Homeboy Nelson Simwa and Mumias-based Dismas Indiza fired two under par 70 each to take early lead in round one of the third leg of 2020/21 Safari Tour at par 72 Vet Lab Golf Club in Nairobi yesterday.
Simwa was impressive in the second nine where he started his game, avoiding bogeys in all the challenging nine holes.
“This is my home club, I know it like the palm of my hand,” he told the Standard Sport.
Simwa had birdies in the 10th, 12th and 18th holes in the back nine, which he cleared with an impressive three under.
Simwa continued with the good run after the turn, scoring a birdie in the first and recording level pars in the second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth holes.
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“The greens were running very fast so I played a lot of regulations.
“The pin positions also gave me hints on where to direct my shots to avoid the tedious bunkers,” Simwa underlined.
The 32-year-old father of two gave credit to his sponsors, Betika, for supporting him financially in the series.
He also thanked his caddy, who gave him pieces of advices in the game when he was stuck on the challenging fairways.
“The caddy was godsend, he cooled me down when I was almost losing my concentration. He gave me tips on how to handle certain balls that landed on complicated areas on the greens,” he said.
Simwa is yet to win any round of the Safari Tour, currently in its third edition, that is used to qualify golfers for the prestigious Kenya Open.
He plans to play two under in each of the remaining rounds as he looks forward to lift the Vet Lab event.
Just like Simwa, Indiza braved the early morning rains to register his best ever score in the season.
He even had an eagle in hole seven which was quite unbelievable.
“My chips and putts were out of this world, they were perfect today,” said Indiza, who played 27 holes on Friday as he stepped up preparations for the tournament.
“I started the season badly in Limuru and this was extended to Royal in Nairobi last week, but I’m glad my fitness is gradually improving.
“I hope to be on fire in the fifth leg in Uganda next month,” Indiza said.
Greg Snow, who won the opening leg in Limuru and Robson Chinhoi (Zimbabwe), the winner of the second leg at Royal, promised to get back to the top of the leader-board today.
“I have started the contest slow and this was complicated by the pin positions on the greens that were quite challenging, but I’m now conversant with the course,” Chinhoi highlighted.
The Zimbabwean’s sentiments were echoed by David Wakhu ( Golf Park) and Robinson Owiti of Vet Lab, who admitted they had rough moments on the pitch.
Missing the ongoing tournament is David Opati of Windsor who withdrew due hand injury.
The contest has attracted 52 contestants who, a part from the trophy, are also fighting for the Sh 1 million purse money on offer.
For the first time this season, the Kenya Open Golf Limited that runs the series has allowed the players to utilise services of the caddies.
“This was allowed after full assessment of the Covid-19 situation in the country,” tournament director Patrick Obath.