Handicap 16 Okumu stays calm to floor 378 rival golfers in Ruiru Captain prize contest

Ruiru Captain (Jessy Ndegwa) prize with his trophy. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Home player Benjamin Okumu had the last laugh after vanquishing 378 golfers to lift Ruiru Sports Club Captain Jessy Ndegwa 2024 prize with authority.

Okumu playing off handicap 16, inked an envious score of 43 stableford points to triumph over the record-breaking field that graced the tournament from across the country.

After a weeklong action galore which got underway last Sunday with a Junior tournament which was followed by a caddies tournament that was graced by 100 caddies from various clubs.

On Wednesday, the club hosted its staff for a farewell party on Thursday, its Clubnite hosted 250 golfers.

The curtain-raiser Pro-Am on Friday saw a rich field of 50-plus professional golfers play alongside members and visiting amateurs as the pros battled it out for a share of the Sh300,000 purse.

Coast-based Pro Daniel Nduva shot 4-under-69 to take the lion's share of the prize fund followed by Vet Lab Sports Club, Mike Kisia at 3-under-70. Isiah Otuke and Kenya Railway Golf Club were T3 at 2-under-71.

The weeklong gala highlight was the floodlit, 9-hole chip and putt tournament held on the eve of the Captain prize at the chip and putt arena's unique layout. 22 golfers participated in the knockout stages with the final eight heading into the finals  

Which pitted Great Rift Valley Golf Resort Pro Simon Njogu against home golfer General (Rtd) Simon Karanja, who is also the convenor of the chip and putt weekly meet in the finals.

General Karanja had the better of Pro Njogu, thanks to a stroke advantage which presented Karanja a 2/1 win to secure bragging rights and prize money. Resident Pro Sullivan Muthugia was third after defeating Anthony Kimani in the third-place play-off 3/2.

It was pomp and glamour as curtains came down on the weeklong Ruiru Captain Jessy Ndegwa 2024 Captain prize celebrations.

Before ascending to the captaincy, Ndegwa served as the Greenkeeper and later as the vice-captain and Captain for four years, collectively.

He was pivotal in the establishment and development of a progressive 400-yard practice range and a separate chipping and putting area. 

With great improvements on the century-old course while achieving other milestones that have seen the steady growth of the junior golf program at the club with over 100 junior golfers joining the club within the last two years.

The commencement of the Ruiru Open, one of the tournaments under The Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC), was another major achievement under Ndegwa's reign.

He handed over to James Muraguri, the incoming Captain.

The tournament was presented by Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC), Family Bank, CIC Insurance, Mariday Motors, Madison Insurance and AM Communications Limited.

Others were Preston Valley, The Glenlivet, Rainbow Ruiru Resort Cascade Institute of Hospitality, Chloride Exide and Friends of the Captain partnered with the 100-year-old club in presenting a great tournament.

Playing off handicap 16, Benjamin Okumu had the last laugh, returning a sterling score of 43 stableford points to outshine the huge field of home and visiting golfers who strutted the fairways in pursuit of greatness in the tight but well-coordinated field, which saw 350 cards processed out of the 378 who participated. 

"I played management golf and played on regulation. My putting was on point too, after hitting the fairways throughout my round. It is one of those days when everything aligns in your favour. It was my day to shine." Okumu said.

Taking after Okumu was Thomas Mwaura playing off handicap 12 on a who brought back 38 stableford points to take the Men winner prize. Handicap 12, Josphat Kaunda was the Men second prize winner with 35 stableford points.

The category one Lady winner prize was won by Salome Kamau, playing off handicap 20 on a score of 38 stableford points, ahead of the Lady winner second, Catherine Gitonga, who managed 37 stableford points off handicap 15.

In the second category, Margaret Muriu, playing off handicap 26, carded 40 stableford points to win. Naivasha Sports Clubs' Tabitha Kiragu came in second with 39 stableford points off handicap 21.

The First Nine Men prize was won by Dominic Mathu, with 23 stableford points. Johnson Ngugi won Second Nine with 24 stableford points.

The First Nine Lady winner was Jane Mwaura with 22 stableford points. Veronica Mwaura won the Second Nine prize with 33 stableford points.

The sponsor winner prize was won by Wambui Gachoka, playing off handicap 33 on a compact score of 40 stableford points. Kenya Pipeline Managing Director Joe Sang won the Sponsor winner second prize with 35 stableford points off handicap 10.

Ken Luca won the Gross prize with 28 gross points.

Youngster, Alex Ngugi, playing off handicap claimed the Junior prize on a commendable score of 36 stableford points.

The Longest Drive Men prize was won by Raphael Lemingani with Catherine Wambui winning the Longest Drive Lady winner prize. 

Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director who graced the prize-giving dinner announced that the much-awaited KPC Oil and Gas Series will tee off next month in Kitale.

“KPC uses sports and education to tell its story. Because sports is a force for good, by sponsoring golf and volleyball, KPC hopes to give back to society.” Sang said.

The specially-themed series will follow the pipeline and incorporate certain zones near KPC installations/infrastructure.

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