Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has teed-off the Kwara @ 50 Golf Tournament at Ilorin Golf Club yesterday with a promise to making the city a golf hub with series of event that in the pipeline.
With unprecedented number of professional golfers’ entry (138), the governor said, “We are pleased to have this huge number of golfers sign up and we are working at making the state a golf hub in the nearest future.”
The tee-off began the professionals’ race for a total purse of $25,000 and places in the PGA of Nigeria’s ranking. It is also chance to pre-qualify for another international event billed for later in the year in Equatorial Guinea.
Luqman Owolewa, a former board member of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF) and a consultant for the event, said that the Kwara @50 tournament apart form being a key event on the golf calendar had the huge pull because of the level of hospitality that golfers are exposed to whenever they play in Kwara State.
Meanwhile, big names stuttered after the opening round with budding star and rookie of the year 2015 Ishaya Atang, sharing the spotlight with Francis Isuku of Ibori Golf and Country Club Asaba; both fired 69, three under par.
Atang, who turned professional in 2015, stunned the star-studded PGA rank to pick a win in his debut year as a professional. He won the Plateau State Governor’s Cup.
Four former number one players are closely chasing first day leaders with one shot separating them. They are Sunday Odegha at 70, two under par, while Nojeem Shofela, Mike Ubi and Dominic Andrew returned 71, one under for the day.
The amateurs round is billed for Saturday, July 15 and Sunday 16 where over 150 players are expected to participate.