When Daniel Nduva broke the hearts of home fans and players to lead a Kenyan 1-2-3 in the Uganda Amateur Open at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort in Kigo last year, Uganda’s best finisher was Joseph Cwinyaai with an aggregate of 293 – a marginal seven strokes off the pace.
And with the nation’s poster boy Ronald Otile, who boasts of three titles in the last five years, not in the main draw due to the Covid-19 pandemic travel restrictions from his base in the US, Cwinyaai will tee off his opening round this morning knowing that the burden of the nation to reclaim the title lies on his shoulders in this 79th edition of the Tusker Malt Lager Uganda Amateur Open at the par-72 Uganda Golf Club (UGC) Kitante course.
Cwinyaai has been in good nick; dominating the local calendar events for the last two years and finishing fourth at the last Open championships in Entebbe and Serena.
The national amateur team captain, too, knows he must rise to the occasion when he is still playing his best golf or else risk fading with nothing to show.
“Previously, I was just a young guy who lacked mental toughness,” said Cwinyaai, a solid handicap +1 golfer. “Now I’m mature. I’ve practiced well at my home course in Fort Portal and have managed some rounds of 71 at Kitante during the build up.”
Cwinyaai, who celebrated his 26th birthday yesterday, gets his campaign underway on the 10th tee at 8.30am in the company of Kenyan George Mburu and the Ugandan pair of Yassin Boy and Reagan Akena and will be itching to reward himself this week.
Cwinyaai is not the lowest handicapped player at this edition with national star Denis Asaba, Tanzanian long-hitter Victor Joseph and the Kenyan duo of Mutahi Kibugu and Simon Njogu all ranking better at handicap +2.