Nigeria’s number one ranked professional golfer Kamalu Bako got off to a slow start on Thursday on the opening day of the Professional Development Golf Tour (PGD) managed by Meristem Securities.

Bako, who is outside the top 10 in the standings, will need to catch up as he is five shots off the joint leaders on the first day of action at Lakowe Lakes Golf and Country Estates in Lagos.

By the end of the first day of action, four players posted a three-under 69 to set the tone for an exciting weekend of action.

The Ikoyi Club 1938 duo of Sunday Olapade and Francis Epe kept the charge from the home front, while Ivory Coast’s Kouame Richard and Ghana’s Vincent Torgah teamed up to share the opening day spotlight.

Femi Olagbenro, golf manager of the host club, said the players’ performance frankly described the pursuit of regular playing time by professionals.

“Today’s scores are encouraging and speak volumes for the need for active playing time by the professionals. The PGD Tour will complement what other stakeholders have on the plate for the development of professional golf and I am confident that the scores will improve further.” He said.

In fifth place, two shots behind the four leaders from the first round is Friday Akpodiette, while Gift Willy, Enoch Owusu, Mohammed Kabir Haruna, Francis Christopher and Abubakar Mustapha are tied for sixth and will level the even score in the Lakowe golf course. .

Other top players lurking near the leaders ahead of the second round include former Nigeria number one player Nojeem Sofala, Liman Mohammed, Chukwudi Okoro and Paul Patrick who all shot 73, one over par.

The Meristem Open has a prize pool of N10,000,000 and will be decided over three days on the championship course of Lakowe Lakes Golf Club in Lagos, from 26-28 January 2023.

In all, 87 professional golfers teeed off Thursday at the Meristem Open, the inaugural event of the Professional Golfer Development Tour.

Adefemi Taiwo, Director of Branding and Corporate Communications at Meristem, said she hopes this will usher in a new era in the development of professional golf in Nigeria that will span the entire continent.

“We would love to boost support for the immense talents we have seen in professional golf. And given also the different highlights from a professional point of view, a lot can be achieved for the betterment of all stakeholders.” She said.

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