Nairobi — Thika Golf Club's Simon Ngige and Muthaiga's Greg Snow braved difficult conditions to shoot a round of 70 apiece on the first round of the Sigona Golf Club leg of the Safari Tour Golf Series to end the day as joint leaders; one shot better than their nearest challenger going into the second round.
The day got off to inclement weather with rain, fog and chilling cold welcoming players at the first tee. As the rain eased off, it gave way for strong gusts of wind that made playing conditions very tricky.
On his part, Ngige carded a first nine total of 35 having holed birdies at the par-3, third and the par-5, ninth; with his only dropped shot on the first nine coming at the par-4, first.
On the back nine, he got off to a bogey at the majestic, but very tricky, par-5, 10th hole.
He dropped another shot at the par-4, 13th before holing an eagle at the par-5, 15th. He followed this with consecutive birdies at the par-4, 16th and the par-4 17th; before dropping another shot at the 18th to card a back nine total of 35.
Speaking after the round, Ngige said:
"I played here yesterday, and learnt that if you miss the fairway, you are in trouble as the rough is quite high due to the good rains we have been experiencing. The secret here is to keep the ball in play, avoid the rough and then you can score. Today I couldn't putt very well, so I will hit the practice green and work on that. I am very happy with my game overall."
Meanwhile, Snow carded a first nine total of 36, having holed birdies at the par-4, second and the par-3 third; but having dropped shots at the par-5 fourth and the par-5, ninth.
On the back nine, he played blemish-free, holing birdies at the par-3, 11th and the par-4 17th for a back nine total of 34.
"It was a difficult day with the conditions of wind and rain, so I had to keep patient all day. I played conservatively in the conditions as it's one of those days you blow yourself out the event if not careful. So, I tried to really grind and stick in. Staying patient was the key today keeping to the game plan; three more good rounds of consistent golf I should get it done," Snow said.
Snow, who has three Safari Tour wins to his name this season, will be looking to posting a good result at the Sigona outing to enhance chances of topping the Road to Kenya Open ranking; where he is currently ranked third with 300 points - 30 points off the leader.
Ngige will be looking at solidifying his hold on second place in the ranking where he currently sits with 307.9 points.
Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi ended his round one outing in third place having posted a 1-under par 71 score to keep him in contention for top spot. On the first nine, he carded a total of 37 having dropped a shot at the par-4, first; and having held par on the rest of the holes.
On the back nine, birdies at the 10th, 11th, 15th and 18th holes cancelled out dropped shots at the 16th and 17th holes for a back nine total of 34.
Meanwhile, Royal Nairobi's Erick Ooko ended the day with a level-par 72 score to end the day in fourth place, as Vet Lab's Mathew Omondi posted a 1-over par 73 score to finish the round a solitary fifth.
Six players, Jastas Madoya, David Wakhu, Rizwan Charania, Tony Omuli, Kopan Timbe and Mutahi Kibugu (AM), ended the day tied in sixth with 2-over par 74 scores.
Dismas Indiza, who currently tops the Road to Kenya Open ranking, ended the round tied in 12th with a 3-over par 75 score.
Action in the second round of the tournament tees off on Monday with a field of 45 players; among them six amateur golfers.