Against all odds, Minna Cantonment Golf Club’s Francis Christopher, on Wednesday, pulled an unexpected under-par 64 in the closing round of the second Acutech Pro-Am Golf Championship to win the year’s first Professional Golf Association of Nigeria Tour event.
At the event held at Ikeja Golf Club, Christopher had teed off the last round in joint 13th place, with the 70, +1, and 73, +4, he had accumulated from his first two rounds.
“I went out today (last round) to hit the greens in regulation and make the best of the putts that came along the way. I did not imagine I would come off with such a score. So, I am very grateful to God, and I believe my training routine also contributed to it,” a jubilant Christopher said after the game.
His 64, -5 score dimmed the light on the chances of Nigeria’s former number ones, Kamalu Bako and Mike Ubi, who were favourites going to the last round. Bako ended the championship two strokes off Christopher’s total at 209, +2 for the runner-up position, while Mike Ubi tied with Okoh Johnson at 210, +3.
Elated by the players’ performances at the event, Acutech Director, Tare Alebiosu, said the players were excellent, adding that their play aligns with one of the company’s core objectives for sponsoring the event.
“We are about exposing the immense golf talents in the country and this feat sure speaks to that. The demography that constitutes professional golfers in Nigeria is young and very active, and we believe throwing our weight behind them will help grow the community and provide a platform to celebrate their skill too.”
In the ladies’ professional class, Bola Mustapha trumped with a three-shot margin. She finished with 246, ahead of Amina Wilfred, who was runner-up. Obadina Hannah and Blessing Abdul were tied in third place after 54 holes of play. IBB Golf and Country Club’s Liman Mohammed picked the senior Tour’s price at the event.
The win now puts Christopher squarely atop the Order of Merit (Nigeria PGA’s ranking system), for the 2024 season, where top players like Francis Epe, Gift Willy, Oche Odoh, and Olapade Sunday would have to wait for other opportunities in the year to edge him out.