For Ronald Rugumayo, the year 2022 will perhaps be a year of mixed emotions.
The Toro-born and bred golfer once again showed why he is rated the best professional in the country with a series of impressive performances in and out of the country.
But when it came to the Magical Kenya Open, which is the biggest golf tournament in the region, Rugumayo came up short. That Rugumayo failed to make the cut wasn’t a surprise especially when you consider that more revered names like Robson Chinhoi and Dismas Indiza also lasted just two days at Muthaiga.
Instead it was the manner in which he missed the cut that disappointed his growing legion of fans in the golf family in Uganda. In fairness to him, this was his first appearance at a tournament that is part of the prestigious and lucrative European Tour and it would be unfair to judge him harshly.
“I was undone by experience,” a disappointed Rugumayo remarked after returning from Nairobi in March.
“I will work hard to return to Nairobi for the Magical Open next year.”
And true to his word, Rugumayo is playing like a man with an eye to exorcise the demons of first appearance at the Magical Kenya Open. First he finished runner up to Chinhoi in the 2022 Uganda Open at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa, an event which was the first round of this year’s Safari Tour.
Rugumayo has made the cut in all events of the Safari Tour this year and is a strong favourite to qualify for the Magical Open of 2023, which is likely to be played at Karen Country Club in Nairobi. The year also saw Grace Kasango turn professional.
Mention must also be made of former national team golfer Rodell Gaita who has become a consistent performer on the Ugandan tour and should be a formidable competitor in 2023. In the amateur ranks, the story of the year was written by Andrew Sekibejja.
The Kigo-based golfer, who only learnt the game five years ago, stunned himself and the country when he won the Uganda Open in October. To win the crown, Sekibejja had to hold off a furious fight from seasoned golfer Michael Tumusiime. It was a remarkable victory for the golfer who was sponsored by his club, Serena, and wasn’t anywhere among the pre-tournament favourites.
The year 2022 was also when Michael Alunga finally came of age as an amateur golfer. The diminutive Alunga became a dominant name on the Kenyan amateur tour winning three events and has now earned himself a scholarship at Livingstone College in the US.
He is due to travel there this week. In the women’s game, Peace Kabas- weka had a year to remember, triumphing in the Entebbe Ladies Open and Uganda Golf Club Ladies Open.