Eaton in early Ladies Open lead

Eaton in early Ladies Open lead

Eaton in early Ladies Open lead

Jinja-bred Martha Babirye ensured the Open’s tradition of unearthing a new gem on Day One continues with a round of 77 yesterday that leaves her one shot off the leader Angel Eaton’s pace going into Day Two of the 67th Uganda Ladies Amateur Strokeplay Open Championship today.

The handicap 10 golfer was the only gatecrasher as the usual suspects dominated Day One’s leaderboard with scores typical of the pressure that comes with playing the Open. “I am happy to play that score,” said a visibly excited Babirye. “I did well on the par-5s because I am a long hitter. Of course there is a chance of me winning if I put my head down.”
The 21-year-old will be swimming in unchartered territory when she plays alongside pre-tournament favourites Eaton and Iddi Madina (both from Tanzania) in the pressure group.

Two-time winner Eaton, who won the 2012 and 2013 editions by five and eight strokes respectively, returned from her maternity sabbatical stronger with a fighting round of four-over 76 which turned out to be the day’s best.

Showing finesse
She started with a bogey and there were a further six in her round but the 27-year-old still managed to show her finesse with three birdies on the front nine at No.5, 6 and 8. “I only got into the country yesterday (Wednesday), so I could only manage a hit about today (yesterday before her round). I cannot complain about my return today. I will be going for a 72 on Day Two.”
Kenyan Agnes Nyakio, too, lived up to her billing finishing joint second alongside Madina and Babirye.

“The course is in a perfect shape compared to last year. It was too dry then but now it is wet and it suits my style. It is going to be tough from here but if I get a 75 or 76 on Day Two, I will be impressed,” said Nyakio. Uganda’s main hope – charged with the burden of ensuring the title stays at home – Irene Nakalembe is fifth, two strokes off the pace, after shooting six-over- 78.

But she was not shedding any tears. “I am not disappointed but it could have been better,” said the Entebbe-based golfer. “I am happy I did not get any double-bogey. On Day Two, I will want to return better than what I have in the first round.”
Day Two is primed to unleash more thrills and spills with the subsidiary category joining the fray for the grand finale tomorrow.

2007: Mary Karano (Kenya)
2008: Melissa Nawa (Zambia)
2009: Jasper Kamukama (Uganda)
2010: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2011: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2012: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2013: Angel Eaton (Tanzania)
2014: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2015: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
2016: Flavia Namakula (Uganda)
67th Uganda Ladies Open
Day One Leaderboard – Top 11
Eaton Angel (TAN) 76
Idd Madina (TAN) 77
Martha Babirye (UGA) 77
Agnes Nyakio (KEN) 77
Irene Nakalembe (UGA) 78
Meron Kyomugisha (UGA) 79
Mwongeli Nzioka (KEN) 81
Gloria Mbaguta (UGA) 82
Mercy Nyanchama (KEN) 82
Harriet Kitaka (UGA) 83
Eva Magala (UGA) 84
Petra Nalwoga (UGA) 84
Olomi Neema (NIG) 84
Esther Okullo (UGA) 84


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