Golfer Njoroge wins Safari Tour series in Karen
Kenya Railway Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge weathered through tough and nervy three-hole playoffs to clinch his first-ever Safari Tour golf series title at the par 72 Karen Country Club yesterday afternoon.
Njoroge fed off stiff competition from Zimbabwean Visitor Mapwanya and the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort’s golfer Justus Madoya
The three big guns were tied on seven under par total of 281 after the 18 holes thereby sparking a need for a play-off at holes 10, 11 and 12 to determine the winner in front of a cheering crowd that had not witnessed a playoff in a long while.
Njoroge’s game had ups and downs leading to a tie thanks to a birdie in the 18th hole to place him firmly in the race for the title
He said, “This is my first title win in the Safari tour series and it feels good. I have been hungry to win, I have worked extra hard and I thank God for this title.
“I was under a lot of pressure when we were headed for the playoffs but I decided to calm down and be ready to accept whatever results would pop up.
“The greens were good, the ball was rolling well and fast and it was holding the ball.
“I enjoyed playing at Karen Country Club and my plan for this season is to finish strong. Come the Magical Kenya Open I want to play well and so far so good and I believe I will move to the top.”
The closest Njoroge has ever come to winning a Safari tour title was when he was beaten twice in 2021 by junior amateur Taimur Malik at Sigona.
Later he was edged out by Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi at Royal Nairobi Golf Club and managed a second-place finish in the Uganda Open.
As a result of the win in Karen, Njoroge earned Sh 300,000 in a competition that his coach John Limb was headed for better prospects but he triple-bogeyed the 15th hole and dropped crucial points on the final day where he was first on the leaderboard.
During the first hole of the play-off at the 10th hole, Njoroge drove about 60m from the green.
but missed the birdie to pick up a par. Visitor Mapwanya from Zimbabwe birdied the hole after a brilliant chip on from the right trees. Justus Madoya on his side chipped a shot but unfortunately missed a par by just a foot.
While it was all level at the 11th hole after all the three parred the hole, the 12th hole was to be the determinant. Mapwanya lost his cool to bogey the hole while Justus Madoya had overdriven the hole but came out with a par. Njoroge on his end managed a two-footer birdie that declared him as the winner at the 11th, they all parred the hole. At the 12th Mapwanya drove to the right trees, over chipped the green to bogey the hole, while Madoya who had overdriven the hole made a par, Njoroge made a two-footer birdie to emerge the winner.
Second-placed Justus Madoya lamented how he failed to birdie the decisive 12th hole but promised to return stronger when the final leg returns this weekend at the par 72 Muthaiga Golf Club.
“I had a good takeoff on the last hole but I was not very lucky to drop it in for a birdie and now my focus shifts to the Muthaiga tour, I hope to return in better form and fight for the title. All the same, my golf has been good this week,” Madoya said
Mapwanya congratulated Njoroge, “I gave it my very best, but probably luck was not with me, but I must congratulate Njoroge for his first win’’ said Mapwanya.