Defending champion Ronald Otile returned level par 72 to take an early lead after day one's action of the Tusker Malt Uganda Open at Kitante on Wednesday.
But it was a surprise lead for Otile who in his own words struggled with his game and was only praying for a top-five finish on day one, only to find himself on top.
He is two strokes ahead of the chasing pack that include five players who share joint second spot after returning 74 gross each. Toro Golf Club's Denis Asaba, David Kamulindwa, Richard Baguma as well as Jinja and Kampala's Ismail Muhamood and Asharvin Kananathan respectively are all tied, two strokes off the leader.
"I didn't really expect to lead because the field has a lot of good players from Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda, so when I struggled with my game I thought the rest were playing well, so I was expecting people to play under par and I was only counting myself among the top five," Otile said.
"I started poorly and I was +2 after the first nine but I fought hard to level. The greens had morning dew and held many of my would be birdie shots. But I want to play under par starting starting tomorrow (Thursday); I want to make this open win the best ever and I hope to play better since I will play in the afternoon," Otile who is one of the best handicapped (+2) players in the tournament stated.
Another five golfers are tied in third place, three strokes off while another four including Uganda's Joseph Cwinyai, Collins Ajidra, Herman Mutebi and Kenya's Paul Muchangi are four strokes away after day one.
This promises to be one of the hotly contested opens as another five and seven golfers with 77 and 78 respectively also share joint fourth and fifth place respectively going into the second round.
The tournament is co-sponsored by Case Medicare, HTC Hub, NTV, Mac East Africa (Isuzu), UAP-Old Mutual, Capital Radio and EKSPRESSO.
Day One Top 10
Ronald Otile (UG) 72
Denis Asaba (UG) 74
David Kamulindwa (UG) 74
Ismail Muhamood (UG) 74
Richard Baguma (UG) 74
Ashavin Kananathan (UG) 74
Daniel Baguma (UG) 75
Joseph Mawejje (UG) 75
Adolf Muhumuza (UG) 75
Denis Saikwa (KE) 75
Abraham Ainaman (UG) 75