For Ronald Rugumayo, the 2023 Magical Kenya Open will live long in the memory.
The Tooro-born golfer, presently ranked as Uganda’s No.1 golf professional, shot an ace on the par 3 No.2 at the par-71 Muthaiga Golf Club in what turned out to be the highlight of his two days in Nairobi last week.
It was a hole-in-one with a callaway chrome soft ball, struck with an 8-iron from 206 yards, that drew applause from the gallery and Mayo as he is known among friends would later be rewarded with a pair of business class tickets by KQ to a destination of his choice where the airline goes in the world.
But it was a rough day one from Rugumayo who carded a five over- par 76 that all but ended his chances of becoming the first Ugandan golfer to make the cut of the DP Tour event whose prize money is upwards of Shs 7bn.
Rugumayo would finish in 143rd position after playing nine-over over the two days and thus failing to make the cut. It wasn’t only Rugumayo who struggled at Muthaiga, however. The region’s top golfers like Robson Chinhoi, Dismas Indiza, Jastas Madoya, CJ Wangai and Greg Snow all came woefully short. None played more than two days at Muthaiga.
Only Mutahi Kibugu, who was followed all through by a partisan gallery, managed to make the cut. He finished one-under over the four days, which saw him pocket a decent Shs 46m.
The lucrative Magical Kenya Open was won by Spain’s Jorge Campillo who shot an impressive -18. Campillo was accurate off the tee and impeccable on the greens. His calmness was key in his ability to hold off late charges from Japan’s Masahira Kawamura and Scotland’s Santiago Tarrio. Campillo put together six birdies and dropped just one shot in the final round at Muthaiga.