Team Uganda and the home gallery will have David Kamulindwa to thank after the teenager saved the country’s blushes to draw level with opponents Kenya on Day One of the Victoria Golf Cup in Entebbe yesterday.
Partnering with Richard Baguma, the 15-year-old had a senior debut day to remember when he hit a perfect half-a-metre putter on the par-5 18th green to earn the country half-a-point against Samuel Njoroge and Denis Saikwa.
It is this that ensured Uganda and Kenya finished on total four points apiece.
“The games were not easy,” said Kamulindwa, a senior three student at Mpanga Secondary School in Fort Portal.
Perhaps, his celebratory left-arm fist-pump did not tell it all. The mini roar from teammates firmly described Uganda’s big moment of relief despite losing the afternoon foursomes’ battle by a point.
“We did not want to sleep one point down, better you sleep all square for the day,” a relieved Team Uganda coach Amos Kamya said.
Having rested captain Becca Mwanja and Ronald Rugumayo, replacements Davis Kato and Emmanuel Ogwang were punished for lack of chemistry on their senior debuts 7/6 (seven-up with six holes to spare) by Edwin Mudanyi and Mutahi Kibugu.
Mwanja and Rugumayo had lost Hole No.18 by a birdie to finish all square against Mudanyi and Kibugu in the morning round of four-ball better-ball.
Then, after fashioning a morning 4/3 win over John Karichu and Mike Kisia, the combo of Entebbe-bred pair Martin Ochaya and Herman Mutebi terribly disintegrated to lose 8/7 to the same pair in afternoon. And having lost to Njoroge and Saikwa 1-up on the 18th green, Adolf Muhumuza and Ismail Muhamudu smartly recovered to sweep 5/4 past Jeff Kubwa and Kenneth Bollo in the foursomes.
Little wonder, Kamulindwa and Baguma deserved all the hugs and pats from their teammates and Kamya as the pairing had garnered a total 1.5 points for the day.
They had also beaten Kenyan captain Alfred Nandwa and Agil Jamal 4/3 in four-ball better-ball morning round.
“We fought hard. I have been working with Baguma right from training. We hope to do better tomorrow,” added Kamulindwa, the revelation from the All-Africa Junior Championships in Zimbabwe back in April.
Indeed, Kamya did not split this duo. They will tee-off in the four-ball better-ball in the morning round against Edwin Mudanyi and Mutahi Kibugu.
But inaugural tournament winners Kenya want to come stronger. “It is difficult to get the team fired up on a different course,” coach John van Liefland told this paper having trailed by a point after the morning round.
“The afternoon turned out to be good for us. Everybody is playing reasonably good golf. If we can grow in the tournament, anything is possible.”
The ‘East African Ryder Cup’ continues with the same format today and wraps up with a singles round tomorrow.
2017 VICTORIA GOLF CUP DAY ONE RESULTS
Uganda – 4 points
Kenya – 4
S. Njoroge & D. Saikwa (KEN) bt.
A. Muhumuza & I. Muhamudu (UGA) 1-up
D. Kamulindwa & R. Baguma (UGA)
bt. A. Jamal & A. Nandwa (KEN) 4/3
B. Mwanja & R. Rugumayo (UGA)
vs. E. Mudanyi & M.i Kagwe (KEN) A/S
M. Ochaya & H. Mutebi (UGA)
bt. J.Karichu & M. Kisia (KEN) 4/3
A.Muhumuza & I. Muhamudu (UGA)
bt. J. Kubwa & K.Bollo 5/4
R. Baguma & D. Kamulindwa (UGA)
vs. S. Njoroge & D. Saikwa A/S
E. Mudanyi & M.i Kagwe (KEN) bt.
D. Kato & E. Ogwang (UGA) 7/6
J. Karichu & M. Kisia (KEN)
bt. M. Ochaya & H.Mutebi (UGA) 8/7