For over a year Titus Okwong has not been in the country, and last won a local event in July 2015-the Mehta Open before he relocated to the US for academics.
But he is back for the Uganda Open which he is fired up to win for the first time in his career.
But he is up against a number of fellow hungry youngsters including defending champion Ronald Otile and his school mate at the University of Pretoria, Daniel Baguma as well as national team members, Ronald Rugumayo, Richard Baguma, Becca Mwanja and Adolf Muhumuza who was last year beaten to the championship by Otile.
“I feel confident because I have practiced a lot for it. After I participated in the US Open qualifiers my mentality for the game changed and it helped me sharpen my mind. I can no longer aim for average scores; I will be aiming to play under par in all rounds,” Okwong said.
“Since after the US qualifiers I have put in much practice and I strongly believe I’m well prepared for the tournament because I have been following a strong work ethic that has improved both my physical and mental game,” Okwong stated soon after arriving in the country on Saturday.
Last year, Otile was in imperious form as he ousted his closest challenger Adolf Muhumuza by five strokes, to become the ninth golfer to win back to back open titles since the prestigious event started in 1932.
Otile who will also be heading to the US alongside Baguma after completing their University of Pretoria studies next year is also talking big ahead of tee off.
“To be honest everything on my game has improved. I’m hitting my irons nicely and I’m so comfortable hitting them than before. I now hit them longer and accurate. My putting has also changed and my grip is now different,” Otile stated.
As the Ugandans gear up for the four-day-72-hole tournament, foreign competition including members of the national teams of Kenya and Rwanda will also be itching to snatch the championship from the Ugandans.
In 2015 Ronald Otile stunned the golfing fraternity when he completed a double of Uganda Open wins, topping both the amateur and professionals tournaments.
In the professional event that attracted 59 professionals from 11 countries he edged Zambia’s Madalisto Muthiya by a stroke with a total score of 282 gross after four rounds of 73, 65, 69, and 75, to become the first amateur golfer to claim the professionals crown in Uganda.
Last year he successfully defended his title after rounds of 74, 69, 74, 74 to beat closest challenger Adolf Muhumuza by five strokes.