What you need to know:
- Magical Kenya Debut. The Tooro Club star becomes the first Ugandan to play at the Kenya Open since it became part of the European Tour.
Ronald Rugumayo put in his first practice session at Muthaiga Golf Club yesterday after arriving in Nairobi the night before knowing he comes up against the very best in the game.
Uganda’s lone ranger at the cash-rich Shs4b Magical Kenya Open, scheduled for March 3-6 at the historic Muthaiga, will be swinging and putting in uncharted but dream territory.
The 30-year-old knows the course very well having played there several times, including the final Safari Tour leg, where he finished fourth to help his qualifying consistency earn him the wild card to the Magical Kenya Open.
Now in his fourth year as a professional, Rugumayo’s dream could not be realer. “I have always wanted to play in bigger Opens,” he told Daily Monitor and NTV Press Box.
“Of course I played in the 2017 Kenya Open but then it was not a European Tour event... I’m the first Ugandan to make it to the tournament and I know the expectations.”
Rugumayo has the likes of Kenya’s big hitter Dismas Indiza and Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi to aspire to match or better.
The two topped the leaderboard in qualifying for the Magical Kenya Open.
And that is not to mention last year’s Magical Kenya Open winner, South Africa’s Justin Harding, and seasoned Europeans.
But Rugumayo says he will focus and play his own game and not worry about what others will do. Besides, he is just one of the many underdogs, here.
“All I have to do is survive the first two days,” said the affable Rugumayo, “That will see me make the cut and we can take it from there.
“I just have to focus and swing well. Yes I know I’m coming up against more advanced and seasoned players but I just have to play my game and play well.”
Going into the final qualifying leg, Rugumayo was not even a serious contender, with Uganda’s seasoned professional Deo Akope and Malawian Paul Chidale among others ahead of him.
“I was drawn against Chidale and I knew I had nothing to lose. So I played with that attitude. That’s how I have to approach this as well.”
In the qualifying Safari Tours Rugumayo played, consistency was his best friend. He kept just near the pace setters.
He never allowed the missed cut in Limuru drown him, picking himself up to make it at Karen, with his nearest challengers missing out. So I had the momentum.”
The Tooro Club golfer, whose stellar fourth-place finish in the final Safari Tour leg at Muthaiga, will hope for similar consistency and lady luck in this star-studded field.
ROAD TO MAGICAL KENYA OPEN
POINTS FROM SAFARI TOUR LEGS
1. Dismas Indiza (KEN) 372.5 pts
2. Robson Chinhoi (ZIM) 364.2
3. Simon Ngige (KEN) 326.3
4. Ooko E. Obura (KEN) 284.9
5. Greg Snow (KEN) 223.0
6. Jastas Madoya (KEN) 219.5
7. Samuel Njoroge (KEN) 213.1
8. David Wakhu (KEN) 194.2
9. Mohit Mediratta (KEN) 151.3
10. Paul Chidale (MAL) 148.4
1. Ronald Rugumayo (UGA)
2. Daniel Nduva (KEN)
3. Toto Thimba (RSA)
4. Jayden Schaper (RSA)