn of events as veteran Kenyan golfer Dismas Indiza claimed his sixth coveted title.
On the road
As Mayo returns from Nigeria this morning with a 10-hour layover in Uganda, he is set to embark on a journey back to the Rainbow Nation for three pivotal events that could define his year and potentially set the tone for his future career.
The Joburg Open (November 23-26 at Houghton GC), The SA Open (November 30-December 3 at Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate), and The Alfred Dunhill Championships (December 7-10 at Leopard Creek Country Club in Mpumalanga) are on Mayo's agenda, followed by the Mauritius Open scheduled from December 14-17.
Navigating these tournaments won't be a straightforward path for Mayo, as he is required to compete in one-day qualifying events to secure a spot. For the Joburg Open on November 21, the SA Open on November 28, and the Alfred Dunhill Championships on December 5, Mayo must demonstrate his prowess and finish among the top qualifiers.
Peter Mujuni, Rugumayo’s manager, explained, “He has to compete in one-day qualifying events to make the grade to play in those three tournaments. It is only the Mauritius Open where he has been put on standby. He has to finish among the top 10 in two of the qualifiers and then make a top-four finish for the South Africa Open, which will have three qualifiers running simultaneously at different venues.”
These three events, with a total cash prize of $4.2 million (an estimated Shs15.8b), hold particular significance as they are co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour. The Sunshine Tour is affiliated with the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour, and the South African competitions serve as season-opening events for the 2024-2025 DP World Tour.
As Mayo prepares to take on these challenges, there is an air of anticipation surrounding his potential to make history and conclude the year on a high note. His journey in these upcoming tournaments could pave the way for broader recognition and opportunities on the international golfing stage.
EVENTS ON SCHEDULE
November 21: Joburg Open Qualifier
November 28: SA Open Qualifier
December 5: Alfred Dunhill Championships
December 14: Mauritius Open
4TH EDITION OF THE CIO GOLF CLASSIC
1. Gift Willy (NGA) -11 277
2. Francis Epe (NGA) -9 279
3. Abubakar Mustapha (NGA) -6 282
4. Andrew Oche Odoh (NGA) -5 283
T5. Sunday Olapade (NGA) -3 285
T5. Ronald Rugumayo (UGA) -3 285