After the pressure group finished putting at the par-4 hole 16, Andrew Ssekibejja and Michael Tumusiime were tied for first position with a score of 8 over par as a huge gallery keenly followed the best four players at the 2022 Tusker Malt Uganda Amateurs Golf Open that came to a close on Saturday at Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa, Kigo.
The other pressure group members, Joseph Cwinya-ai who’s last year’s winner and his fellow national team player Godfrey Nsubuga were practically out of contention for the tittle by that time.
After par-3 hole 15, Tumusiime was up by a stroke while Ssekibejja who was playing on home course was breathing on his neck. Matters were levelled at par-4 hole 16 after Tumusiime got a bogey as Ssekibejja got a par, the fan base was set ablaze.
As the players and fans crossed the road for the par-5 hole 17, many were anticipating a playoff between the top two charges but the Entebbe Club fans went into silence after Tumusiime shot a quadruple bogey whilst ‘homeboy’ Ssekibejja who seemingly capitalized on local knowledge went for a birdie to post a five stroke lead heading into the final hole.
As the players prepared to drive their balls towards the 18th hole’s fairway, course marshalls swang into action, preventing fans to get close to the green. This was done inorder to avoid Ssekibejja’s fans from tempering with the greens.
Many watched from a distance as the top four putted in the island greens. Both Ssekibejja and Tumusiime had pars whilst Cwinya-ai and Nsubuga also had the same.
After four rounds, Ssekibejja managed an overall 7 over par 295, five shots better than Tumusiime who had 12 over par 300. Cwinya-ai capped the podium with 16 over par 304 whilst Nsubuga posted 24 over par 312 to finish fourth.
Ssekibejja was the hero of the home course crowd as Lake Victoria Serena members, mostly his fellow artisans put him on their shoulders and whisked him away from the media who had plotted to get an interview right at the 18th hole. Ssekibejja would later address the media at the club house but the fans kept cheering on.
“I feel very excited,” Ssekibejja told the media adding that; “my toughness is always in the last four holes that’s why I finished very strong.”
Ssekibejja had a slopy ending to the front nine as he shot back to back double bogeys in the eighth and ninth holes. Tumusiime meanwhile had an eagle and a par respectively in the same.
Ssekibejja who went to the final day as leader was pulled back and made to play catch-up till hole 16 where he finally evened scores.
“I was very focused that’s why I never succumbed to pressure. The fans were also magnificent and they kept cheering on me from the start to the end,” Ssekibejja said adding that he believes that winning the Tusker Malt Uganda Amateurs Golf Open could open doors for him.
“The other thing is that I am very familiar with all the three players I played against. I know their game that’s why it was easy for me to compete with them,” Ssekibejja added.
Ssekibejja birdied in the holes 2, 5, 6, 13 and 17 whilst Tumusiime who had an eagle in hole 8 managed birdied in holes 5, 7 and 13.
However, Ssekibejja says that he has no plans of turning professional yet but the matter is in the hands of his sponsors, coaches and fans.
The Amateurs Open, which marked it’s 81st staging was the third event of the 2022 Tusker Malt Uganda Golf Open. The ladies and seniors events held earlier on were won by Martha Babirye and John Muchiri respectively.
With the Amateurs Open done, two more events will be played, that is; Pro-Am (25th) and Professional Open (26th-29th).
The lead sponsor of the tournament is Uganda Breweries Limited through the Tusker Malt Lager beer brand. Co-sponsors/partners are; Pepsi, Case Medical Care, Absa Bank, HK Properties including NBS Sport.
2022 Tusker Malt Uganda Amateurs Golf Open Final Leaderboard
- Andrew Ssekibejja – 295 (gross)
- Michael Tumusiime – 300
- Joseph Cwinya-ai – 304
- Godfrey Nsubuga – 312
- Ibrahim Bagalana -313
- Joseph Kasozi – 315
T7. Titus Okwong – 318
T7. Reagan Akena – 318
T7. Edson Kabareebe – 318
T7. Felix Dusabe – 318.