It was a tough start for Kenya's Justus Madoya, Edwin Mudanyi and John Wangai in the Cote d'Ivoire Open at the President Golf Club in Yamoussoukro as they all posted above par scores in the opening round on Wednesday.
Great Rift Valley Golf Resort-based Madoya - with a two over par 74 - was the best placed Kenyan in the event where Nigeria's Gift Willy, a member of the Kenya's Safari Tour, blasted his was to the top with a brilliant eight under par 64.
Of the remaining two Kenyans, Mudanyi of Vet Lab Sports Club shot three over par 75 with Wangai of Sigona closing the day on a poor 78.
"It was a positive start though two double bogeys and two singles, made it difficult for me to finish in the red numbers," said Mudanyi, whose round included three birdies. He said the course can be compared with Nyali Golf and Country or the front course (Mombasa Golf Club.
"It Is on the coastline but very beautiful layout with lots of water hazards around it though its set up is a confidence booster and players can really bring very low scores in a day," said Mudanyi.
A field of 67 players most of them drawn from the West Africa region are battling it out for the top prize of 8,689 Euro. The top 30 players and ties will proceed to the last two rounds where also at stake is the Felix Houphouet Bogney trophy.
Wangai made five single bogeys and one double bogey with only one par which could only left him with six over par. "The fairways are fairly dry and the greens really slow. Unless you are able to adapt to their speed you will definitely struggle to make even pars leave alone birdies," said Wangai.
But at least 13 players shot one under and better, in a closely fought round where another Nigerian pro Vincent Torgah tied with Zimbabwe's Visitor Mapwanya on five under par 67 while Cote d'Ivoire's Richard Kouakou led a group of five players on four under par 68.
That group included Zimbawe's Robson Chinhoi, Zambia's Sydney Wemba, veteran Amos Korblah of Ghana and Nigeria's Sunday Olopade. Finishing a shot behind this group was another Safari Tour member, Andrew Oche Odoh, on three under par 69.
Meanwhile, Uganda's Abbey Bagalana tied with Madoya on two over par 74. He is among those who were expected to put up a fight to try and make the cut in the event organised by the Cote d'Ivoire Golf Confederation.
By the time of going to press, the second round was on.