Abuja based professional golfer Christian Godfrey will pinch himselfÂ to confirm that he is not dreaming. Godfrey emerged winner of the professional event in the just concluded President Cup held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The Edo born golfer fewÂ weeks back a set a courseÂ record at the IBB Golf and Country Club, shooting 62, 10 under par to erase the record set by an Argentine golfer Ricardo Gonzalez. Godfrey within a space ofÂ four months has leap frogged to the number one position on the Order of Merit, ending the year as the best professionalÂ golfer in the country.
At the President Cup, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola President of the Nigeria Golf Federation, NGFÂ had no option than to commend Godfrey after a spectacular performance in Uyo..
â€œA brilliant performance like this should not go uncommended, and this goes to show the great potential that the country has to churn out good players if we set our parameters rightâ€ Oyinlola said.
Godfrey twice returned 67, four under gross which stood as record score at the prestigious Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo Akwa Ibom on the way to retaining the President Cup title.
According to Godfrey (who also broke the course record at the IBB International Golf and Country Club in Abuja earlier in the year shootingÂ 10 under par) he has always worked on beating any record on the course.â€
Odoh dominance declining?
There was a time Oche Andrew Odoh was beating up the whole lot of the nationâ€™s professionals at any point he felt like it. The whole thing reached such crescendo it was being suggested in some golf quarters that the player couldÂ indeed be playing his fellow pros with a blindfold on.
Oche was winning about every tourney and he wasÂ enjoying every minute on the course. He would play some games in Nigeria and move over to South Africa anytime crucial tourneys came on.
Then came the sharp slide.Â At first, it was like Oche was deliberately having a time-off so some other pros could win a game or two. But when the lad could not notch a win in some five consecutive tourneys, it became apparent something was amiss.
Unknown to all, Edet Umoh who had lived under the shadows of Oche was set to hit the limelight. Edet won the first major tournament in Lagos and Oche crashed. Oche found it difficult to hit his usual form creating a vacumn that was quickly filled by players like Christian Godfrey, Emos Korblah and Edet. For Oche, the year 2009 on the local front is not one that he was want a repeat of.
Despite,Â the challenges, Oche believes all is well with his game and would soon reclaim his position and that there is no cause for alarm.
Finally, a Governorâ€™s Cup with class
Ibori Golf and Country, AsabaÂ organised the second edition of the Governorâ€™s Cup few weeks back but this year, it Came with a touch of class. The last edition of the Governorâ€™s Cup was good but compared to the recently held edition, they are poles apart.
Apart from the course that wore a new look with the addition of new bunkers and extended tee boxes, important dignitaries which included Senate President David Mark, OsunState Governor Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, General Patrick Aziza (rtd), General CK Emein (rtd), General Enahoro (rtd), Sam Iradia and many others attended the tournament.
For once, the event had class.Â The growing influence of IGCC Captain Hon. Daniel Mayuku also made the tournament a huge success. Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan personally teed of the tournament and was at the venue twice during the pro event to see things for himself.
NGF raise fresh hope for golf
After a decade of organisation of the biggest golf tournament on its calendar-The President Cup, the new NGF under the leadership of an avid golfer and Governor of Osun State Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola finally gave Nigerians some hope that there is future for amateur golf in the country.
The week long eventÂ took place at the sprawling 18 holes golf facility in Uyo, and restored the amateur ranking system, which has been dead for close to a decade. The featÂ for once identified the best top 10 amateur golfers in the country.
Aside that, it also restored confidence in Nigerians that amateur golf will not go the way of amateur boxing in Nigeria.
The week-long event featured top class professional and amateur golfers.