Kenya Open: Ugandan makes DP World Tour history sure to leave you smiling

Amidst all of the money and greed dividing the sport right now, something magical took place at the Kenya Open on Friday.

And it will surely leave a smile on your face.

Ronald Rugumayo, a 31-year-old from Uganda, became the first golfer from his country to make the cut at a DP World Tour event.

He did so in dramatic fashion, making a seven-footer for birdie on the par-5 18th to make the cut on the number at even-par. Rugumayo shot a 1-under 71 on Friday, thanks to this historic putt that dropped in the side door.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what I should say,” Rugumayo said to Jason Sagini of RIF, a French radio outlet, after his round.

“Whatever happened today, I was expecting it, and I have been working hard towards it. I have really put in a lot of time and commitment, and whatever has happened this week, I really deserve it.”

Currently ranked 2901st in the Official World Golf Rankings, Rugumayo has qualified for the Magicial Kenya Open three times before. But in each of those appearances, he did not come close to making the cut.

Before this week, his career scoring average at the Kenya Open was 75.67, but he did shoot a 3-under 69 during the second round in 2022. That helped him finish in a tie for 92nd, still three shots below the cut line.

“This year, this tournament, I want more than just making the cut,” Rugumayo added.

“Yes, I made the cut. But I have not achieved my targets yet. I would love a good position, but it will all [depend] on me, how I play, and how I handle things. What I do will determine where I will finish.”

Surely, Rugumayo would love to contend in a DP World Tour event, or perhaps even win! But his accomplishment of making the weekend should not be overlooked.

Consider this video posted by Ugandan sportscaster Innocent Ndawula, who beautifully captured the excitement surrounding the 18th green immediately after Rugumayo’s putt dropped.

Rugumayo’s play should be celebrated all around the world, not just in his native Uganda. His showing in Kenya this week is a testament to his drive, tenacity, and determination, but it also demonstrates how global the game of golf is.

After all, of the 15 professional events he played in on the Sunshine Tour and the Big Easy Tour in 2023, Rugumayo made only three cuts.

Hence, he knows all about pressure and the extraordinary meaning of making the cut, which means he takes home a paycheck.

“Pressure is normal. It happens to everyone,” Rugumayo added.

“But one thing I like about pressure when it comes is that you are playing for something good. On the other hand, I embrace pressure. If you are playing for free, you can’t feel pressure, so every time I feel pressure, it is a reminder that I am playing for something good.”

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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