Zimbabwe's Chinhoi wins Uganda Pro Open

Monday December 07 2020

In top gear. Chinhoi started the final day with a seven-stroke lead and there was no way to stop him winning the Uganda Pro Open. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO.

By Innocent Ndawula
By Allan Darren Kyeyune

Having started the final day of the 15th Tusker Malt Lager Uganda Professionals Open with a seven-stroke lead, it was always going to take a collapse of gigantic proportions for Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi not to lift the ‘Holy Grail’ of the Shs100m money-spinning event.

After rounds of 71, 66 and 69, the bubbly Chinhoi was unbelievably 10-under for tournament - scores only comparable to the bigger leagues like Professional Golf Tour (PGA). 

His closest challenger - the spirited Phillip Kasozi of Uganda - was three-under for the tournament – whereas the celebrated Deo Akope was two-under.

And with a gallery, in hundreds, swarming the par-72 Kitante course yesterday with some Dutch courage hoping that a Ugandan could spring a surprise, Chinhoi cast any such thoughts quickly out of the window.


Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO.

Two eagles
He started his round like a house on fire with two eagles;  on the par 5, No.1 and the par 5, No.3. 


After five holes, the Zimbabwean, who has been in Uganda for over a month adapting to the local conditions and spoke lots of Luganda during his 19th hole speech, was in a league of his own at five-under for the day and 15-under for the tournament.

It didn’t change, too much, thereafter even after the afternoon downpour as Chinhoi held firm to finish as winner with a championship course record of 15-under 273 after ending with 67.

“This is my biggest career win,” exclaimed the 29-year-old after receiving his two trophies and a cash prize of $5,920 (about Shs21.8m) from Safari Tour’s Patrick Obath, local golf boss Moses Matsiko, Uganda Breweries chief Alvin Mbugua and NCS representative Mark Ssali. 

“Today, I just told myself, I am not going to change anything. I stroked it well and got sweet eagles early on,” he said.

Chinhoi’s win is no flash in the pan considering he is the leader of the regional 2020/21 Safari Tour after victory at Royal Nairobi Club and a second-place finish from Sigona Club recently.

Good consolation
Uganda’s consolation was delivered by the poster boy of the local game - Akope - who rolled back the years and exhibited admirable mental fortitude to consistently stay and claim the second spot with an above average aggregate of five-under 283. 

The other Ugandan in the top 10 Kasozi consolidated the fifth position. His reputation remained intact with one-under 287 despite struggling with two-over on the decisive day.