Golfer Ruterana eyes international stage

Rwanda’s top professional golfer Emmanuel Ruterana has set sight on competing in international tournaments, but first he needs financial support to be able to accomplish his dream.
FOCUSED: Ruterana says his continued failures in the Kenya Open are a result of poor preparations and not being a bad golfer. The New Times/ File.
FOCUSED: Ruterana says his continued failures in the Kenya Open are a result of poor preparations and not being a bad golfer. The New Times/ File.

Rwanda’s top professional golfer Emmanuel Ruterana has set sight on competing in international tournaments, but first he needs financial support to be able to accomplish his dream.

The 29-year-old, fresh from successfully defending his Rwanda Open title last weekend, believes he has the capacity to take on some of the big names in the game.

“I have won a number of them (Rwanda Open titles) but this year’s stands out as the most significant one,” the former caddie told Times Sport at the weekend.

“I told people that I was going to defend my title, and to be able to achieve my target, makes it even very special. I am so happy. Actually, I don’t think I have ever been happier after winning a tournament,” he noted.

Ruterana, the first Rwandan golfer to turn pro eight years ago, returned a total score of 280 to win the four-day tournament, which was sponsored by Rwanda Development Bank (RDB), beating his closest rival and best pal Jean Baptist Hakizimana, who finished four shots behind in second place.

Asked to compare this year’s tournament to last year’s or even the years before, the soft-spoken golfer said, “I can’t say this one has been the most competitive, not by any stretch of imagination but in terms of satisfaction, it ranks up there as my best.”

Unlike the previous editions, this year’s tournament attracted only 13 professionals, who included four Rwandans, eight Ugandans and one from Burundi. Three of the four Rwandans, took the first three spots.

The Kigali Golf Club player has won four Rwandan Open titles, including the last two in a row since he turned professional in 2005.

Regarding his next move, Ruterana said, “I would like to start competing in international tournaments like in South Africa, Dubai and elsewhere around the world but the problem is money.”

“Those tournaments require a lot of preparations and travel expenses, which needs money. Sometime you may need to spend like a whole month away from home but without money you can’t do anything.”

Him and Hakizimana are the most active of the four Rwandan pros. The pair are also members of Uganda Gold Union, which allows them to compete in all pro events in that country.

However, the duo has failed to make any breakthrough in bigger tournaments like the Kenya Open, where they have missed to make the cut in the last three years in a row.

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