Uganda Open: Rugumayo holds onto his lead heading into final day

By Thomas Odongo

As the sun set on the third day of the professional event of the 2023 Johnnie Walker Uganda Open Golf Championship, all eyes were on the leader board. With just one day left to play, the question on everyone’s mind was whether the current leader, Ronald Rugumayo, could maintain his lead and come out on top.

Rugumayo, who has been in top form throughout the tournament managed to hold off his closest rivals and maintain his one-shot lead heading into the final round. He is currently atop the leaderboard with 9 under par 207, one shot ahead of Kenya’s Njoroge Kibugu (208).

Rugumayo who is playing on home soil is in pursuit for his maiden professional title at the annual tournament and having won the amateur title in 2017 at the same venue (Uganda Golf Club), the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Spa golfer seeks to become the another Ugandan in about a decade (after Deo Akope in 2014) to win the Uganda Open professional title.

Rugumayo who has been in the lead since the opening round shot 5-under par 67 on day one to take a two shot lead. On day two, he shot returned 3-under par 69 to post a one-stroke lead

However, on day three (Friday), Rugumayo posted 1-under 71, a score that saw him maintain a one-shot lead heading into Saturday’s final round. He birdied holes 1, 5 and 13 but he had two bogeys, the rest were pars.

Rugumayo’s nearest challengers will need to make up ground if they hope to catch the leader. Kibugu, who is currently one shot behind Rugumayo, will have to bring his A-game if he is to take home the title.

Other players to watch out for include Rwanda’s Celestin Nsanzuwera and David Kamulindwa who is playing on home soil. The duo is tied for third with a gross score of 209. They’ll be part of the Saturday pressure group that tees off at 11:40 a.m. alongside Rugumayo and Kibugu.

However, with only six strokes separating Rugumayo from the three players tied for eighth, the title could go to anyone but the home fans who will dominate the gallery on Saturday will be eager to see the title remain at home and witness Ugandan players complete a hat-trick at this year’s championship after Peace Kabasweka and Godfrey Nsubuga winning the ladies and amateur titles (respectively) of this year’s Uganda Open a few days ago.

The final round promises to be an exciting and closely contested affair, with the winner likely to be the player who can keep their cool under pressure and execute their shots with precision.

2023 Johnnie Walker Uganda Open (Pro) Day Three Leaderboard

  1. Ronald Rugumayo (UG) – 207
  2. Njoroge Kibugu (KE) – 208

T3. Celestin Nsanzuwera (RW) – 209

T3. David Kamulindwa (UG) – 209

T5. Paulino Kasoma (ZA) – 210

T5. Dismas Indiza (KE) – 210

  1. Marvin Kibirige (UG) – 212

T8. Visitor Mapwanya (ZM) – 213

T8. Phillip Kasozi (UG) – 213

T8. Abraham Ainamani (UG) – 213

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