Something unusual in Ugandan golf recently happened when the host nation lost the battle to Kenya at the second edition of the Victoria Cup in Entebbe on July 8.
Normally, Uganda had tormented opponents on home soil, garnering the 2014 East Africa Challenge and the 2015 Africa Zone VI titles in Entebbe and at Kitante respectively.
But coach Amos Kamya’s troops failed to customarily utilise home advantage at the three-day East African Ryder Cup tourney, leaving Kenyan captain Alfred Nandwa and team to celebrate a two-point victory.
There were many questions raised but few answers for Kamya, Uganda Golf Union (UGU) and the team. However, one positive stood out in David Kamulindwa.
Despite being on the losing end, the teenager delivered an unmatchable display on his senior international debut at the par-71 lakeside course.
Partnering with Richard Baguma, the 16-year-old collected 3.5 points from a possible five matches in the four-ball better-ball, foursomes and singles rounds. Uganda tallied 12 points whereas Kenya had 14.
“I played well and I am happy with my first appearance,” Kamulindwa told SCORE. “We played good golf but unfortunately, the results were not good,”
Raised in Fort Portal, the humble lad is the last born to Stephen Kihika and Florence Kabahoma in the family of seven.
It is his golfing brothers Adolf Muhumuza and Lawrence Muhenda who introduced Kamulindwa to the sport in August 2015. “They encouraged me to play good golf like them,” said the senior three student at Mpanga Secondary School in Fort Portal. “My coach is Muhumuza. He teaches me everything when home.” That home is just 2km away from the nine-hole Tooro Golf Club.
Kamulindwa first came onto the scene when he made the four-man team to represent Uganda at the All-Africa Junior Golf Championships in Zimbabwe in April.
His opening three-under 69 score at the Royal Harare Club spurred him to an overall individual 13th finish, later making the top 10 in the Victoria Cup team qualifier.
At Entebbe, Kamulindwa played like a regular, exhibiting strong temperament whether at the tee, fairway or green.
After beating Agil Jamal and Nandwa 4/3 (4-up with three holes to spare) in the Day One four-ball better-ball, Kamulindwa and Baguma trailed Samuel Njoroge and Denis Saikwa after three successive holes in the run-up to Hole No.16.
But it is his clever half-a-metre-putter from the left on the par-5 No.18th green that helped them square to save Uganda’s day.
“He is a bit short tempered but with my experience, I ensured he was calm and collected even after playing a bad shot,” Baguma said of Kamulindwa.
“Baguma gave me comfort to play well,” Kamulindwa acknowledged his partner. When all other pairings fell in Day Two’s morning four-ball better-ball, this pairing stood out with a 3/2 win over Edwin Mudanyi and Mutahi Kibugu.
They were only unfortunate in the 3/1 foursomes’ loss to Karichu and Mike Kisia but Kamulindwa fought again on the final day, coming from 4-down after Hole No.11 to beat Jamal 2-up.
Having announced his arrival, Kamulindwa’s most important mission is becoming the youngest ever to win the Uganda Open in September. “My target is to win Uganda Open this year. Otile won it at 20 but I can do it even younger and it is very possible. I will train hard, work on my swing and short game.”
Kamulindwa, however, still has a challenge. “I don’t have sponsors. It is even UGU that gave the clubs I am using now.”
His talent, however, already, triggered UGU President Johnson Omollo who promised to pay the player’s school fees next term.
VICTORIA CUP PERFORMANCE
* Kamulindwa & Richard Baguma (UGA) bt. Agil Jamal & Alfred Nandwa (KEN) 4/3
*Kamulindwa & Baguma (UGA) vs. Samuel Njoroge & Denis Saikwa (KEN) (All/Square)
*Kamulindwa & Baguma (UGA) bt. Edwin Mudanyi & Mutahi Kibugu (KEN) 3/2
*John Karichu & Mike Kisia (KEN) bt. Kamulindwa & Baguma (UGA) 3/1
*Kamulindwa (UGA) bt. Agil Jamal (KEN) 2-up
KAMULINDWA AT A GLANCE
Date of birth: January 5, 2001
Club: Tooro Club
Education: Mpanga Secondary School
Class: Senior Three
Favourite Course: Serena Kigo
Favourite Colour: White
Phone: Samsung J1