• Ngige made birdies on the 10th, 13th and at the home green (18th) but against bogeys at the 11th, 14th, 16th
•Charania, Okello and Uganda’s Kasozi are joint second on level par 71.
After a fairytale 5 under par 279 at the Magical Kenya Open, Thika Sports Club professional Simon Ngige was back in the groove with a narrow one-stroke lead over Windsor’s Rizwan Charania, Jacob Okello and Uganda’s Philip Kasozi.
His one-under-par 70 at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club was all that he needed to start his campaign at the summit as the Crown paints Invitational teed off yesterday.
Ngige, who alongside Justus Madoya of Great Rift made the Kenya Open cut, savoured two straight birdies at the third and fourth but dropped a shot at the eighth for a total of one under par in the front nine. The Thika man made birdies on the 10th, 13th and at the home green (18th) but against bogeys at the 11th, 14th, 16th.
“It’s quite a good feeling to start the tournament on the summit, but again it's still early days and too close to call as a shot lead puts me even under more pressure. The essence tomorrow (today) is to hit the fairways with precision and execute a good short game,” said Ngige.
Charania, Okello and Uganda’s Kasozi are joint second on level par 71. “The course played longer due to rains and rough difficulties, but my strategy is to continue to be aggressive. I hit the ball well today apart from one bad swing on 13, leading to a triple bogey.” Charania said.
Joint fifth on one over par 72 are Justus Madoya and Dismas Indiza who struggled a bit on Day 1. Kasozi, who is no stranger on Kenyan courses, bogeyed the par four-first and eighth. But the Ugandan picked himself up to chalk up birdies at the fourth, seventh and ninth holes. The winner of the inaugural event will bag Sh150,000 while second-placed pro will walk home with Sh110,000. Today’s round will see the top 20 make a cut to the next two rounds on Thursday and Friday.