By: LARRY NGALA
Kenya’s title hopes in the ongoing International Long Drive Championships remained alive Thursday after eliminating hosts Mexico and one of the four American teams.
Professional Jacob Okello hit solid 359 and 357 yards in both his sets in the seniors (over 45) which were good enough to advance him to the winners’ bracket. He was due to hit in the elimination rounds yesterday where he remained undefeated. The day began with the individual rounds where the women took off first where it was however a struggle for Kenya’s team captain and the only lady in the team Phera Jai.
“I couldn’t find my swing this morning. But I’m confident I will be fine tomorrow (Friday),” said Jai. Like in the women’s section, Kenyan hitter Ajay Matharu from Sigona was also eliminated after his first set at 309 yards in the Open Hitters category where he managed only one ball out of six to the grid.
“I’m disappointed. I only hit one ball out of six in the grid and this whole week I just didn’t have it and didn’t feel like I caught a single ball,” said Matharu. However, Anthony Njoroge’s 348 and Kevin Mabele’s 319 were good enough to keep them alive in the competition.
The day ended with the team event and Kenya delivered their deadly blows. In the first match against Mexico, Jai and Matharu found their swings and hammered home 275 and 355 respectively. Muthaiga golfer Anthony Wachira found his longest ball of the event at 364 yards and added together with Mabele’s 317 to give Kenya a commanding lead with one hitter to go. Okello, who was still out of bound after the first four balls, utilised his experience and came through with a 348 yard drive right down the centre to seal victory.
USA started on fire with world record-holder Mike Dobbyn hitting a massive 422 against Matharu’s 355. Wachira delivered a 362 yard bomb to keep the team alive against Dobbyn’s 365.
Mabele and Jai’s 318 and 275 respectively kept Team Kenya alive and they headed into the last hitter behind by 150 yards. It was now all on the senior hitter Okello, who started his set with a solid 348 right down the middle sending his fellow teammates into a frenzy.
The luck was after all in Team Kenya’s favour as after six balls, the US senior hitter had no balls in the grid thus Kenya won and eliminated USA White.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION