Kenyan professional Edwin Mudanyi is the winner of the inaugural Savannah Tour golf tournament played today at Muthaiga Golf Club.
Mudanyi carded a round of 4-under par 67 to clinch the title, beating a strong field that comprised 35 pros and 15 top amateurs.
On the first nine, Mudanyi holed birdies at the fourth, fifth, seventh, and ninth holes but recorded bogeys at the third, and sixth for a total of 34. On the back nine, he holed birdies at the 12th, 14th, 15th holes with his only dropped shot coming at the 11th hole for a total of 33.
For his efforts, Mudanyi took home Ksh100,000.
Commenting on his victory, Mudanyi said:
“I played solid. Played some very good tee shots and I made some very good birdies as well. I was anticipating a very strong competitive field and I knew that I had to play very well in order to finish in a decent position in the top 15 and I am glad on how it ended up. This is a great initiative and we thank those who brought it up and getting it going. It is now upon us as players to honour this initiative and take it to the next level by participating in big numbers.”
Meanwhile, Jastus Madoya, Erick Ooko, and amateur Njoroge Kibugu tied at the second position having each carded 2-under par 69, earning themselves Ksh50,000 each.
Madoya played a flawless first nine, holing a superb eagle-three at the fourth hole and a birdie at the ninth for a total of 33. On the back nine, he recorded bogeys at the 11th and 16th holes before closing out with a birdie at the 18th for a total of 36.
Golf Park’s Erick Ooko carded 36 on the first nine courtesy of birdies at the third, fourth, and fifth holes; and bogeys at the second, eighth and ninth. On the back nine he carded 33 courtesy of bogeys at the 12th and 16th holes, and birdies at the 10th and 17th before he closed with an eagle-three at the 18th.
Meanwhile, teen golfing sensation Njoroge Kibugu carded 36 on the first nine courtesy of consecutive birdies at the third and fourth holes and a double bogey at the second. On the back nine, he played bogey-free, holing birdies at the 13th and 17th for a total of 33.
Speaking during the tournament, Taufiq Balala said that the tournament is meant to provide golfers the opportunity to compete regularly and in the process improve their performance at major competitions including the Magical Kenya Open.
“This is a development tour that will be played every week for half a million shillings and we hope from there it can grow into a bigger purse. The conversation has been there for a very long time to see how we can develop golf in Kenya and a lot of focus has been on junior and amateur golf which have attracted a lot of support, but the only thing that was missing was support for the pros. So we needed to go to the next level by starting from somewhere. Instead of asking for support from the corporates, we decided to first help ourselves, each player contributing Ksh5,000 to the purse money for a total of Ksh250,000, and IMG Kenya adding the same amount to achieve the Ksh500,000 target.”
Commenting on the tournament, IMG Kenya Director, Charles Gacheru, said that this was the beginning of a series of events for the Pros by the Pros. “Our goal is to challenge the golf professionals and our elite amateurs to take charge of their destiny, to be responsible for their own performance and tournament preparedness,” he said.
“This developmental tour will be largely self-funded by the players themselves, giving them ownership and say on how their own affairs are conducted. Our role is to support them and to join them in their journey,” he added.
On his part, Professional Golfers of Kenya Captain John Wangai called on more golfers to join the tournament, saying it was open to all; “This is the first tournament and it has attracted 50 players which shows that it is something that is going to grow bigger and I believe that this is the only way we can get our players to play more so that even our performance in big tournaments like Magical Kenya Open can go up. It is only by getting more events and keeping our players busy that we can achieve that. The tournament is open to all players, both amateurs and professionals with the condition that it is not played with a handicap; meaning that all players who sign up to play, does so as professionals,” said Wangai.
Muthaiga Golf Club Chairman Ronald Meru assured the golfers of the Club’s support, saying it is part of their commitment as the ‘Home of Golf’ to elevate the level of Kenyan golf.