Irene Nakalembe is still in celebratory mood after winning the ladies title of the Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open alias Uganda Ladies Golf Open over the weekend at the event’s 71st staging at Entebbe Club’s par-71 golf course.
Playing on home course, Nakalembe, handicap 4 shot an overall 9 over par 222 (78, 71 & 73) after three rounds of play to claim her maiden Uganda Ladies Golf Open title. She finished three strokes ahead of Kenya’s Mercy Nyanchama who emerged runner up off 12 over par 225. Last edition’s winner Martha Babirye finished third with 19 over par 232.
Nakalembe who has had to wait for seven years to lift the ladies’ most coveted accolade is still busking in glory, adding that the wait has been long but she delights in finally getting the title at her grasp.
“Indeed seven years is a long wait…I’ve been patient, I’ve been in those pressure groups I don’t know how many times, I’ve been second, I’ve been third but there’s no one moment I said I won’t fight again and finally here we are,” Nakalembe said during an interview with NBS The Score TV show adding that there are no words to describe the victory.
Earlier in the year, Nakalembe won a record seventh straight Entebbe Ladies Open title at her home course. She also retained the Ikoyi Ladies Open in Lagos, Nigeria as well as relieving country mate Peace Kabasweka of the Tanzania Ladies Open in Dar es Salaam. She however says that the Entebbe win is special.
“This has been the sweetest (victory) because of the long wait. I wanted this so bad and I realized I had much too much anxiety earlier in the years,” Nakalembe noted adding that this time round she did her home work with her dugout who helped her deliver victory.
Nakalembe admits that there was tight competition and pressure from both foreign and domestic players but she stayed focused. She’s now looking forward to the near future engagements.
“Now I have touched it (Uganda Ladies Golf Open accolade), I know how it smells and I will retain it,” Nakalembe added.
Up next in the Uganda Golf Open schedule is the Amateur Open slated 24th to 27th November at the same venue. This is the main event of the championship and it will be marking its 80th staging.
Tusker Malt Lager is the championship lead sponsor and its partners are; Absa Bank Uganda, Abubaker Technical Services & General Supplies, Britam Uganda, Case Medical Services, Egis Road Operation Uganda, Liquid Intelligent Technologies, National Council Of Sports, NTV Uganda, Pepsi, Pinnacle Security Limited and Uganda Tourism Board.
Uganda Ladies Golf Open final leaderboard
1. Irene Nakalembe – 222 gross
2. Mercy Nyanchama (KE) – 225
3. Martha Babirye – 232
4. Peace Kabasweka – 236
5. Meron Kyomugisha – 243
T6. Gloria Mbaguta – 247
Vicky Elias (TZ) – 247
9. Dianah Nambalirwa – 255
10. Resty Nalutaaya – 256
Past 15 winners of Uganda Ladies Golf Open
2021: Irene Nakalembe
2020: Martha Babirye (Uganda)
2019: Martha Babirye (Uganda)
2018: Neema Olomi (Tanzania)
2017: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2016: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2015: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2014: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2013: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2012: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2011: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2010: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2009: Jasper Kamukama (Uganda)
2008: Melissa Nawa (Zambia)
2007: Mary Karano (Kenya)
Summary of 2021 Uganda Open schedule
Ladies Open: 18th to 20th November
Seniors Open: 19th to 20th November
Par 3 Competition: 24th November
Amateur Open: 24th to 27th November
Pro-Am: 30th November
Professional Open: 1st to 4th December
President’s Shield: 4th December.