Tanzania have made better use of home advantage by taking an early lead in the opening round on Thursday in this year’s East African Golf Challenge at the Par-71 Gymkhana Golf course in Dar es Salaam.
The hosts finished day one with 7.5 points, a two-point lead over second-placed Kenya, while Rwanda are tied for third place with defending champions Uganda, on four points each. Ethiopia managed two points in the opening, and are in fifth place ahead of Burundi, who scored one point.
The four-day tournament enters into the second day of action with teams competing in the challenging Foursome better-ball on Friday. The event is sponsored by Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and Peacock Hotel.
Rwanda’s four points in the first round were secured by Emmanuel Rutayisire, who beat Burundi’s M. Harerimana 3/2 in the first matchup before Celestin Nsanzuwera went 2up against Kenya’s Agil Is Haq.
Aloys Nsabimana defeated Ethiopia’s Aklilu 6/5, while François Hakizimana beat H. Ndereka of Burundi 4/3.
However, there were defeats for Allan Niyonkuru against Ronald Rugumayo of Uganda (1/2), Emmanuel Nkurunziza lost to Tanzanian S. Mcharo 2/3 and James Ndikumana was beaten by I. Wanyeche 3/2, while team captain Leonard Nkurunziza went down 2/3 at the hands of Stephen Kasaija of Uganda.
Team Rwanda coach Jules Dusabe Mutesa was impressed by the team’s start to their bid to win a first regional golf challenge which is its 19th edition. Uganda are the defending champions.
He says, “Four points on the first day is not a bad start at all, we’re in a good position to push on in the Foursome on Friday (today)—we have put all our focus on doing well in that contest (foursome) and hopefully we will do well.”
“In terms if competitiveness, this year’s tournament is very tough, it seem all teams prepared so well, nonetheless, our target remains the same, to finish in the top two, if we can one better and win it, that will be special for Rwandan golf,” he added.
Team Rwanda’s trip to Dar es Salaam for this year’s tournament was made possible by Cimerwa, Tigo and PMC.