The Kampala based-ladies national team golfer is one stroke ahead of tournament favourite Irene Nakalembe.
Martha Babirye in action on the first day of the Uganda Ladies Open at Entebbe Club. PHOTOS: Michael Nsubuga
Martha Babirye shot an opening round five-over-par 76 to take an early lead as the 78th edition of the Castle Lite Uganda Ladies Open teed off at Entebbe Club Thursday.
The Kampala based-ladies national team golfer, who is chasing her maiden ladies title, is one stroke ahead of tournament favourite Irene Nakalembe, Gloria Mbaguta as well as Tanzania's Ayne Magombe who are all tied in second place after they returned 77 gross each.
Babirye also took the ‘nearest to the pin shoot-out' contest where Entebbe golfer Regina Namata came second and does not rule out winning the championship.
"The course is in good condition, the green are okay and my shots were good today. I came to enjoy and I ended up doing well; when you come to win, sometimes it doesn't work out. I always try to correct my mistakes on the preceding hole that is how I manage my game. Since I'm going to play with the top players tomorrow I think I will try to emulate them and see what happens," Babirye stated.
Nakalembe who is tied in second is also looking forward to further improvement in the second round.
"It was a tricky day, but the course is in very good shape; it is us the players who have failed to take advantage. I was putting very well but I had two bad holes; nine and twelve where I had triple and double bogeys. I had a bad tee shot on number 9 went to the trees and couldn't come out and on 12 my ball was plugged, but my game will get better tomorrow," Nakalembe said.
Irene Nakalembe in action on the first day of the Uganda Ladies Open at Entebbe Club
Tanzania's Magombe just like many players praised the course but her game.
"The course is beautiful and nice but it runs a lot as you get to the green and I had a tough time on the front-nine but the back-nine was much better, I played one-over. The greens are pretty tough but good. My long game was perfect but my putting was a little bit off, so I have to watch out on the first nine tomorrow but ," Ayne who shot three birdies on the day said.
Defending champion Angel Eaton is three strokes behind the leader and blamed her short game for her early slip.
"I got a triple bogey on the par-5 hole-No 9 and on the back nine on hole-No.14 and 16 were problematic too but generally I didn't play very well today. My chipping and putting weren't good but I'm just going to put my head down and try to master my game tomorrow (today)" Eaton said.
Day-One leaderboard (Top 10)
Martha Babirye (UG) 76
Irene Nakalembe (UG) 77
Ayne Magombe (TZ) 77
Gloria Mbaguta (UG) 77
Hawa Wanyeche (TZ) 78
Mwongeli Nzioka (KEN) 78
Vicky Elias (TZ) 79
Angel Eaton (TZ) 79
Petra Nalwoga (UG) 79
Neema Olomi (TZ) 80