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New dawn for Uganda Golf Open

Following changes, there is more anticipation than before for the country’s flagship golf showpiece which tees off in September, writes Morris Matovu

GOLF – The 77th edition of Uganda Golf Open Championship will return at the par-71 lakeside Entebbe Golf Club for the first since 2013.

Entebbe Golf Club is the oldest course in the East African region.

The three-in-one tournament is powered by Budweiser, with a sponsorship package of Shs400 million, of which Shs160 million will be the professionals’ kitty.

Speaking at the glamorous official launch at Entebbe’s red 19th hole on Saturday evening, the Uganda Golf Union (UGU) president Innocent Kihika pledged to deliver an event worthy of the brand’s international stature.

“The Uganda Open is a proven platform that will give Budweiser the much needed mileage among its core target audience,” Kihika promised.

Kihika expressed gratitude to the king of beers had chosen to partner with one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the region, referring to it as a union of nobles.

Online registration

For the first time, players will register for the tournament via an online form available on the Union forums while payments will be made electronically.

Budweiser brand manager Julian Sentamu commended UGU for its steely focus to grow the game in the country, citing this as among the reasons that attracted the brand to partner with the union.

“We strongly believe in what the golfing fraternity is doing in Uganda. Growing and annually running a tournament of the magnitude of the Uganda Golf Open takes a certain degree of effort,” Sentamu said.

“Therefore as the king of beers, this was a perfect fit for us. We are here to enhance the golfing experience. We want every person that comes to enjoy the tournament to experience the presence of the king of beers,” she added.

The Open will tee-off with the Ladies Amateur Open on September 12-15, the Amateur (main) Open battle from the September 18-22 before the Professionals hit the ground running from 24th to 29th the same month.

Last year, the gallery witnessed the second play-off tussle in four years as Ronald Rugumayo’s classic putting denied Ronald Otile a hat-trick of Amateur titles at the par-72 Kitante course.

For the pros, Portuguese Stephen Ferreira became the first European to win the Uganda Open, taking the biggest share of the Shs145m kitty while Tanzanian Angel Eaton her third Amateur Ladies’ trophy in six years.

UGANDA OPEN PRESENTED BY BUDWEISER
Ladies Open: September 12-15
Amateur Open: September 18-22
Pros Open: September 24-29

CAST OF PAST PRO WINNERS
2017: Stephen Ferreira (POR)
2016: Joshua Seale (RSA)
2015: MuthiyaMadalitso (ZAM)
2014: DeoAkope (UGA)
2013: Vincent Byamukama (UGA)
2012: DismasIndiza (KEN)
2011: DismasIndiza (KEN)
2010: Jean Baptiste Hakizimana (RWA)
2009: Richard Ainley (KEN)
2008: Dismas Indiza (KEN)
2007: Dismas Indiza (KEN)

CAST OF PAST AMATEUR WINNERS
2017: Ronald Rugumayo (Uganda)
2016: Ronald Otile (Uganda)
2015: Ronald Otile (Uganda)
2014: Willy Deus Kitata (Uganda)
2013: Peter Ssendawula (Uganda)
2012: Phillip Kasozi (Uganda)
2011: Rogers Byaruhanga (Uganda)
2010: Brian Mwesigwa (Uganda)
2009: Peter Ssendawula (Uganda)
2008: George Olayo (Uganda)
2007: Nicholas Rokoine (Kenya)

CAST OF PAST AMATEUR WINNERS
2017: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2016:Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2015:Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2014:Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2013: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2012: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2011:Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2010:Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2009: Jasper Kamukama (Uganda)
2008: Melissa Nawa (Zambia)
2007: Mary Karano (Kenya)

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