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Safari Tour grows into an East Africa tourney

Golf Park’s Tony Omuli poses with the Safari Tour Golf Series trophy
Golf Park’s Tony Omuli poses with the Safari Tour Golf Series trophy after winning the Royal Nairobi Golf Club’s leg of the tour. PHOTO | COURTESY 

The Safari Tour, East Africa’s professional golf tour, will be heading to Uganda for the next two weeks for a double header. Launched in 2018, the first season of the tour was played exclusively in Kenya but it included pro golfers from East Africa. The second season, which teed off at the Nyali Golf and Country Club in August 2019, includes four events in Uganda, one in Tanzania and six in Kenya, making it a truly East African Tour.

Tanzania is scheduled to host Safari Tour at the Kilimanjaro Golf and Wildlife Resort, a David Jones-designed course between Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Meru near Arusha.

The first Safari Tour in Uganda was the Uganda Open, a $50,000 prize fund international event, that has continued to attract golfers from across the African continent. The Uganda Open, played at the magnificent Lake Victoria Serena Golf Course, was won by Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya after a close contest with Zimbabwe’s Tongoona Charamba and Kenya’s Dismas Indiza.

Next week’s Safari Tour event, the Entebbe Open, will be played at Uganda’s oldest golf club, the par-71 Entebbe Golf Club, founded in 1901.

The main Safari tour event for professionals will tee off from of October 30 to November 2, 2019 with a ‘cut’ being applied after round-two. East Africa’s top elite amateurs will be invited to play from October 31 to November 2 whilst weekend golfers will join in on the fun on the 2nd of November in a subsidiary amateur competition.

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From the Entebbe Golf Club, the Safari Tour will take a short trip to the Lake Victoria Serena from November 6-9, 2019. The event at the Serena will adopt the same format as that of the Entebbe Open. Both events have a prize of $10,000 apiece.

Commenting on the double-header in Uganda, the Safari Tour Tournament Director, Patrick Obath, said the two back to back events in Uganda presented a great opportunity for the pros.

“We are working very closely with the Uganda Golf Union in staging the Safari Tour events in Uganda and we are encouraged with the enthusiasm that they have shown,” he said. “Having four events in Uganda in only our second season of the Safari Tour, is very encouraging and it fits perfectly in our strategy for the tour.”

The time slot taken by the Lake Victoria Serena was previously slotted for an event in Rwanda: “The Rwanda Open at the Kigali Golf Club was cancelled to pave way for extensive redevelopment of the course into a fully-fledged championship 18-hole course,” Obath adding, “once the course is ready, we are confident that the Rwanda Open will be played as part of the Safari Tour.”

Among players expected to participate in the two events include current Safari Tour series joint leaders, Windsor Golf and Country Club’s Rizwan Charania and Thika Golf Club’s Simon Ngige, Muthaiga Golf Club’s Greg Snow who is fresh from playing on the Sunshine tour, the Royal Nairobi Golf Club leg winner, Tony Omuli and Golf Park’s David Wakhu.

“The Kenyan professionals will be travelling across to Uganda where they will face tough opposition from their Ugandan counterparts,” said Obath.

“We also expect participation from the South African and west African based professionals.”

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