What you need to know:
- It was however a close fight between Maara from Limuru Country Club and hot-charging Lejirmah from Kenya Railway Golf Club in the final round of the 54-hole event
- Maara clinched the title at the home green despite dropping a shot after hitting the green on three, and two putts for the day’s four over par 76 and a total of six over par 222
- Nothing however worked for Michael Karanga, the winner of the first three events of the season, as he still struggled with three putting which saw him make a total of seven bogeys
National team Captain Dennis Maara beat Kenya Amateur Stroke Play Champion John Lejirmah and national junior champion Elvis Muigua by one shot, to claim the 2023 Winston Churchill Cup at the par 72 Thika Sports Club course.
It was however a close fight between Maara from Limuru Country Club and hot-charging Lejirmah from Kenya Railway Golf Club in the final round of the 54-hole event where the winner Maara clinched the title at the home green despite dropping a shot after hitting the green on three, and two putts for the day’s four over par 76 and a total of six over par 222.
Earlier, Maara had bogeyed the fifth, seventh and eighth and at the 16th and the last hole, having started the day with a birdie at the first hole.
“Its been very tough for me as I have always been up there but without victory since the Kenya Amateur Match Play title last June,’’ said Maara who will try to play some of the remaining events before the Africa Region Four Championship in June.
On the other hand, the 2022 Golfer Of The Year champion Lejirmah, who needed a par at the last hole to win the event, missed a two-footer putt at the 18th to also bogey the hole and also close the day on four over par 76 and a total of seven over par 223.
“I did not putt well particularly at the back nine where I should have picked up a couple of birdies,’’ said Lejirmah who only birdied the first and seventh, with bogeys on the second, third, 10th, 14th and 17 and 18th.
Both Lejirmah and Muigua took home Sh31,850 while the winner Maara earned Sh63,700.
“I am very happy I played better here than at Muthaiga though I missed many birdie chances which would have easily made me win the tournament,’’ said the 19-year-old Muigua from Kiambu Golf Club who birdied the second, sixth and 14th but three putted the fourth and 12th as well as the 18th to close the day on two over par 74 and tie for the second place on seven over par 223.
Nothing however worked for Michael Karanga, the winner of the first three events of the season, as he still struggled with three putting which saw him make a total of seven bogeys though he was able to make birdies on the fourth, seventh, ninth, 10th and 17th.
“My tournament actually ended when I three putted the 12th, 13th and 14th in addition to the 16th and 18th where I went to the water. I really have a lot of work to do to bring my game back to the way it was at Sigona, Windsor and Muthaiga,’’ said Karanga who tied for sixth place with Uganda’s Andrew Ssekibejja, and Kiambu’s Steve Kiaro on 11 over par 227 which earned them Sh11,466.
A total of 56 players had made the second round cut though it was the top 15 who made it to the money list.
The final leaderboard;
Dennis Maara 73, 73, 76= 222
Elvis Muigua 76, 73, 74= 223
John Lejirmah 72, 75, 76= 223
Chrisphine Owuor 80, 73, 72= 225
Ngondo Kimemia 79, 73, 74= 225
Steve Kiaro 75, 74, 78= 227
Andrew Ssekibejja (Ug) 75, 73, 79= 227
Michael Karanga 74, 79, 74= 227.