Bujumbura — Kenya was tied in second place with hosts Burundi at the close of the opening round of the 72-hole stroke play qualifying rounds in the 2019 Africa Region 4 golf championship at the par 71 here at the Bujumbura Golf Club.
Zubair Khan, one of the two juniors in the Kenya team, fired one under par 70 as the two senior players Samuel Njoroge and Simon Njogu posted six over par 77 for the team’s 224, same as Burundi’s A team, who were led by Harerimana Moussa, who shot one over par 72 supported by Toyi Saidi’s 75, while the third score was contributed by Hakizimana Salumn, who fired 77 to complete his team’s 224.
However, taking an early lead going into the afternoon’s second round was Tanzania posted an impressive 215 gross, that included Victor Joseph and Abbas Adam’s level par 71 each, while Ally Mcharo fired two over par 73.
Both Kenya and Burundi earned 2.5 points, while the leaders Tanzania had three points. Defending champions Uganda were four shots behind Kenya and Burundi in fourth place with 228.
Godfrey Nsubuga’s 75 was the best round for the Ugandans, while Rodell Gaita fired 76 and the third score, a 77 was posted by Joseph Chinywai.
Burundi’s B team was next on 240, while in last place was Ethiopia with 244 gross.
This year the East Africa Golf Confederation decided to change the format from the usual 18 hole stroke play qualifying round to 72 because of the low turn-out this year.
After the 72hole on Friday, the top two teams based on the points ranking will vie for the Gold and Silver, while the rest will fight it out for Bronze.
“We made a number of bad putts in the morning but we will definitely try and correct some of those mistakes in the second and the subsequent rounds,” said Kenyan team captain Samuel Njoroge, who was one under par at the turn of the second round.
He said the course was playing well though one has to be real careful on the tricky greens.
The Bujumbura course is in great condition this time round compared to when Burundi hosted the then East Africa Challenge Cup in 2012.
Kenyan green keeper Naftally Kibuku from Sigona Golf Club has been working round the clock to prepare the course for the event.
Kibuku said the course is small with nice grass which can easily be transformed into a super nine hole course with good equipment.
“I did my best to make sure that the course is in good condition and ready to host the championship which has brought some of East Africa’s top amateurs,” said Kibuku.