Christopher Francis of Minna Cantonment Golf Club in Niger State has registered his name in the PGA of Nigeria winners chart since turning a professional after 2018 1st Jigawa State Governor’s Cup victory in Dutse.
Francis who became a professional in 2013 was only best for second position from all mathematical calculations until the final day when tournament favourite, Stephen Okpe, capitulated in hole six.
Francis however, seized the advantage to fight for the N500,000 winner’s prize from the N5 million purse, playing 79, 73, 73, 72.
The professionals’ event of the tournament which lasted four days (June 26 and 29) saw Francis trailing Okpe by five shot going into the final day, but fate was at work in hole six and he told DAILY INDEPENDENT philosophically, “It was God.”
On how performance he explained, “I didn’t do anything special; I played my normal game, with focus and courage even with five shots behind the leader, Okpe – though with the intention to win the tournament and that paid off at hole six when Okpe misfired and I never looked back.
Francis however, was humble in victory when he said, “I’m not better than those who could not win; anybody could have won the tournament, but God was on my side.”
Opke sadly still could not make the second spot which went to former Air Assault Open champion, Ayuba Izang as he (Okpe) settled for the third position.
Izang played 72, 77, 76, 78 while Okpe played 74, 72, 74, 83.
Francis, a Benue-born golfer, however, said that the victory was a challenge for him in future tournaments to prove the victory was not a fluke as he commended the Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, the Governor of Jigawa State and Nuhu Sanusi, the Emir of Dutse for sponsorship of the tournament.