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By LARRY NGALA
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Muthaiga Golf Club’s John Karanja, put up a brave fight against a big field of 183 players including 24 local professionals, to claim the 2019 Nginyo Investments National Caddies golf tournament at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course on Monday.

Playing off handicap three, Karanja, started the day by dropping a shot at the par four-first hole, before making two back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth. He however three putted the fifth to drop his second shot of the day.  He then made a birdie at the long par five-seventh to eventually cross to the back nine with one under par.

“The first nine is usual very difficult so I tried to protect the two birdies I had though was very disappointed with the three putts at the fifth hole,’’ said Karanja.

A fairly long hitter Karanja, picked an early birdie at the 10th, but dropped a shot at the 12th after driving to the fairway bunker. A double at the 14th after hitting a tree on the right followed by a three putts, almost ruined his chances of winning the event though he made an easy birdie at the 18th for a one over par 72 to claim the beautiful Nginyo Investments Trophy.

“ I am very delighted winning this event, more or so by beating some of the professionals. I sincerely thank the Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki for his great support to the caddies in the country over the years’’ said Karanja who last year won both the Tanzania Caddies championship in Kiligolf Resort Arusha and the Uganda Caddie championship.

“I would like to prepare for the Muthaiga Open and Sigona Bowl in February and March respectively,’’ added Karanja who beat Great Rift Valley Resort’s Kelvin Barasa who carded six over par 77 to finish second. Railway’s Patrick Kariuki fired an impressive nett 65 to clinch the nett title ahead of Muthaiga’s Geoffrey Kiiru on 67. In third place was John Kamau of Limuru also on 67 nett.

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Winning the nines were J. Nyanduru and M. Njoroge on nett 36 each while J. Gitau and N. Waweru won the longest drive and nearest to pin respectively. In the ladies section, Sigona’s Mary Gathoni retained her title after posting 85 gross, winning by 10 shots from Mary Rogate of Muthaiga. The nett title went to Leah Kahora of Ruiru Sports Club who carded 77 nett to win by one shot from Innocent Mukami and Margaret Wairimu. The nine winners were P. Nduta and Mary Wanjiru on 36 and 30 nett while Sarah Bisera and J. Waweru won the longest drive and nearest to pin prizes.

Leading the professionals was Sigona’s John Wangai who shot level par 71 in the round which included birdies on the fifth and 16th and bogeys over the sixth and 10th. He won by a shot from Golf Park’s David Wakhu while another Golf Park pro Tony Omuli was third with two over par 73 while the Great Rift Valley Resort’s Justus Madoya was fourth on 74. The winner Wangai took home Sh75,000.

This year Nginyo Investments courtesy of veteran professional Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki and his partners Swiss Lenana Mount Hotel sponsored the event to the tune of Sh750,000. Kariuki promised to increase the sponsorship package to Sh1 million next year.

“I take this great pleasure to acknowledge the profound growth in this event as witnessed in the number of players who took part in the qualifying rounds in their respective clubs’’ said Kariuki.

He said that Caddies have a long history in the game of golf that dates back to the pre-independence days. This struggle started way back in 1963 when Kariuki himself founded the Ndumberi Golf Club popularly known as “St Andrews”, to enable Africans and Asians to play the game which was then exclusively for the white community.

“The founding of Ndumberi Golf Club was critical as it paved way for clubs affiliated to Kenya Golf Union (KGU) accept selected African and Asians to join as members. My advice to you as caddies is to observe discipline and adhere to the rules of golf for you to continue realizing the fruits of this struggle,’’ added Kariuki who called on other corporates to support the caddies through sponsorship.



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