Michael Karanga on Sunday tied the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC), formerly Golfer of the Year (Goty) eight-year-old record set by Kopan Timbe of 11 wins.
The tournament is one of the toughest on the KAGC calendar of events attested to by the scores and the accolades from those who participated.
“We are glad that we delivered a championship event as VetLab Sports Club and I’m grateful to the team that put this together and to the sponsors and those who participated for making it such a success,” said Anik Patel, Captain of VetLab.
Karanga returned a final round seven-under to break away from the pack even after Ugandan Godfrey Nsubuga who briefly held onto the pole position on the first day at two-under as Isaac Makokha gave chase with nine-over that wasn’t good enough.
He was elated with his win and reiterated his mission was almost accomplished as he heads to the remaining KAGC seven tournaments from where he is guaranteed of shattering Kopan’s records.
He is set to fly out on Tuesday to Ghana where he is set to participate in the 88th Ghana Open which begins on Thursday through Sunday at Center of The World Golf Club in Tema, Ghana.
Karanga has purposed to participate in all the remaining KAGC meets apart from TeaFields Trophy which will coincide with Kiambu Champions Homecoming tournament to be held at his home club, Kiambu Golf Club.
“I’ve finally achieved one of my dreams of equaling Kopan’s record, now all I’m out to break it and set a new one that will take forever to be broken,” Karanga said.
With the win Karanga earned Sh90,762 while John Lerjirma from Kenya Railway Golf Club pocketed Sh39,628 with Nsubuga taking home Sh37,787 from the prize fund courtesy of the KAGC title sponsor NCBA Bank.
Having started the final day two shots apart, Karanga and Nsubuga were the tournament favourites, but things weren’t that rosy for Nsubuga who was playing the VetLab course for the first time and was concerted with his performance.
The Ugandan struggled with the course yardage worsened by the fast paces greens but still managed to maintain his grip and pressure on eventual winner Karanga.
Nsubuga had shot 1-under-72 in the second round while Karanga had a fine 4-under-68 and was the only player in the field to shoot in the reds on the final day at 2-under-70.
“Having not played the course before Day-1, I was motivated by my performance and that spurred me on. I knew I could play well and despite my final round and second place finish, I’m more than glad,” Nsubuga said.
Ranked third on the KAGC standings and 400th in the world, his focus now shifts to the next events as he seeks to play at 2024 Magical Kenya Open.
In the subsidiary tournament played on Saturday, Ongjen Plakalovic playing off handicap 23 was declared the winner on a score of 45 stable ford points with Charles Muteshi coming in second on a score of 40 stable ford points.
Lady winner prize went to a handicap 25, Grace Waiganjo who posted a score of 34 stable ford points.
Best Front nine score prize was won by Wilberforce Nadida (Snr) with 24 stable ford points while the Best Second nine score was registered by Gouri Sharma on a score of 22 stable ford points.
Vimal Shah won in the special category on a score of 46 stableford points.
1 Michael Karanga Kiambu Golf Club 13 1,213
2 John Lejirma Kenya Railway Golf Club 18 547
3 Godfrey Nsubuga Uganda Golf Club 14 430
4 Elvis Muigua Kiambu Golf Club 18 347
5 Dennis Maara Limuru Country Club 13 318
6 Ebill Omollo Vet Lab Sports Club 18 300
7 Josphat Rono Golf Park Golf Club 16 234
8 Sammy Mulama Mombasa Golf Club 18 226
9 Adel Balala Vipingo Ridge Golf Resort 6 219
10 Taimur Malik Muthaiga Golf Club 5 212