Nigeria’s number one ranked professional golfer, Ali Abdullahi caused stir on Sunday at Manga Golf Club in Gabon when he became the second foreigner to lift Moanda Golf Championship. Abdullahi, featured in the event with two other Nigerian players,  Basiru Bakare  and Gift Willy, and said his exposure in Nigeria and in Europe gave him the edge  at the  event.

He said, “I am happy to be winner in this event, which is my very first exposure in Africa outside of the Nigerian Tour and I believe the victory is not only for me, it is  for Nigeria  and my sponsors  and fellow professionals back in Nigeria”

He took over the lead after round two of the four day event and ended up winning the event with eighteen strokes margin, shooting 75, 75, 71, 68 at the par 72  course. He beat five time champion  and long-time Gabonese  number one player, Brice Moukagni to second place  while Ivorien, Macel Soumahoro picked the third place. The event which is in its fifteenth edition also featured amateur players who had 36 holes contest while professional players had assembled from Nigeria, Togo, Cameroun, Ivory Coast and Gabon.

The two other Nigerian players finished in jointh sixth place and believed that the result, especially the victory by their compatriot speaks volume of the quality of professional golf activity in Nigeria.

Sam Emehelu, Nigeria’s golf analyst  and journalist who was with the team said the exposure for Nigeria players across the continent will further open the player’s skill and potentials to new challenges  and vistas of opportunities.

“Nigeria is bottling up a lot of opportunities that the potentials of professional golf development can fetch. The encouragement of golf players to bigger stage like the one Ali has just done here in Gabon can help us further.

“There are openings in Congo DR, Cameroun, Morocco and in some other European countries for the players and with some support, the result will multiply.” Ali won the only PGA ranking event in Nigeria in Otukpo  and has climbed to number one with it and he said he would be taking all the chances presented to him  on the continent, until he returns to his base in Holland for the summer series of the European Players Development (EPD) Tour, where he is also a member.


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