Professional golfers were left restless when Kigali Golf Club, the official organizers of this year’s Mützig Rwanda Open disclosed that US$6,000 (Frw3.27m) is up for grabs when the four-day show piece tees-off Thursday at Kigali Golf Club.
About 15 professionals; 12 from Uganda, two from Rwanda and one from Kenya are expected to wrestle for the lump sum amount which is up by a whole US$1000 compared to last year’s package (US$5,000).
Ahead of Thursday’s tee-off, the club’s spokesman Henry Rugamba believes that the huge prize money will bring the best out of the golfers.
“The package is good and I’m certain that we shall witness some exciting golf over the next few days,” he told Times Sport.
“I think it has also put us (Rwanda) on the map as a pro-destination,” he added.
Rwanda Open is rated as the oldest and most prestigious golf event on the KGC calendar and is expected to attract over 90 golfers in both categories (amateur and professional).
Rwanda being hosts will contribute the lion’s share of participants although a good number of golfers are expected from Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya.
The tournament will be played over four days for the professionals and over 72 holes for amateur golfers.
Professional golf was only incorporated into the annual event last year when the country landed their first professional golfer in Emmanuel Ruterana.
However, this year, Rwanda has the luxury of fielding an extra professional in Jean Baptist Hakizimana who joined the paid ranks back in July courtesy of MTN Rwanda cell, his sponsors.
Unlike last year’s edition which was largely sponsored by Tusker, this year, Mutzig are the main sponsors after bankrolling the tournament to a tune of 9.27m.
Overall, the tournament has attracted a sponsorship package of about US$35,000, with the professional bounty standing at US$6,000 (Frw 3.27m).
In a related development, Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club’s top rated amateur Bryson Nyenza is expected to lead a contingent of more than ten golfers in Rwanda Open championship according to the Citizen.
Basking with high profile recent triumphs both in and out of the country, Nyenza is heading to Kigali to exhibit his prowess before other competitors from the region.
The DGC golfer has won Coast Open and Diani Beach Masters in Kenya and his last week’s Exim golf in Arusha has boosted confidence for this week’s showdown.
Nyenza who has always come from behind to win tournaments in bizarre circumstances, will be joined by other selected amateurs of the Tanzania national team in Kigali.
With three titles dangling in his hands, the Dar golfer looks forward to another silverware collection in Kigali should he beat the field.
Only Adam Mohamed from Morogoro has in the past managed to win the title in Kigali during his amateur career.
Other Tanzanian amateurs eyeing the Rwanda Open at the hilly par-72 Nyarutarama golf course are John Leons, Yasin Saleh, Hassan Kadio, Salim Dilunga, Jimmy Mollel, Alisante Lembris, Geoffrey Leverian and Frank Roman.
TGU vice-chairman Dioniz Malinzi said the Rwanda Open championship will be a perfect stage for Tanzanian players to gauge their skills ahead of East African Challenge Golf Trophy that tees off in Mombasa on November 16.
On top of Mützig, ORTPN, Tele-10, BRD and Rwandair Express’ contributions, AAR and Inyange are also said to have cashed in on the tournament.