The Ugandan’s now get an opportunity to play and learn more about the game
Five Ugandan golfers get another rare opportunity to compete in the U.S Amateur Golf qualifiers at Pebble Beach course on Tuesday.
Last year, Titus Okwong, Daniel Baguma and Ronald Otile played in their first U.S qualifier, but were nowhere near the qualifying mark in the one day event that attracted 78 players.
Otile returned 150 gross (76, 74) over two rounds with Okwong-151 (76, 75) a stroke down while Baguma (76, 78) was a further four strokes behind Otile; 22, 23 and 26 strokes respectively behind the winner of the qualifier Jacob Solomon of Dublin who returned, -16 (128 gross).
The Ugandan’s now get an opportunity to play and learn more about the game and have already attracted attention in the US media where they have been hailed as good golfers.
They have worked with Sam Puryear Jr., who is the Reynolds boys’ golf coach, but also has his own company that mentors junior golfers at Tanglewood Park where he held a junior golf camp with help from the Uganda golfers as well as Blake Brantley, a rising junior at Reynolds
“They are all really good golfers already,” said Puryear, a Winston-Salem native and former head coach at Michigan State and assistant at Stanford.
“I just kind of gave them little things to work on and some of it is parts of the mental game. They all can play and they all can shoot under par on a regular basis.” Puryear said of the Ugandans
Puryear also hopes to give the Ugandans more opportunities with maybe landing a scholarship at a college in the United States through golf. Okwong is already doing that at the Livingstone College in the US.
“It’s a great opportunity to come over here and play,” Otile said. “Coach is trying to help us with our short games.”
Baguma says they all realize what a great chance this has been to come to the United States and learn more about the game.
“It’s a very big opportunity and it’s a chance to explore the other side of the world and how the game is played over here,” Baguma said. “It’s another step in our development.”
US based golf enthusiast Mac Stevenson is facilitating their stay in the U.S.