The New Times (Kigali)

7 February 2013

Rwanda: Hakizimana Out, Ruterana Clings On

Golfer Jean Baptista Hakizimana has pulled out of this year's Kenya Open due to financial constraints.

Hakizimana was due to compete in the pre-qualifying tournament that will be open to professionals nominated to participate by their National Professional Golf Association.

It will be played over 36 holes in the mornings on February 7th and 8th in Nairobi at the Karen Country Club. The top five players, after the two rounds, will get direct entry to the 2013 Barclays Kenya Open.

Hakizimana told Times Sport yesterday, "I have ruled out competing in the Kenyan Open. I was supposed to engage in the qualifiers which will start on Friday but I failed to get the necessary resources."

Last year, Hakizimana failed to make the cut (best 20 players), playing plus 8 (79) and 3 (74) on the first two opening rounds.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Ruterana, the country's lone representative at the forthcoming 2013 Barclays Kenya Open, is pleading for public support to help his preparation and participation ahead of the championship in Nairobi.

Ruterana is the only remaining golfer who would not want to waste this chances of competing at the golf tournament scheduled to tee off from February 13 to 17 at the Karen Golf & Country Club.

"I have been trying to secure sponsorship. I have managed to get someone to pay for my airfare but I am still short of competition fees, membership fee, competition fee, accommodation and caddies' fees."

Ruterana needs US $2000 [Rwf. 1.2m] to honour the tournament.

"I need to go to Nairobi and at least get used to the course before the tournament starts, but this will depend on the availability of the funds since I don't have a sponsor. I sometimes depend on individual support which is not always sufficient, so I am calling upon on well-wishers and companies to support me," added Ruterana.

Ruterana is braced for stiff competitions from more than 100 players, including 22 Kenyan professionals, who will also be battling for the top honours during the event.

Ruterana will be making his fourth appearance in the region's top ranked open with an objective of making the cut that has been elusive for Rwandan golfers since 2009.

The golfer has been impressive throughout the previous season doing well in tournaments staged in Kenya and Uganda.

The tournament is one of the top ten richest events in this season of the European Challenge Tour calendar.

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