Golf Park-based Erick Ooko and Kenya Railway Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge tied two under par on day one of the ‘Road to Magical Kenya Open’ golf championship at the Limuru Country Club’s par-72 course on Sunday ..
Ooko, one of the country’s leading professionals, dropped an early shot on the par-four second hole and par-three fifth hole whose pin position denied many players birdie opportunities but managed to level the nine after birdies on the par five-thirds and the short par four-ninth.
He then played a bogey-free regular back nine that included two birdies on the 14th and 18th.
“I was destined for a clean score of five under or better except for the two shots I dropped on the front nine. The pin positions, especially at the fifth and 12th, were definitely illegal pin positions and it’s really disheartening when you play well and drop a few shots because of such bad pin positions” Ooko said.
Njoroge, meanwhile, dropped a shot in the fourth but birdied in the first, ninth and 13th to take an early lead before being joined by Ooko on top at the end of the day.
The two leaders were just a little better than Uganda Open champion Justus Madoya and Riz Charania of Windsor.
Madoya who said he has been shooting under par since returning from Entebbe in Uganda, bogeyed two holes in the front nine against a similar number of birdies in the sixth and ninth and two more birdies in the 14th and 18th with a bogey at the 15th denied him a clean back nine.
“My approach shots, just like in the Uganda Open, have been my strongest in my game and despite dropping a few shorts, it’s still possible to shoot around 12 under par which will give me a big boost as I prepare for the Magical Kenya Open,'” said Madoya of the Great Rift Golf Resort in Naivasha.
A total of 73 players had turned up in Limuru, although 10 players went out in the first round, with five of them shooting over 85 while two others David Odhiambo and Boniface Koskei were disqualified for playing wrong balls and three others withdrew for various reasons. .
But Greg Snow and Edwin Mudanyi finished close behind the leaders, who finished level par 72 while four others led by South Africa-based Daniel Nduva were one on par 73.
The second round begins at 7:30 a.m. Monday.
Samuel Njoroge 70
Eric Ooko 70
Justus Madoya 71
Rice Charania 71
Edwin Mudanyi 72
Greg Snow 72
Robinson Owiti 73
Mutahi Kibugu 73
John Kariuki(A) 73.