Updated: 11/18/2021 to include new quotes from champs Huruko and Ogoro.
Eric Huruko defended his lead on the second day of the Murambatsvina Classic Golf Tournament, winning with a spectacular near-perfect 75-yard stroke over the water and landing just inches from the 18th hole pin.
“It’s tough to defend a lead, but I did it,” Huruko, the North Carolina Safari Golf Club captain, said. “I’m glad my game came with me.”
Huruko, a soft-spoken and easy-going champion, dedicated his win to his parents who instilled in him self-discipline and taught him to always put in the work in order to achieve great results.
“Mom always talks about patience and humility and I needed every bit of it in the back nine,” Huruko said. “I had to let my game come to me and trust my game [even] when I missed short putts. I needed to stay patient and going to the very end.”
The day also saw other champions crowned.
Faith Ogoro from Seattle, Wa., won the women’s contest. A teammate, who played with Ogoro, praised her unique game of using a putter far outside the green instead of chipping-in the ball.
Ogoro was one of 4 women who played in the tournament. Other women in the contest were Lucy Karanja, Grace Nderitu, and Nyambura Ruhiu-Mboggo, all from the Safari Golf Seattle team.
Murambatsvina is Ogoro’s third win this season, including the North West Ladies Golf Association championship.
Her win came back after some recovering from a serious injury last year.
“I broke my right wrist last year, and it’s been difficult for me,” Ogoro said. “But I thank God for [bringing me] this far.”
Huruko (HCP 10) posted an overall 1 under par score to edge out his closest competitors Yacihne Dorsainvil and Kyle Lester (HCP 13) of Seattle, Wa., who posted 3 and 4 over par scores in skins stroke play. Lester and Dorsainvil, however, traded positions in the individual net play category, with Lester posting 3 over and Tonderai Kajese (HCP 15) 4 over par.
CLOSEST TO THE PIN CONTEST
There were several winners in the closest-to-the-pin contest. The top players were as follows:
- Hole 4: Matthew Kamau, 3.51 M
- Hole 8: Ken Saul, 3.68M
- Hole 14: Dae Song 1.78M
- Hole 16: Douter Kasago, 9.55 M
Saul, a charismatic golfer from Boston, Ma., also had a dramatic moment in the 18th hole when his stroke from the sand bunker, and at least 15 yards away, rolled straight into the hole.
Kajese won the local AAGL team trophy. Runners-up were Crispin Wanyoike, and Brent Adair, who were second and third respectively.
Murambatsvina Classic is an All Africa Golf League-sponsored annual Tournament that started 16 years ago.
The name Murambatsvina (pronounced moo-rum-bars-chee-nah) is a Shona word, derived from a brutal Zimbabwean government operation during President Robert Mugabe’s era, which means “cleaning-up the dirt,” Kajese, a native Zimbabwean golfer, explained.
According to a UN report, the 2005 operation targeting the poor considered “rubbish,” displaced more than 700,000 Zimbabweans, depriving them of their homes and jobs in the informal sector because some in the government viewed their presence in the city as an eyesore.
The league adopted the name in solidarity with those affected during the inhumane operation and also as self-deprecating humor in recognition of their basic skills when they started golfing.
“We thought once they see us playing, they might kick us out,” Kajese joked, reminiscing about their nervousness whenever they went golfing at American clubs.
Despite the humble beginnings, sixteen years after, Murambatsvina is now a major golfing tournament attracting a diverse group of people and stands out as a respectable tournament attracting Africans from different countries residing in the US.
The tournament was held at the beautiful Paiute Golf Resort on the outskirts of the Las Vegas strip, in the Paiute Tribe Indian Reservation.
The top three golfers went home richer than they came. Besides lifting the Mutambatsvina Classic AAGL 2021 Trophy, Huruko took home $1,350. Dorsainvil and Lester took home $810 and $540 in prize money, respectively.
AAGL executive committee member Douter Kasago congratulated the winners and described this year’s participation as successful beyond expectations.
“The Executive Committee was humbled by this year’s participation. On behalf of AAGL members, thank you, everyone, for coming out,” Kasago said. “Please look out for communication regarding next year’s event (to be shared) soon. And keep working on that swing.”
Huruko is the first Kenyan to win the tournament. He said he had no words to describe his emotions at learning he’s the first Kenyan to lift the Murambatsvina trophy.
“Like Christopher Columbus (said) went, saw, and conquered. This is great stuff,” Huruko said. “Sixteen years and I’m the first brings chills and jubilation at the same time. A proud moment for Kenyans. My name is going to be forever etched on that trophy.”
GREAT MOMENTS AT THE TOURNAMENT