Waitara Golf Trophy 2023: Japhet’s historic feat

TANZANIA: IT was a historic win for spirited Boniphace Japhet, who put up a strong performance to be crowned the overall champion of the 2023 NBC Waitara Trophy over the weekend.

The delayed 2023 edition of the Waitara Trophy is meant to honour General (rtd) George Waitara, the founder of the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) Lugalo Golf Course in Dar es Salaam.

However, it was indeed a successful annual tournament that kicked off the 2024 event calendar at Lugalo, the most active tournament club in the country.

Playing off a handicap of 23, host Japhet had to calm his nerves at the home course to beat over 120 opponents from across the country and win his first career golf title, which also ensured that it remains at the club. Japhet carded a stunning five-under 67 nett to emerge victorious and take home the trophy and a cash prize from the main sponsor, NBC Bank.

“I first want to thank God for blessing me with life, good health, and strength to win my first major golf title. I also want to compliment the organisers and sponsors,” stressed Japhet.

“I would also like to extend my compliments to my coach, professional golfer Athumani Chiundu, whose wonderful work has lifted me to where I am today.I had to endure the strong challenge of playing without a trophy.” Japhet’s win has impressed Lugalo founder Waitara, who challenges the host players to ensure that the title continues to stay at home.

Waitara, who was also the chief guest, insisted that the event was the 2023 edition that could not happen last November as originally planned, which means that the 2024 edition is still in the pipeline.

He thanked the tournament sponsors, including the main sponsor NBC Bank, and co-sponsors Pepsi, MeTL, Serena Hotels and Tanzania Breweries Ltd, for the honour and appealed for their support in upgrading the course. The other category winners are Jose Pracid, who emerged as the Division A winner after carding 68 nett, and Claude Mtavangu, who finished second with 70 nett.

The Division B title went to Francis Ekeng, who carded 68 nett, and Laurent Sangawe returned 71 nett to finish second. Nico Zambekitas from Morogoro was also smiling as he went home with the Division C title with 71 nett, beating Abbas Mwalimu on countback after returning the same score.

Former Tanzania Golf Union (TGU) Chairman Joseph Tango was in good form and carded 72 nett to win on countback against General team member Edmund Mndolwa, who also had 72 nett. The ladies’ category winner was I. Sharmac, who carded 68 nett, while Leticia Kapalia had 70 nett to finish second.

The junior top prize went to Karim Ismail with an impressive 63 nett, and second place went to Mohamed Rashid, who carded 68 nett. National team members Isiaka Daudi and Hawa Wanyeche carded 74 and 80, respectively, to win the men and ladies’ gross categories prizes.

The longest drive for men went to Morogoro Gymkhana Club captain Seifu Mcharo, while the ladies’ longest drive surprisingly went to national junior golf team member Shufwaa Twalib. The nearest to the pin award went to Khadija Suleiman.

Club manager David Mziray thanked Waitara for his time in joining them at one of the important events the club honoured him for.

He commended him for the wonderful job of constructing the course, which emerged as the catalyst for the game. Main Sponsor Benjamin Nkaka, NBC head of Insurance Promise Bank, continues to support golf in terms of junior development and tournaments.

Apart from the main sponsor NBC Bank, club captain Japhet Masai extended thanks to co-sponsors Pepsi, MeTL Group Ltd, Serena Hotels, Dr Mosi Mobile Dispensary and TBL, as well as all participants for making the tournament a success.

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