KAMPALA. American golfer Dustin Johnson was tied for second with Louis Oosthuizen, one stroke behind eventual US Open champion, Jordan Spieth going to hole No. 18 in June.
Then the nightmare on 18! He missed a 12-foot putt for eagle, which could have seen him claim the title.
Dustin then missed a 4-foot putt which would have forced an 18-hole playoff with Spieth. Instead, he was on his way home as the awards ceremony happened.
Last Thursday, dethroned Professional Uganda Open Champion Deo Akope arrived at the 18th hole still in contention for the 150 shot cut-off mark.
All he had to do was play level the par-4 hole to join the 31 pros and two amateurs in the penultimate round. He bogeyed it – his third putt evading the pin from three feet – and missed the cut by a stroke. Two days later, after leveling at 7-under on hole No. 17, Zambian Muthuya Madalitso needed to, at worst, play level the par-4 No. 18 to avoid losing to eventual champion in amateur Ronald Otile as the two golfers treated the crowd that followed hole by hole to spells of gasps and awes.
“I knew hole 18 was always a challenge for him (Madalitso) because it sloppy,” said Otile, “He told me on Friday that 18 hole was funny.”
Or rather tricky. Madalitso’s tee shot went to the woods, rolling off a spectator and defiantly settling behind a tree.
He played safe back to the fairway and his subsequent shot, a third on the par-4 hole, found the sand bunker. His chip could only stop near the pin. He eventually bogeyed before Otile found the pin with his fourth putt to clinch his second Open title in seven days. “I’ve actually played hole 18 quite poorly,” admitted Madalitso, “I played a four-over for the week which is really bad. It’s actually an easy hole when you put your ball in the middle of the fairway. I just didn’t hit good tee balls
“I think I only hit the fairway once and each time I missed it I hit a bogey or a double bogey. And I was behind the tree. I also got unfortunate because I would always end up behind the tree and I was forced to always punch out.”