Philip Shiharsy from Kitale is the 2023 NCBA Golf Series Grand Finale champion.
Playing off handicap three, Shiharsy fired 75 gross to floor other 108 players in the final from the gong at the lush Sigona Golf Club on Friday. The feat earned him a trophy and Sh100,000.
"I came much earlier for the tournament, so I had enough time to practice. This victory is a culmination of hard work and dedication, and I am grateful for the opportunity to compete at such a high level, I played 27 holes a day before the event, this shaped my drivers, chips and putts," he underlined.
Asked about his opinion of the tournament that is now in its third edition, Shiharsy said: "It is a well-organised competition, the golfers were well taken care of.
"The series has been a fantastic platform for golfers like me, and I appreciate the support and the competition it brought."
Shiharsy said the victory really means a lot to him and the family as it will be an inspiration to the junior players he's training back home at Kitale Golf Club.
"I'll go home, train hard and prepare to defend the 2024 series season," he said.
The Men's Category witnessed intense competition, with Peter Tumusiime from Uganda securing the top spot with a score of 76 gross, showcasing the regional diversity and competitive edge of the series.
He beat Kakamega Sports Club’s Cedric Konzolo who claimed the second position with a commendable score of 77 points, showcasing the depth of competition in the series.
In the ladies category, Louisa Gitau claimed victory with a score of 84 gross. She defeated Jaini Shah on countback, whose efforts secured her the second spot in the division after returning identical scores.
For their effort, all the top three winners of the Series Grand Finale each took home a cash prize of Sh100,000 to celebrate their outstanding achievements on the course.
Among the juniors, Telvin Thuku excelled with an impressive score of 89 gross, securing the top spot and showcasing the promising future of junior golf in the region.
In the Nett categories, Josephine Chesang and Jimmy Akhonya emerged as champions among the ladies and men, respectively, with nett scores of 73 and 68.
Meanwhile, Rahab Thuo claimed victory in the Nearest to the Pin challenge, while John Kariuki and Ugandan Peace Kabasweka triumphed in the Longest Drive challenge among the men and ladies’ categories, respectively.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, NCBA Group Managing Director, John Gachora, commended the participants, stating: "The Series Grand Finale was a testament to the caliber of golfing talent in the region.
We witnessed remarkable performances, and Philip Shiharsy's victory reflects the competitive spirit that defines this series."
Sharing his insights on this year’s series, Gachora added: "The Series has been a celebration of talent, sportsmanship, and community.
"It's heartening to witness the passion for golf in the region and the camaraderie it fosters. "As a bank, supporting such initiatives aligns with our commitment to promoting sports development and community engagement.
He further added: “This series has grown beyond being a tournament; it's a platform that unites golfers from diverse backgrounds and skill levels. The success of this series is a testament to the remarkable golfing talent in East Africa."
Having expanded its reach across East Africa, the 2023 Series solidified its status as a regional sensation.
The series third edition, attracted over 3,500 golfers, providing a platform for friendly competition and talent showcase.
The series kicked off in March at the Kenya Railway Golf Club, followed by qualifiers hosted at various clubs across Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.
The Grand Finale at Sigona Golf Club was the culmination of the series, marking the end of a successful season.