NAIVASHA, Kenya, Nov 24 – Muthaiga Golf Club’s Frank Matilo stormed to the top of the leaderboard thanks to his score of 2-under par-69 after the first round of action at the par-71 Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort course.
Matilo, who has blown hot and cold in the Safari Tour so far, opened his round with back-to-back par scores on the first and second, before hitting birdie on the par-3, third. A similar combination of par-par-birdie, through the next three holes, followed by par scores in the next three saw him hold a turning score of 2-under par,33.
He would start the challenging back nine with a birdie on the par-4 tenth, before dropping his first shot on the par-3, twelfth. From this point he played conservatively, to hold par through the rest of the holes to return a round leading score of 2-under par, 69.
Speaking after his round Matilo said, “I played well today, I am very happy with my round, the balls stayed where I hit them and the course was in great condition.”
On his plans for the next round, “I will not change much in my game, I want to keep the ball in regulation, from there I will keep playing my game.”
Matilo finished one shot ahead of Vet Lab’s Edwin Asuza, who shot a round of 1-under par, 70. Asuza held par through the first eight holes, before dropping his first shot at the par-4 ninth, for a front nine score of one over par, 36.
He would recover brilliantly with birdies on the eleventh, thirteenth and fifteenth before bogeying the par-4 sixteenth and holding par through the remaining two holes for a one under par, 70 score.
Golf Park’s David Wakhu rounded up the top three with a score of par, on what was a generally high scoring round at the plush green Great rift course. Current series leader Dismas Indiza returned a score of 2-over par, 73, with last year’s series winner Greg Snow playing a round of 5-over par, 76.
The going was also tough for the home pro duo of Jastas Madoya and Andrew Chelogoi who returned scores of 9-over par and 8-over par, respectively.
Royal Nairobi Golf Club’s Hesbon Kutwa, Uganda’s Brain Toolit and Shilen Nanji failed to make the first round CUT, which is set at 86.
Prior to the first round, PGK Captain CJ Wangai had led his team to victory ahead of the teams anchored by Richard Ainley and David Wakhu, at the Pro-Am event played yesterday at the same venue.
Round two action tees off 11am, with the field of 42 players all aiming to make the CUT to play in the third and fourth rounds.
Safari Tour Calendar 2019/20
Event 1 Nyali Golf and Country Club 24th – 28th August 2019 (Winner: Greg Snow)
Event 2 Uganda Open (Lake Victoria Serena) 10th – 14th Sept 2019 (Winner: Madalitso Muthiya)
Event 3 Royal Nairobi Golf Club 12th – 16th October 2019 (Winner: Tony Omuli)
Event 4 Entebbe Open (Entebbe Golf Club) 30th Oct – 2nd Nov 2019 (Winner: Jastas Madoya)
Event 5 Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort Open 6th – 9th Nov 2019 (Winner: Dismas Indiza)
Event 6 Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort 23rd – 27th November 2019
Event 7 Muthaiga Golf Club 14th – 18th December 2019
Event 8 Thika Greens 4th – 8th January 2020
Event 9 Sigona Golf Club 25th – 29th January 2020
Event 10 Kitante Open (Uganda Golf Club) 12th – 15th February 2020
Event 11 Karen Country Club 22nd -26th February 2020
2019 Magical Kenya Open, Karen Country Club, 12th – 15th March 2020.