What you need to know:
- Before his back-to-back birdies ennroute home, Akope, one of the most experienced professional golfers in Uganda and East Africa and who also doubles up as the resident professional at Uganda Golf Club Kitante and the captain of the professional Golfers Association of Uganda, had picked up a double bogey at the 417-yards par four-16th hole
- Akope's level par 71 in the final round gave him a four rounds total of two under par 282, to take home Sh314,348 which included bonus money of Sh104,348
- Indiza, also fired level par 71 in the final round for a total of level par 284 to tie with Ngige in second place
Two birdies at the last two holes of the final round saw Uganda’s Deo Akope clinch the fourth leg of the 2021/22 Safari Tour Golf series at the par 71 Nyali Golf and Country Club course on Wednesday.
Before his back-to-back birdies ennroute home, Akope, one of the most experienced professional golfers in Uganda and East Africa and who also doubles up as the resident professional at Uganda Golf Club Kitante and the captain of the professional Golfers Association of Uganda, had picked up a double bogey at the 417-yards par four-16th hole.
“I had a bad approach shot at the 16th which resulted in a double bogey but my caddie Amos encouraged me and told me to forget about the hole and focus on the remaining two holes. I am happy because I made two good birdies and in particular the down-hill one at the 18th. I am excited because this is the first win for a Ugandan in the Safari Tour, and it's encouragement for the rest of Ugandan pros who are members of the Safari and who look up to me,’’ said Akope.
He had dropped one shot at the first nine’s seventh hole, while before his double-bogey six at the 16th, he had birdied the 15th.
“I have played on this course for many years first as an amateur and later as a professional but I have not been very lucky. Winning here on under is very refreshing and encouraging,’’ added Akope who missed the third leg at the Great Rift after failing to register for the tournament before the deadline and whose level par 71 in the final round gave him a four rounds total of two under par 282, to take home Sh314,348 which included bonus money of Sh104,348.
He beat senior pro Dismas Indiza and Thika Sports Club’s Simon Ngige by two shots. Indiza, also fired level par 71 in the final round for a total of level par 284 to tie with Ngige in second place. He had four birdies and an equal number of bogeys for the day.
Akope thanked the Safari Tour and Nyali Golf and Country Club for keeping the course in great condition, saying the tour has generally improved and that is shown by the way the players have been scoring lately.
“I am happy I was able to catch up with these young men, though I did not play the way I really wanted,’’ said Indiza who is still chasing his first title this season.
Ngige on the other hand, shot two over par which included a bogey at the par three-18th where he shot to the right rough, followed with a poor roll to the greens. Coming to the 18th Ngige was at par with Akope and he needed a birdie also to force a play-off.
He birdied one hole at the front nine and also dropped a shot, to level the first nine, while he started the back nine with two quick bogeys at the 10th and 11th with only one shot recovered at the 17th.
Tying in fourth place was Erick Ooko, Mutahi Kibugu and third leg winner David Wakhu on two over par 286. The youngster Taimur Malik clinched the amateur title though with a poor 13 over 297.
A total of 22 players had made the six over par second round cut in the event which had attracted a field of 65 professionals drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Rwanda.
The tour now takes a shot break with the next event being the Uganda Open which has now been moved from Uganda Golf Club to the Entebbe Golf Club from December 2.
The final leaderboard
Deo Akope (Ug) 75, 68, 68, 71= 282
Dismas Indiza72, 70, 71, 71=284
Simon Ngige 70, 71, 70, 73= 284
Erick Ooko 70, 75, 72, 69= 286
Mutahi Kibugu 71, 74, 69, 72= 286
David Wakhu 73, 72, 68, 73= 286
Robson Chinhoi (Zim) 72, 68, 75, 74= 289
Tranos Muradzikwa (Zim) 72, 73, 71, 73= 289.