Okoko beats defending champion to Sixth AWA Junior Golf Championship
Godwin Okoko of Oturkpo Golf Club at the weekend beat defending champion, John Alex, also from the Benue State club, to win the Sixth Awa Ibraheem Junior Golf Championship. Okoko is now the new star of junior golf in Nigeria.
Okoko, 15, edged Alex in the second playoff hole when the two players were tied after 54 holes with gross score of 233 at the Ikeja Golf Club in Lagos.
“I am very glad that these young golfers can face this level of competition and pull off these beautiful performances, which is the essence of this event,” AWA Ibraheem, the sponsor of the event, said at the closing ceremony.
Okoko’s effort not only made him the hottest teenage golfer in Nigeria, but it also gives him the advantage of making a bold leap on the World Amateur Golf Ranking, since the event locked in by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews in Scotland, as a point awarding event.
And as with the tradition of the event, over 20 winners at the Championship were awarded scholarships to encourage them to stay back in school.
Secretary-General of the Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), Davies Oludare also speaking at the event said that it lived up to its rating as the best Junior Golf Championship in the country.
“This is undoubtedly the biggest pool of school kids anywhere in the country for a competitive golf event and we must commend the visionary team that has kept the standard high and also made it possible to get global recognition.
“The Federation will keep supporting and partnering ventures like this that seek to promote and grow the game, especially at the grassroots.”
The event featured 95 players in different categories, including U-9, 10-12, 13-15 and 16-17. Okoko, the overall winner, played in the 13-15 class, while runner up John Alex represented 16-17 category.
Destiny Oyero of Lagos State retained his title as number one in the U-9 category with a gross of 79, while other winners were Deborah Dung, Oyebo Ibrahim, and Iyeneobong Essien, among others.
The winners will represent Nigeria in the 2020 Africa Junior Championship in Egypt.