•Day One joint leader David Wakhu reckoned that the stroke-play competition will ultimately be dictated by proper self-caddy approach against precision hitting
•With Coronavirus restrictions, golfers across the country have had to make do without the services of caddies and only savoured the help from ball spotters
Golf Park pros dominated the start of the 2020/21 Safari Tour Golf Series at the par 72 Limuru Country Club course with self-caddied play being touted as the elephant in the room.
Day One joint leader David Wakhu reckoned that the stroke-play competition will ultimately be dictated by proper self-caddy approach against precision hitting. Wakhu, his Golf Park stablemate Jacob Okello and Ganeev Giddie fired a decent round of two under par 70 to jointly lead Day one proceedings.
With Coronavirus restrictions, golfers across the country have had to make do without the services of caddies and only savoured the help from ball spotters.
“The golfers who will combine good self caddying and hit the ball well will carry the day. It’s a big challenge golfing without caddies,” said Wakhu, whose two-under included an eight at the par five-fourth hole.
“I started really well from the back nine with fourth birdies on the 10th,11th, 15th and 18th. Going into the front nine, I hit the ball in regulation except for hole four where I picked a triple bogey on the 4th. I hit the driver and lost my tee shot. The essence this week would be to hit the ball in regulation,” Wakhu said.
The other of the three leaders, Okello was left to rue his bogey on the 18th which would have placed him a stroke ahead. Giddie performed well at the back nine, where he picked up three birdies.
“I will never forget that hole number four and I pray that it does not happen tomorrow. I was playing so well until I reached the fourth hole. But not to worry, there is more rounds to be played and I am hoping for a good week,” said Wakhu who, however, said the course was basically playing well.
For Okello, it was the 18th hole which almost threw him out of the leader-board. He drove to the trees on the left, chipped out but missed the green on regulation, to pick up a bogey there which was in addition to two others at the 12th and at the par three-seventh.
“The course is actually playing well at the moment though I found some of the greens a bit tricky particularly at the back nine. I am now playing well as I have all the time to practise since I am doing my own business,” said Okello formerly of Golf Park. In 1998, Okello lost the Kenya Open to Argentina’s Ricaldo Gonzalez in a play-off at Muthaiga Golf Club.
On the other, Giddie birdied the ninth, 12th, 13th and 15th with only two bogeys at the fourth and fifth holes. The three leaders are likely to attract some following this week if they will be able to carry the opening round form to the remaining part of the tournament.
The top three leaders closed the day a shot better than George Felix of Kenya Railway and Limuru’s John Kagiri.
The two fired one under par 71 each to tie for the fourth place with Felix making four birdies at the back nine and a bogey on the first and second nine, while Kagiri also birdied four holes but against three bogeys, one of them at the 18th green.
THE LEADER BOARD (Round 1)
Ganeev Giddie 70
David Wakhu 70
Jacob Okello 70
John Kagiri 71
George Felix Khalakai 71
Mathew Omondi 72
Rizwan Charania 73
Robinson Owiti 73
Greg Snow 74
Njuguna Ngugi 74
Jastas Madoya 74
John Karichu 74
Edwin Inana 74
Sujan Shah 75
Isaiah Omwoyo 75
Kennedy Abuto 75
Dismas Indiza 75