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Indiza and Chinhoi playoff is a manifestation of how cream always rises to the top

GOLF By Vincent Wang'ombe | February 26th 2021
Safari Tour 2020/2021 season winner Dismas Indiza hits his approach shot on the par-four second during the final at Karen Country Club, February 24, 2021.[Mose Sammy, Standard

The Barclays Kenya Open in 2015 at the Karen Country Club had a dramatic end when Haydn Porteous and Brandon Stone were tied at 17 under par after the final round.

It was the first time I was involved in playoff as a referee. The Chief Referee at the tournament, Paul Carrigill, explained to the two golfers that they would have a sudden-death playoff on the 12th hole.

Sudden death playoff is the tie-breaker that is favoured by the European Tour and the PGA Tour. The player with the lowest score on the hole was going to win the tournament.

However, if they got the same score, they would have to repeat playing the hole until there was a winner.

Stone hit his tee shot into the greenside bunker and managed to get a par. Porteous on the other hand hit his tee shot onto the green and made a birdie to win the tournament.

This week, at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season of the Safari Tour at the Karen Country Club, it was a case of déjà vu when Dismas Indiza played five under par, 66, on the final round to tie with Robson Chinhoi, who played two under par, 69, to finish their rounds at 14 under par.

We had to have a winner of the tournament and the playoff method that has been adopted by the Safari Tour is three holes aggregate score.

The players were going to play the seventh, eighth and ninth holes and the winner on the three holes would be the champion.

Safari Tour 2020/2021 season winner Robson Chinhoi lines his putt during a practice round at Karen Country Club, February 24, 2021.[Mose Sammy, Standard

In the event that they were still tied after the three holes, they would proceed to sudden death over the same three holes.

What we were playing as the seventh, eighth and ninth holes are actually the club 10th, 11th and 12th holes: the very same 12th hole that Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous played in the sudden death in 2015.

We changed the order of the holes to conform to how the holes will be played at the Magical Kenya Open this year.

As the chief referee at the tournament, I explained to the players the format we were going to use for the tie-breaker.

When we arrived at the teeing area, many Karen Country Club members told me they expected us to have a sudden death on their 12th hole and I explained to them that this is the method we have adopted on Safari Tour.

Indiza and Chinhoi were still tied after the three holes hence the sudden death playoff on the seventh hole (club 10th). Indiza played a birdie on the hole and won the tournament.

It was befitting that after the nine tournaments on the 2020-2021 Safari Tour series, the top two players on the order of ranking, finished with a sudden death playoff.

Playing in similar conditions to what they are expected to get at the Magical Kenya Open, members of the Safari Tour have had a tremendous season.

As Indiza and Chinhoi lead the charge of the Safari Tour contingent of 15 golfers to the two European Tour events, we shall see our best golfers on Safari Tour finishing in the top 10.

Wang’ombe is the General Manager of Kenya Open Golf Limited

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