By William Muwonge
Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open Championship
Day leader board
Amateurs (top 10)
M. Ochaya 72
D. Muhumuza 73
P. Kasozi 74
W. Kitata 75
H. Robert 75
R. Oluba 75
F. Alam 75
A. Bagalana 76
R. Otile 76
L. Muhenda 76
Professionals (top 10)
D. Ndiza 67
D. Akope 70
D. Odhiambo 71
D. Anguyo 71
E. Ooko 71
F. Matilo 73
J. Karanja 73
E. Ndayisenga 73
J. Okello 73
T. Sefatsa 74
Martin Ochaya sounded an early warning to his rivals by taking a one stroke lead as the Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open Championship started on Wednesday.
Playing off handicap 6, Ochaya carded 72 at the Uganda Golf Club (UGC) course, Kitante.
“It is a good feeling to go top and I am optimistic my game will improve in the next rounds,” the Entebbe Club member stated.
“I know it will be difficult as other players are out to step up their game. When you are a leader, there is the pressure to maintain your position.”
The 26-year-old is closely trailed by Toro Club’s Adolf Muhumuza who brought 73 at the course played as a par 71 for this competition. This follows the reduction of yardage to hole number 13 which is now a par 4 having been a par 5.
The 2012 champion and UGC’s Phillip Kasozi is also in contention for the title in domestic golf’s premier event after firing 74.
But the defending champion, Peter Ssendawula made a low key start scoring 77. Ssendawula, who is outside the top ten, attributed his performance to putting problems.
The player, who was visibly unhappy after the game, said, “Lately, I cannot putt well. I also have a new putter that I am yet to get used to.”
Ssendawula won the annual Uganda Golf Union show on his home course and for the first time after a brilliant display.
Ochaya, spurred by brilliant tee shots and chipping and putting that was above average, carded 36 on the front nine and also on the back nine.
Toro Club’s Adolf Muhumuza. PHOTO: Michael Nsubuga
He birdied five holes, was level on seven and dropped shots on six.
Ochaya, seeking his maiden Open title, described the long par 4 number 12 as the hole where he had a difficult time. He was on the green for four and putted once for a bogey.
“I learnt my lessons on this hole and will be a little more careful in the next rounds,” the leader remaked.
Ochaya, who went on the course as a caddie in 2003 and started playing competitively five years later, is making his third appearance in the Open.
The leader is in the main group that drew players of handicap 8 and below. Three more rounds will be played to determine the champion.
There is also a subsidiary group comprising the handicap 9-15 golfers who will compete over 36 holes starting today.
In the professionals’ category, Kenyan player Dismas Ndiza carded 67 to go top of the leader board.
He was three strokes better than Ugandan star Deo Akope while Kenyan entrant David Odhiambo, Uganda’s Denis Anguyo and Eric Ooko, another player from Kenya, fired 71 each.
The professionals, who have three more rounds to go, are battling for a share of sh100m.
Ochaya takes lead at Uganda Golf Open Championship