With a huge field of over 230 golfers contesting in the last qualification round at the country’s oldest golf club, it was the ladies’ team of Madhu Sharma and Fridah Shiroya who broke the event’s record by caddying 50 stebleford points to carry the day.
In searing heat (31 degrees) and strong north westerly winds battering the course, Sharma (handicap-30) and handicap-14 Shiroya, a top National Olympics Committee of Kenya official, made net-par through the first two holes and followed this with net-bogey from the par-four third through to the par-three sixth.
Shiroya made use of her long driving skills to reach the green on regulation and made par on the long par-five seventh and the equally long par-four ninth.
At the par-three eighth, one of the hardest short holes at Royal, the pair just managed to make bogey. On the back nine, the pair failed to make par through to the 14th hole, however on the par-five 15th, Shiroya once more found the green on regulation and an easy par was the result.
The pairs’ only poor score was on the par-four 16th where they made double bogey. On the par-three 17th, Sharma narrowly missed birdie and on the final hole, the 18th and with a huge gallery watching from the clubhouse, Sharma drained a 21-foot putt for bogey to complete what was a truly brilliant round.
Commenting after their round, seasoned sports administrator and now Tusker Malt Golf Carnival victor, Shiroya, said the golf course was extra tough in the hot conditions.
“This was a tough round of golf, the lies on the fairway were tight, the wind was unpredictable and the heat was rather suffocating,” Shiroya said.
“Thankfully, we combined well with Sharma and where I failed to perform well, she came to the rescue and vice versa, that is the power of team partnerships.”
The team of Joyce Ndirangu and Josiah Kogo, playing of handicaps of 29 and five respectively, huffed and puffed their way round the golf course, enduring the afternoon heat and their excellent score of 46 secured second place beating the pair of Jonathan Chege and Gian Badhan on count-back.
The team of Jayantil Hindocha and Beatrice Kamau finished in fourth place with 45 points beating the team of Kunal Shah and Mukesh Shah on countback. The guest winners were Lloyd Weru and Tirus Muithiga with 45 points.
The Tusker Malt Golf Carnival now moves to the Muthaiga Golf Club for the grand finale on the April 14. Winners of the Carnival will win an expense paid golf trip to a destination yet to be unveiled.