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Kenya to defend East Africa Golf Challenge title

By Jonah Onyango and Ernest Ndunda   

Golf Park’s David Opati will captain the national golf team to this year’s East Africa Challenge Trophy at the Bujumbura Golf Club between November 7 and 9 in Burundi.

Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman Alfred Kariuki unveiled the team yesterday when they also received the national flag from Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba at the Ministry of Sports offices.

The team comprises Opati,  Vet Lab’s duo of Nelson Simwa and Mathew Omondi, Railway’s John Wangai, Sigona’s Kush Mediratta and Nyali’s Daniel Nduva, Mathew Wahome, Adel Balala and Abraham Abdullahi.

“The team is the best and we are confident they will successfully defend the title in Burundi. We tried to mix the team to have junior players integrate with the senior ones as we plan to recruit more juniors to the national team gradually to replace the likes of Opati in future,” said Kariuki.

The team won the title last year in Arusha and will be seeking to retain it when they take the course in Bujumbura. The squad, to be coached by Charles Farrar, is expected to leave the country next Monday, have a practice session on the same day and Tuesday before going into action on Wednesday. The format at the tournament will be matchplay.

As he handed the national flag to the national team Monday, Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba said: “I hope you are going to be our good ambassadors in Burundi.”

Namwamba, however,   challenged KGU and other stakeholders to develop the sport at the grassroot levels.

“The KGU should work hard to develop the game and help Kenya qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil,” he said.

Mixed pot bogeys

Meanwhile, former Nyali Golf and Country Club Lady  Captain  Christine  Ockotch  posted a sterling 39 points to win the 2012  Total Kenya  Golf tournament title  at Nyali, at the weekend.

Playing off handicap 16, Ockotch  had posted  four level pars on the  par four-second, the par three-third, the par  three-sixth and the par  four-eighth holes  with  mixed pot bogeys to bring 20 points in the  outward nines.

She returned posting only  a level par on the par four –16th hole and gained four more points for the birdie with mixed bogeys on the rest to add 19 points from  the front nines and emerge  the overall winner of the day.

“Winning  this event is today my  greatest moment  in golf. I have been playing  serious golf but today’s results has lifted up my spirits,’ said Ockotch.

Total Kenya limited sponsored the one day stableford tournament  that attracted 150 golfers from the home club, Mombasa, Leisure, Malindi and guests  and staffs of the sponsors with valid handicaps.

Handicap 13 Martin Wahome was the runner up on a  count back score of 38 points  after tying  on the same points with  handicap 13 Thusara De Silva who was placed  third  while the fourth slot  was taken by  handicap 16 Johnstone Wamunyua.

 Alice Wahome, playing off  handicap  19, was the lady winner on 34 points  and handicap  16 Florence Karimi  was the  runners on a score of 33 points.

 Said Hamada, playing off handicap  six, was the best junior on 37 points, while his  younger brother  Suhel Hamada, playing off handicap 17, was second on a score of  36 points.


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