By Thomas Odongo
Ugandan professional Abbey Bagalana will be competing at the 22nd edition of the Ivory Coast Golf Open that will be held from May 11 to 14, 2022, in Yamoussoukro.
In the previous edition, Bagalana tied for 16th with two others and he emerged the best East African player at the tournament.
Bagalana is one of the two Ugandans that will play at the tournament. Courtesy Photo.
Then, Bagalana shot an overall 2-under par 286 (74, 71, 69, 72) and shared the same score with Ghanaian Annan Lucky Aisha (75, 69, 68, 74) and ‘home boy’ (Ivorian) Romaric Djezou (74, 69, 72, 71) and claimed part of the 38,000 Euros pro kitty.
Having settled in Ivory Coast, Bagalana says that he will put up a much better display this time round and hopes to finish way above where he settled in the previous edition.
“Last year I did well as I finished as the best East African…I’m in good shape right now. I had an injury but right now I feel much better and me my manager (Paul Baite) we have worked on a lot of things together, we’re doing well,” Bagalana said moments before leaving for Ivory Coast.
Prior to the Ivory Coast Open, Bagalana played at the two-round professional event of the Absa Captain’s Bell tournament that climaxed on Friday last week at Uganda Golf Club, Kitante in Kampala. He tied for fifth with two others off 2-over par 146.
“It was more like my practice round. I was testing my game but I need to adjust a few things like chipping, but by the time I tee off all will be well. I’m in good shape and I promise a good display,” Bagalana added.
Bagalana has his sight set beyond Ivory Coast and after the Yamoussoukro event, he has promised to keep on the road for tournaments outside the country.
Meanwhile, lady professional golfer Flavia Namakula is another Ugandan who will be participating in the tournament.
However, the president of the Ivorian Golf Federation ( FGCI), Emmanuel Koffi Kouakou, during the tournament launch last month spoke high of the event.
“The reputation of the this tournament, rightly considered as one of the biggest golf events in Africa and the remarkable professional endowment of this year of 25 million FCFA will contribute to the success of this edition,” said Kouakou.
He also announced that the plateau will be raised with players such as Vincent Torgah, Madalitso, the Ivorians Marcel Soumahoro and some young people capable of creating a surprise.
The competition will be played for professionals (men and women) in stroke-play (18 holes, 72 strokes with the Cut). It will see the participation of the winners of the previous edition in particular, the Zambian Madalitso Muthiya (professional of the Sunshine Tour, 20th edition) and the champion of Golf Oumou Dièye.
This 22nd edition is endowed with the Felix Houphouët-Boigny prize. Golfers from 20 countries are expected to play at the tournament.
With this 22nd edition, the Ivory Coast Open returns to its lands and the legend continues in Yamoussoukro. As Félix Houphouet-Boigny, the first president of Côte d’Ivoire, had wished when he launched the first edition in 1980. A test during which the best of their generation, the South Africans Gary Player, crossed swords and Ernie Else, Fijian Vijay Singhy, Englishman Ian Poulter, Frenchman Thomas Levet and others.