What you need to know:
- Okello got off well picking a birdie at the par five-first hole and at the second, before dropping shots at the fourth and eighth.
- He made three birdies at the back nine’s, 14th, 15th and the home green for the day’s 68.
in Entebbe, Uganda
Kenyan Justus Madoya blasted his way to the top of the leaderboard with an excellent round of six under par 65 as the 2021 Tusker Malt Uganda Open teed off at the par 71 Entebbe Golf Club course Wednesday.
Madoya, who won the event at the same course in 2019, dropped two shots at the front nine, where he also picked up birdies at the first and second holes and later at the fifth.
It was however at the back nine where the birdie-hungry Madoya picked up his first birdie at the 11th, holed a two at the par four-14th, then wound up the round with birdies at the 15th and 18th, to grab a two shots lead from Zimbaabwe’s Victor Mapwanya, who had led earlier with a fine score of four under par 67.
“The greens are far much better than the last time I played here and I really enjoyed by putting today. I do hope I can maintain this pace until the end," said Madoya.
Mapwanya had set the ball rolling, despite having dropped a shot in each nine, as the field of 96 players began the four-day journey in hunt for cash prizes and points towards the 2022 Magical Kenya Open.
He picked up a bogey at the par four-fifth hole, which he quickly recovered with a birdie at the 577-yard par five-seventh, to level the front nine.
"I hit a good driver to the centre of the fairways, just 100m out, but made three putts. All the same, I am very happy with this round, it helps build the confidence I need to win one of these events," said Mapwnya.
He made birdies on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and finished the back nine with a birdie at the 18th for a low 32 and the day’s 67, which gave him a shot better than defending champion and compatriot Robson Chinhoi, who shot three under par 68 to tie for the second place with Kenya’s Jacob Okello in the opening round.
Chinhoi said he was happy with his opening score which he said had given him the confidence he needed at the start of the tournament.
Okello got off well picking a birdie at the par five-first hole and at the second, before dropping shots at the fourth and eighth.
He made three birdies at the back nine’s, 14th, 15th and the home green for the day’s 68.
A group of four others closed the day on two under par 69. They included former winner Dismas Indiza, who also started with a birdie, but bogeyed the second and ninth at the front nine, where he managed to level the nine after a birdie at the eighth.
He was doing well at the back nine until he made a double at the 17th, having earlier birdied the 10th, 11th, 14th and 18th.
“I feel like I can shoot even lower than 69 here if I am able to stay on course and make my putts. The course is in its best condition and easy for one to make good scores if you stay on the fair way and hit the greens on regulation’’ said Indiza, who was joined on 69 by Zambian Chanda Bwemya, Uganda’s Abraham Ainamani, Philip Kasozi and Golf Park’s Tony Omulli.
The leader board;
Justus Madoya 65
Vistor Mapwanya(Zim) 67
Robson Chinhoi 68
Jacob Okello 68
Chanda Bwemya 69
Dismas Indiza 69
Abraham Ainamani 69
Philip Kasozi 69
Tony Omulli 69