Towards the Easter holiday, the inaugural Pearl Tour golf series teed-off at Uganda Golf Club’s (UGC) par-72 course in Kitante with nine Ugandan professional (pro) players gracing the first circuit.
The Pearl Tour is an initiative of about five professional golfers who are members of the UPGA (Uganda Professional Golfers Association).
The maiden circuit was played in two rounds (36 holes) and the pros that participated are; Phillip Kasozi, Abbey Bagalana, Brian Toolit, Hussein Bagalana, Herman Mutawe, Ronald Rugumayo, Becca Mwanja, Farayi Chitengwa and Richard Baguma.
Rugumayo emerged winner with 2-under par 142 after managing a gross score of 72 and 70 on day one and two respectively, claiming the biggest chunk of the 2 Million Shillings pro kitty for the tournament.
Philip Kasozi and Richard Baguma tied second with 2-over par.
According to one of the event initiators, Abbey Bagalana who shot 12-over par in the opening circuit, one of the Pearl Tour’s aim is to spur competition amongst pros and also possibly spark interest in pro golf as a career in the near future.
“We are about five people who came up with this idea so that we can be able to compete,” Bagalana who has had stints at pro events outside Uganda said.
Ugandan pros have few local/domestic events they can play in and the Pearl Tour could become a game changer especially if it becomes viable in the near future.
The tour started without a sponsor but the players sunk in their own funds to kick start proceedings.
“What we are doing now is we as pros, we are putting in our own money. We put the funds together and then share the kitty,” Bagalana noted adding that they hope sponsors can join them so that the tour can broaden its wings across the Pearl of Africa.
Bagalana further adds that the series will be held monthly and will rotate around the country in the near future but for the start it will be played at UGC.
Going forward, the organizers plan to have the circuits held in the standard four rounds with Bagalana saying that; “we shall have to adjust with time when we get sponsors.”
Bagalana also revealed that most golfers are impressed with this development and now want to compete in the next edition due early next month which he anticipates will have a bigger number of pros and gross players as well.