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Sandhu bags Safaricom golf title

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 29- Former Kenya international amateur golfer, Jay Sandhu from Royal Nairobi Golf Club, is the winner of the 2011/2012 Safaricom Business Golf Challenge.

Sandhu, a former Kenya Amateur Stroke Play Champion and a scratch golfer, triumphed over 38 other qualifiers at the grand final held at the Vipingo Resort in Kilifi.

Playing in a light drizzle and strong winds, Sandhu had the perfect start to his round posting a birdie on the opening par-four first hole. He then went on to par the next four holes before misfiring at the difficult par-five 6th hole, an uphill hole with a blind green and guarded bywater to the front.

Sandhu’s third shot found the water and a quick double bogey followed. The champion closed the opening nine holes with three pars to finish one-over gross for 17 points. On the back nine, Sandhu maintained his composure and finished on two-over for 16 and a total of 33.

“The Golf Challenge has been an absolutely magnificent championship, a trend-setter, something completely out of this world; we were flown from Nairobi, housed at a five star hotel, driven to Vipingo and given the opportunity to play on a lovely golf course,” the winner said.

“This golf course is very tough and also very scenic, the winds are a major factor and it is difficult judging distances; but the green keeping staff have done a marvelous job in presenting such a golfing gem,” he added.

Karen’s Paul Kaguamba, a handicap-five golfer, finished second among the qualifiers also with 32 . Kaguamba started strong firing two early birdies on the first two opening holes; he followed this with two pars and another birdie on the par-four 5th before suffering the same fate as Sandhu on the par-five 6th, dropping two expensive shots there.

“It was a good day, I just had a few missed putts and the wind was a huge factor out there,” Kaguamba said. “This Championship and this golf course are at the top of their leagues.”

Windsor’s lady golfer Butsarawan Phintham was the second runner up with 31. Kim Lanxe posted the best score of the day, a solid 36 to claim the Guest Winner’s prize, GK Muthoma was the Guest runner up on 34 and Samuel Kamau was third on 32 points.

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The nines went to Victor Kyalo and Lawrence Njue whilst the longest drive men went to the Sandhu as Joyce Lanxe picked the ladies longest drive. Jane Githere and Eric Nyongesa took the nearest to the pin prizes; the iPad3 prize for hole-in-one at the 8th went begging.

Tony Tugee was the staff winner with 24 points whilst Dennis Kabutha was rewarded for best effort on 13 points.

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