• Its my irons which did the work for me today as I only made six fairways-Odoh
• Indiza birdied first hole but quickly picked up a bogey at the second though he recovered the shot at the ninth and made three birdies at the back nine.
Nigerian professional Andrew Odoh who appears to have picked his form at the right time, produced a bogey-free five-under par 66, to claim a one-shot lead at the close of round one in the Safari Tour ninth leg at Karen Country.
Odoh, who is chasing one of the three slots reserved for the visiting players at this year's Kenya Open, picked up two birdies at the first nine’s sixth and the ninth, in addition to two back to back birdies at the 11th and 12th with a late one at the 16th, to finish ahead of Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi who fired four-under-par 67.
“It's my irons which did the work for me today as I only made six fairways, one of the reasons why I am at the range right now to try and get it right’’ said Odoh, who shot seven under par during Saturday’s Pro-Am, a clear indication that he is definitely on the right track for the Magical Kenya Open and the Kenya Savannah Classic.
Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi, who has so far won three events in the Safari Tour — including the Uganda Open, played a low 31 at the front nine where he made birdies on the first, seventh and eighth and at the ninth. He however made a six at the par-five-11th but quickly recovered at the 12th for a fine 67 which gives him a great chance for a fourth title in the 2020/2021 Safari Tour series.
“My game is definitely good at the moment and gives me a great chance not just making the cut in the Open but win the tournament altogether," said Chinhoi, who has been camping in Kenya since the season started.
“Staying here has really helped my game a lot and I am playing much better than when I joined the Safari Tour," added Chinhoi, who attributed his good round on putting.
The first round produced 12 under par scores while 18 players played level par and better which shows the high level of golf being played this week.
Those on under-par scores included long-hitter Dismas Indiza, who shot three under 68 to tie for third place with John Wangai of Sigona and Zimbabwe’s Visitor Mapwanya.
Indiza birdied the first hole but quickly picked up a bogey at the second though he recovered the shot at the ninth and made three birdies at the back nine.
Wangai on the other hand played a bogey-less front nine and went four-under until he dropped a shot at the par-three-14th.
Mapwanya recovered from an awful seven at the par five-sixth to finish the front nine on one-under after making birdies on the seventh and eighth and three more at the back nine to also finish the day on 68.
It was a good start for two of the local amateurs Paul Muchangi and Naomi Wafula. Muchangi shot one under par 70 while Wafula who is seeking his second cut in the tour shot two-over-par 73 in the opening round.
“I am happy I started well today, I think playing in more events in the tour has really helped my game a lot and I look forward to playing even better tomorrow’’ said Wafula.
With the prize money having been increased from one million to Sh2.5 million and the winner taking home Sh375,000, this week’s tournament is likely to be a tough affair with the second round where everyone will be all out to make the cut.
The Leader board;
Andrew Odoh (Nig) 66
Robson Chinhoi (Zim) 67
Visitor Mapwanya (Zim) 68
John Wangai 68
Dismas Indiza 68
Mohit Mediratta 69
Dennis Saikwa 69
Rizwan Charania 69
Simon Ngige 69
David Wakhu 69
Samuel Njoroge 70
Paul Muchangi 70