What you need to know:
- The Vet Lab Sports Club golfer made history by becoming the first golfer with an hearing impairment to clinch the Kenya Amateur Match Play Championship.
- The 29-year-old Makokha, a brother of Muthaiga based pro Jeff Kubwa and Eldoret based Reuben Kubwa, was four-up at the end of the first 18 holes in the match that attracted a number of golf enthusiasts.
Isaac Makokha will play in next year’s Magical Kenya Open at the prestigious Karen Country Club course.
The Vet Lab Sports Club golfer made history by becoming the first golfer with a hearing impairment to clinch the Kenya Amateur Match Play Championship after beating Jay Sandhu of Royal Nairobi Golf Club 3-2 in the 36-hole final at the par 72 Vet Lab Sports Club course.
The 29-year-old Makokha, a brother of Muthaiga based pro Jeff Kubwa and Eldoret based Reuben Kubwa, was four-up at the end of the first 18 holes in the match that attracted a number of golf enthusiasts.
Surprisingly though, it was Sandhu who took the first hole, a lead which was however cancelled immediately by Makokha.
Recovered some holes
And though Sandhu managed to recover some holes in between, in the 36-hole journey, Makokha held on with his lead all the way to the 34th hole where he halved with a par to claim the title.
It was however the 33rd hole where Makokha was assured of the title, when Sandhu drove out of bounds, while Makokha played safe, chipped onto the green and made a birdie. Before that Sandhu had won the 32nd hole to reduce Makokha’s lead to only two holes.
“This was the toughest match I played this week, but I am happy to have won. Jay Sandhu is a tough player and very experienced, but I had prepared well for the tournament by playing every morning and evening which gave me the confidence I needed,’’ he said.
The handicap one Makokha, who has participated in most of the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series, has never won any event though he has always been picking up some points.
“I am so grateful to everyone who has given me support and enabled me to play well in this tournament, and look forward for the Magical Kenya Open next year. I will from now prepare for it by playing in the Safari Tour if I am invited as I believe playing with the pros will give me good practise,’’ added Makokha, who thanked Sandhu for giving him serious competition.
“At one time, I was worried that I was going to lose the match particularly when Sandhu managed to reduce my lead from five to two, It was such a tiring week having played two rounds every day since Thursday, and I must thank professional Boniface Simwa for having advised me to keep my cool and drink a lot of water, and my brother Jeff for the tips he gave me’’.
Sandhu on the other hand said playing many rounds and without the services of caddies made it tough for him.
“I must admit Makokha is a very solid player with great future ahead of him. I did everything I knew about the game but somehow, Makokha managed to keep cool and made sure he stays up. He is definitely a good player and I congratulate him for his victory,’’ said Sandhu, who won the championship way back in 2001 at Limuru and finished second four times thereafter.
Before reaching the final, Sandhu had beaten John Lejirmah 3-2 in the semi-final where Makokha beat Muthaiga’s Njoroge Kibugu also 3-2.
This year the championship attracted a field of 108 though only 32 players qualified for the match play proper.