Despite playing golf from scratch and using the unique individual bogey format on the Blantyre Sports Club (BSC) greens on Saturday, Paul Chidale still towered above a 90-strong field to win the historic Old Mutual Championship title.
Beatrice Mangwana was the champion in the ladies category.
The 22-year-old handicap-0 golfer had to score incredible points to cushion the burden of playing with the best handicap on the land; and he had to learn how to play using the rejuvenated format, which was last used on domestic scene about 20 years ago.
As expected, Chidale struggled with his swing on the front nine before he got used to the system of play on the back nine and finally settle for the title with +2points. Raffique Maru was the runner-up with -1point while Ken Manda came third slot with -2points.
“Just imagine it took me nine shots to complete the first hole,” said Chidale after receiving his trophy from Old Mutual group managing director Chris Kapanga.
“Nevertheless, I enjoyed my performance on the back nine as I was able to easily convert most of my putts. I made par-fours on holes 2, 3, 8 and 17. And that was pretty amazing. It feels great to win this historic event.”
Mangwana took the title with +1point.
“This competition was an exciting adventure. I have learned some new tricks with this bogey format,” she said.
According to Kapanga, whose company presented a K200 000 (about $800) to the BSC for the maintenance of the greens, they deliberately used the long-forgotten format to create an exclusive texture of the â€˜gentlemanâ€™sâ€™ game in the country.
While assuring the golfers that the competition will be an annual event, which will also be conducted in Lilongwe and Mzuzu later this year, Kapanga took some time to notify patrons that Old Mutual is also an investment group and a unit trust apart from being a life insurance company.