The sixth leg of the 2022 NCBA Golf Series teed off at the Par-71 Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort on Saturday with 144 golfers taking to the lush, yet challenging, 18-hole course perched on the Eburru Range of the Mau Escarpment.
In pristine weather conditions, it was home player, Steven Njoroge, who basked in glory as the Division One winner of the leg having carded a round of 34 points. Playing off handicap 15, he was three shots better than clubmate Robin Boyd-Moss, playing off handicap two, who finished the round in runner-up position.
With his effort, Steven makes it a brace of NCBA Golf Series wins at his home club, having sealed the overall win at last year’s tournament at the venue.
In Division Two, Keval Maisuria – playing off handicap 27 – sealed the win having carded a round of 34 points; three ahead of Gilly Fraser, playing off handicap 33, who ended the round runner-up in the category.
Among the guests, Emmanuel Wachira from Naivasha Sports Club, playing off handicap 15, was crowned the winner after he carded an impressive round of 42 points. He finished ahead of fellow guest, Samuel Muchemi, who played off handicap 27, to card a round of 40 points and finish in the runner-up position in the category.
Among the lady golfers, handicap 32 Miriam Smith carded a round of 33 points to claim the win, while Pari Maisuria, playing off handicap 22, emerged the winner among the junior golfers with 38 points. Among the NCBA staff, Head of Client Services – Retail Banking, Rahab Thuo – playing off handicap 33, was crowned the winner after she carded a round of 37 points.
In the nines, Samson Gitau (handicap 15) and Rufus Gichuki (handicap 8) were front nine and back nine winners with 23 and 21 points respectively. In the nearest-to-the-pin contest, Solomon Mumbi took the top prize; while Alex Gichuki and E Wambui took the honours in the men’s and ladies’ longest drive contests.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Tirus Mwithiga, NCBA Group Director for Retail Banking said the Series continues to receive great support from participating clubs for both the junior and amateur events.
“It has been a great Series so far and we are pleased to have received a lot of support from the golfing community and from the clubs that have been hosting us, particularly also with the junior series that has been going on as well in parallel to the main amateur series.
“We have achieved a lot through the series. Last year was very much around spreading our name and our brand, particularly in the areas that we were expanding by opening new branches. We continue to develop the series into a customer appreciation event and continue to be invested in it,” he said.
Commenting on the Series’ expansion into the East African region this year, he said:
“NCBA is present in five countries around Africa and particularly in East Africa in Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. So, we felt that we should extend the great momentum we had built with the series in 2021 into the region. As part of this, we are going to have a leg in Dar-es-Salaam later on in the year which follows the junior tournament we already held in Uganda.”
Speaking about the bank’s focus on the growth of the sport in the county by way of enhancing junior golf, he said:
“Junior Golf is a great developmental platform for our youngsters that are very passionate about the sport. We have partnered with the U. S. Kids Golf in part for coaching but also to offer them a competitive environment where they can hone their skills and develop their game.”
Commenting on the increased support Kenyan golf is getting in the golf of nationwide golf tournaments, Tirus said it is a welcome move which can only go to enhance the state of the sport in the country through what is a collaborative effort.
“We welcome all participants that are helping grow the game in Kenya. We see them as complementary rather than competing because golf as a sport in Kenya needs a lot of investments from corporates. So, we welcome those that have joined us. We are committed to the series and continue to expand it as I have said across East Africa as well, so, it is a welcome development and we think it will all be good for the sport in Kenya,” he said.
The Series now heads to Sigona Golf Club this coming Saturday for the seventh leg.