The first official event on the PGA Nigeria 2017 calendar got underway yesterday in Otukpo, Benue State, with all the key players bidding for vital tour points at the Pa Aikwuta Mark Memorial Championship.
Traditionally, the Pa Mark tournament, organised by the former President of Nigerian Senate, Senator David Mark in memory of his late father, set the stage for other events on the PGA calendar.
A cluster of 100 professional players and 30 Category One players are in Akpegede, Otukpo for the tournament that ends on Saturday.
The event began on Tuesday when 30 professional players held their nerves and progressed into the main 72-hole event from the Tour Card event that featured 64 players.
The players who make the cut after 36 holes will split the prize purse of N5million at the end of the tournament.
PGA Nigeria official, Bolaji Olajide, yesterday said that the Tour Card event is symbolic as it would enable the players that fell outside the top 30 last year to fight for a place in the exempt group that do not have to pre- qualify for events in the whole of the 2017 season.
Some of the players in the heat of the moment in Otukpo include the 2016 Order of Merit Leader, Sunday Odegha, Gboyega Oyebanji, Gift Willy, Lateef Lasisi, Markus Elisha and the Ghanaian Vincent Torgah, among others.
Instructively, it was Torgah who defeated Odegha in a play-off to win the tournament last year before he finished with a flourish by clinching the West Africa Tour at the year ending event in Abuja, beating a pack of shot-makers led by Andrew Oche Odoh.