Kenya’s national golf team beat host Tanzania by two-and-a-half points to re-capture the East Africa Challenge Cup golf title at Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club course on Saturday.
Starting the final singles round with one-and-a-half point lead from the charging Tanzanians, the Kenyan players produced an excellent performance, winning six matches, drawing one and going down in one match for a total of 19.5 points.
The last time Kenya won the cup was in 2013 when the event was held at the Great Rift Valley Resort Naivasha where they beat Uganda by one-and-a-half points.
Tanzania, who needed a maximum of eight points to win with the same score(19.5), managed only five games for a total of 17 points. Uganda, who tied with Kenya on 16 points in last year’s championship, claimed five-and-a-half (5.5) points in the singles to finish third on 14 points.
Rwanda was fourth on 10.5 and Ethiopia and Burundi finished in fifth and sixth places with five-and-a-half and four-and-a-half points respectively.
Starting off the campaign for the Kenyans, who have now won the Cup 13 times since 1999, was one of the two juniors Agil Is-Haq from Nyali Golf and Country Club, who posted a 7-6 victory against a player from Burundi.
This was followed by John Karichu’s 3-2 win against Ethiopia while the other youngster Kibugu Mutahi beat Uganda’s E. Kamulindwa 1-up. The only Kenyan to go down during the final round was Edwin Mudanyi who lost by a hole to Uganda’s Adolf Muhumuza.
However, Dennis Saikwa picked up a point soon after after an easy 8-7 victory against a player from Rwanda while the Kenyan team captain Alfred Nandwa beat South Africa-based Ronald Otile of Uganda 4-3 and Samuel Njoroge won 7-5 against Seif Mcharo of Tanzania.
The last game, which kept the Kenyans on their toes, was between Mike Kisia and Tanzania’s Amani Said which was halved to give Kenya the victory.
“The boys played some serious golf and that makes me so happy to bring the Cup back to Kenya,” said Kenya’s national team coach John van Liefland.
This is his second victory with the Kenya team having won the Victoria Cup against Uganda in Entebbe last month. Kenya has been very poor in the foursomes and four ball better in the recent past.
However, the coach has been working on pairings and short game which he said worked well as Kenya won three and halved one match in the foursomes before claiming all the four points in the four ball better ball format. The team, which was led to Tanzania by Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman Richard Wanjalla, returns home Sunday evening.