By Richard Animam
The absence of major golf tournaments in the country has seen Nigerian professional golfers seek greener pastures elsewhere in the continent. Few weeks ago, a set of Nigerian pro golfers travelled to Kenya where they put up impressive performance.
Another set flew to Gabon and returned home with their shoulders held high. Only last week Zaria-born Abdullahi Ali once again proved his fast raising profile in the game of golf edging out Abuja based Gboyega Oyenabji to lift the first edition of the Cameroon International Golf Championship that holed out last Saturday at YaoundÃ© Golf Course, the Cameroonian capital city.
Ali winner of the President Cup in Asaba and a prominent member of the EPDL Tour in Holland, carded 71, one under par on the final day of the event to consolidate on the 66, six under par that he churned out on Friday to upturn the leaderboard. With that, he completed a back_to_back win of events that he has featured in on the continent since April.
â€œWords cannot describe how I feel, but I must credit the challenges of the Nigeria PGA (Professional Golfers Association) Tour, I think it is the toughest on this part of Africa and it easily prepares you challenges of this sort on the African Tourâ€ He said.
Eight Nigeria Players had featured in the event, and only one of them failed to make it to the second round of the four day championship that has a purse of 50, 000 Euros as total winning for all the participating players.
For Aliâ€™s effort he pockets a handsome 10, 000 Euros while Gboyega Oyebanji who finished with eight strokes behind him cashed 5, 000 for his effort. Ivorien, Maecel Soumahoro picked a joint_third award with Moroccoan Sabi Abdelhak.
Abdullahi has now extended his lead at the top of Tour de Afrique ranking who are the organizers of the event, while he still also hold the top place on the Nigerian â€˜order of meritâ€™ for the local events organized by the PGA of Nigeria.
President of the Tour de Afrique, Emile Abessolo, said it is his pleasure to have such a brilliant and entertaining team from Nigerian grace the Camerron open, â€œThey have not only done their country proud, they have also accentuated the vision of the Tour, to give a platform for the talented professional from Africa to blossomâ€
â€œAli has won the two key events that Tour has staged so farÂ and with convincing resultsÂ and we would be glad to present him to the worldÂ and to hand him the full benefit he deserves for doing so. I also believe it is a challenge to other African Countries to give attention to their professional golfâ€ he concluded.