Rajiv Shah tees off on the par-four first during NCBA Golf Series played at Sigona Golf Club in Nairobi, June 12, 2021. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

On a solid score of 45 stableford points, Shiv Mandavia is the overall winner of the fourth leg of NCBA Golf Series played at the par-72, Sigona Golf Club over the weekend.

Mandavia had a superb outing on the course, thanks to his 27.3 handicap spiced up with the slope  rating that saw him tee-up off handicap 32 which saw him triple-stroking on some holes.

Despite starting on the wrong footing, having teed off on the inward nine. Things went south for Mandavia as he registered a no-return on his opener,  par-four 10th hole, bogeyed the 11th a par-three.

Followed up with costly double-bogeys on the par-four 12th and 13th holes, bogeyed the 14th a par-three and picking another double-bogey on the 15th, a par-five.

He couldn’t redeem himself inking two more bogeys on the par-four 16th and 17th holes and wound up his back nine with a double-bogey on the 18th, a par-four carding 18 stableford points from his back nine.

Having used the back nine to warm up, Mandavia enjoyed a better front nine after the midway break, picking back-to-back pars on the par-four first and second holes. Bogeyed the third, a par-four and bounced back with successive pars on the par-five fourth and par-three fifth.

Mandavia’s momentum was slowed down with a double-bogey on the par-four sixth and  two more bogeys on the par-four seventh and eight holes before winding up the front nine with his second double-bogey but still managed a solid score of 27 stableford points for a round total of 45 stableford points to claim the top-honors.

“I had a lousy back nine from where I started off, where I struggled a lot before I found my groove but after the turn I played extremely well. I was putting well on and that gave me the score and I’m extremely elated for the win.” said Mandavia

So far, the series which has been to Thika Sports Club, Vetlabs Sports Club and Kitale Golf Club, was graced by a good field of 231 golfers competing for the array of prizes on offer by the sponsor.

Being among one of the major tournament sponsorships after the suspension of sporting events by the government after the climax of the COVID-19 third wave in March.

Golfers have been yearning for resumption of golfing events, especially competitive tournaments such as the NCBA Gol Series.

Lurking in Mandavia’s shadows was Sagar Bhatt, playing off handicap 24, who posted a commendable score of 41 stableford points edging out handicap 20, Rajesh Karia on countback to Men winner third on a similar score of 41 stableford points.

Donning the Ladies gong was Esther Ngigi playing off handicap 20, with a compact score of 42 stableford points as Zippora Wachira playing off handicap 6 settled for Lady winner second prize on a score of 38 stableford points.

In the commercials; Kirti Chauhan won the First Nine prize with 25 stableford points with clubmate Palkesh Shah taking Second Nine prize with 22 stableford points. Chet Murkhjee won Nearest to Pin prize on hole number 5 with Mela Dhajal picking Best Effort Prize after managing 19 stableford points from his round of 18.

In the Longest Drive challenge, Zamin Nasser bagged Longest Drive Men winner prize as Sobhna Patel won Longest Drive Lady’s prize.

Meanwhile, NCBA’s Charles Omondi (22) was crowned staff winner after carding a round of 38 points.

The Sigona Golf Club event was the fourth leg of NCBA’s 21-event golf series. Over 200 golfers participated in the occasion, which also featured a tree-planting exercise as part of the bank’s “Change the Story” tree-planting initiative.

Speaking on the side-lines of the event, Tirus Mwithiga, Retail Banking Group Director, NCBA said the bank is looking at reorganizing events disrupted by the March lockdown, adding that the series will culminate in a grand finale at the Karen Country Club later in the year.

“We are very pleased to be back for the NCBA Golf Series. We have had three events, with this leg being the fourth. About four events were interrupted by the second lockdown that happened, and we hope to reorganize them later,” noted Mr Mwithiga.

“It is a series of 21 events which will culminate in the grand finale that will be held at the Karen Country Club. So, in every Club that we visit, we are inviting the club members to participate, and those who play well will then have another chance to join us at Karen for the finale,” he said.

Commenting on the bank’s junior golf development program, Mwithiga said the aim is to nurture young talent to prepare them early to challenge for top honours in the leading global golf tournaments hosted in Kenya.

“We will also have two events for juniors: one will be at the Karen Country Club in August, and another one in December at the Muthaiga Golf Club Club. These events will be open to all juniors nationally and not just the junior golfers in those clubs,” noted Mr. Mwithiga.

“It is part of our initiative to support the development of golf. It is a dream one day, one of our juniors will win the big events that are now being hosted in Kenya, and we hope that this erase will go a long way in supporting that,” noted Mr Mwithiga.

Mwithiga said the golf series will be supporting NCBA’s ‘Change the Story’ initiative by involving all golf clubs taking part in the tournament.

“We are proud to announce that the NCBA Golf Series is supporting the ‘Change the Story’ initiative – a program by NCBA and like-minded partners to plant 30,000 trees across the country this year. We will be doing this as we visit all the clubs around Kenya and all our other partners with this initiative. We only have one planet, and I think if we take care of it, we will all enjoy these beautiful golf courses and continue to protect the environment,” concluded Mr Mwithiga.

The series will now shift to the Coast for a double-header header at Mombasa and Nyali Golf Clubs on the June 25, and 26, respectively.

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