• Kenya wins East Africa Golf Challenge

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  • The victorious Kenya team that won the East Africa Golf Challenge.(Photo Courtesy)The victorious Kenya team that won the East Africa Golf Challenge.(Photo Courtesy)
Nov 11, 2011-

At eleven minutes past 11 o’clock on the 11th day of November, 2011 the news from Arusha, venue of the East Africa Golf Challenge was depressing.

Kenya had lost the opening singles match against hosts and contender for the regional trophy – Tanzania – putting them ahead early in the day, with seven more matches still on the course.

Spurned on by this news and knowing that all eight matches had to count, the team went on to win seven points, regaining the regional crown, held by Uganda for the past two years, and winning by one and half points from Tanzania.

Kenya finished with 21 points ahead of Tanzania on19.5, with defending champions Uganda a distant third on 5.5 points. Rwanda was only a half-point behind on 5 followed by Burundi with 4.5 points.

Things were looking very tight for both Kenya and Tanzania throughout the day. The overnight leaders, Kenya were only half a point ahead of the hosts, Tanzania, the team to beat, going into the final round, as defending champions Uganda proved to be no match this year.

Both countries were tied after the first singles round with 7 points each, and the foursomes and fourball betterball was going to be the decider. Kenya has always struggled in the past with pairings for the foursomes – at both Zone VI and East Africa Challenge – but not this year.

They collected maximum four points in the morning but surprisingly struggled in the afternoon, halving two matches and winning two for a total of 14 points. As the story unfolded in the early afternon, Uganda’s Kasozi was Tanzania’s undoing as he beat F Roman 5/4 in the singles to keep the points between Kenya and Tanzania even.

But slowly, the cards began to fall into place and the Kenyan players were motivated, winning their matches with ease. Kenya number one, Opati was the crucial player meeting Tanzania’s danger man, Adam Abbas who had already won against Kenya earlier in the first round.

He however took the lead early and and held on to a 4/3 victory. Junior international Abraham Abdullahi was, exceptional and deserved the player of the tournament.

In his first outing for the national team, the Naivasha-based golfer won all his matches and contributed to the sweet victory of regaining the regional crown.

He beat Uganda’s Kagyenzi 2up fighting back from all square after the tenth hole. He held on for victory from the 13th hole at 2-up. Mathew Omondi beat Haruna of Burundi, 6/4; Captain Francis Kimani beat Rugumayo of Uganda, 6/5; J M Karanja beat Paul of Rwanda by the same sore; and Robinson Owiti beat Burundi’s Michey 7/5.

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