2007 Rwanda Open
Venue: Kigali Golf Club
No of pros: Nine
Tee off Time: 8:30am
Total Cash Prize: Frw 3m
Winner’s cash prize: Frw 440,000(Pros Category)
This year’s Rwanda Open will go down in Rwanda’s Golf history as the first tournament to draw professional golfers.
And so it could be the chance for Rwanda’s sole professional golfer Emmanuel Ruterana to win his first major tournament since turning pro early this year.
According to Kigali Golf Club ex-president and chairman of the Rwanda Open organizing committee Andrew Nkwandi, nine professional golfers have lined up for the four-day tournament which officially tees-off this morning at Kigali Golf Club.
“In the past, we were reluctant to stage a professional event because we did not have a professional golfer but early this year, we got one in Emmanuel Ruterana so we were lured into staging one,” Nkwandi said.
Unlike amateur golfers who won’t be part of the action until Friday, professional golfers will get down to the greens this morning as they contend for the Frw3 million cash prize.
Uganda’s ace professional golfer Deo Akope leads the Ugandan contingent of seven; (Godfrey Mande, Herman Mutaawe, Amos Kamya, Stephen Kasaija, Dickson Lagoro and Sadi Atibu) while Rwanda and Kenya will be represented by Emmanuel Ruterana and Richard Anisley respectively.
The winner of the 72-hole contest walks a way with Frw 440,000.
Despite being Rwandan’s sole representative in the pro category, Ruterana believes he can challenge for top honours.
“I know that I’m playing with professionals who have been around for long but I have an added advantage in the course.
“It’s one of the most challenging golf courses in the region and I want to use this to my advantage,” Ruterana said.
Kigali Golf Club captain Rajan Tiwari has also backed Ruterana. “It’s a challenging course and Ruterana knows all about it”.
Rwanda Open was incepted in 1995 and has since stood out as Rwanda’s most coveted and lucrative golf tournament.
“This tournament has a special reputation as Rwanda’s most coveted golf tournament and we want to maintain that reputation this year,” Nkwandi added.
East African Breweries under their Tusker brand stand out as the lead sponsors after splashing over Frw5millions in the four-day event.
Other sponsors include ORTPN, Rwandair, Express, Serena, Tele-10, Indian Khazana and KK Security.