Sensational Muthaiga golfer Greg Snow is the winner of the 2020/21 Safari Tour opening leg that ended yesterday at par 72 Limuru Country Club, in Tigoni.
Snow fired two over par 74 to finish with total four rounds of one over par 289.
Railways’ Samuel Njoroge and Rizwan Charania of Windsor tied in second on two over par 290 each.
Robinson Owiti of Vet Lab was third on three over par 291.
“Emerging victorious in this tournament confirms that my golf is headed towards the right direction,” Snow said.
“The greens were not playing well and this added more pressure for me to win as I was top on the leader board. I’m glad to have lifted the trophy,” said Snow.
The 30-year-old dropped one shot in the first and seventh holes on his race to glory.
He then birdied in the second, fifth and sixth in the front nine.
The back nine was somewhat challenging as he registered only a birdie in the 15th.
“I was so rusty while coming for this event, but my fitness is taking shape after the contest,” said Snow, who was given moral and emotional support by his parents in the game.
Ahead of the next leg at Royal Nairobi Golf Club on Monday, Snow plans to work on his tees.
He will head to Royal this morning to have a feel of the pitch and familiarise himself with the greens.
“We have crazy back-to-back schedules, which means I need to prepare well and maintain my lead in the series,” he said.
“I want to exceed my last edition’s performance where I bagged five legs in the circuit,” he added.
Things went south for Railways’ Felix George Khalakai, who was disqualified for entering incorrect scores.
“My opponent Jastas Madoya gave me wrong results. Instead of filling a six, he marked a five in the par four hole six,” said Khalakai.
“I’m not sure if it was a genuine error.”
The incident not only cost Khalakai cumulative points but denied him purse money from the Sh1 million prize that was shared among the other 20 players who made the cut on Monday.
Khalakai, who turned pro last year in September, was engaging in his fourth tournament.
Madoya, the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort player, did not deny the claims.
“I heard five not six, I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused,” he begged for forgiveness.
Madoya struggled with his runs and shots that went off the grid on the last day.
He blamed his terrible score of eight over par 80 in day four on personal issues that are affecting his mindset.
“I recently bought a farm with all my savings, so this event caught me off guard.”
“It’s been difficult supporting myself in in this tournament but I hope to stablilise soon. Before we line up for the second leg at Royal, I know I’ll be okay,” he said.
Muthaiga Golf Club’s Greg Snow after winning the Safari Tour Golf series at Limuru Country Golf club ON Wednesday, Oct 7, 2020. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]
Apart from his domestic challenges, Madoya also admitted he was not consistent with the greens.
“Some were slow while others were running very fast,” the 34-year old father of two noted.
“My second shots after the tee-offs were terrible, my putting were also not sharp.”
Madoya needs to win two legs and finish among top 10 players in the remaining eight to qualify for the Magical Kenya Open slated for Karen Golf and County Club in Nairobi next March.
“I will work on my fitness which is a bit down due to Covid-19 pandemic that denied me time to practice.”
Madoya has played at the Open eight times, five as an amateur and thrice as a pro.
His best ever performance was last year when he was among the only two Kenyans (with Simon Ngige) who made the cut.
He also won the Safari Tour Entebbe leg last season, a feat he says was a great booster to his golfing career that spans over a decade.
Kenya Open Golf Limited chairman and tournament director Patrick Obath said they have made the first three legs in this year’s series back-to-back to ease travel itineraries for golfers coming from far.
Professional Golfers of Kenya captain C.J Wangai said the Limuru event has been tough without caddies but was glad the players are back.