Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Sunday Olapade climbed to the apex of the Nigerian Order of Merit following his Kwara State Open Championship triumph at Ilorin Golf Club.
The Ada, Osun State-born professional, pegged Ghanaian legend, Emos Koblah by five shots to win at 11 under par 277.
His victory, his third official win since turning pro in 2011, is a morale booster ahead of the star- studded 3e Actuaries Equatorial Guinea Open that holds next month in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea.
Olapade grossed a final round 67 having earlier carded 69, 73 and 68 in the preceding 54 holes.
Oche Odoh and Chidi Tobias shared the third position at five under, while Ayuba Izang placed fifth at three under par.
After chasing the lead in the first two days, Olapade finally pounced on the third day to lead Korblah by one shot.
The ageless Korblah momentarily led at – 8 under par in the final round through hole 6, but after he bogeyed the seventh to make scores all square, Olapade rallied with three birdies on back nine and had the outright lead at 10 under par at hole 15.
He drained 16 birdies and six bogeys over 72 holes to reinforce his sizzling control of the situation at Ilorin.
“Course condition was okay, the tee boxes, the greens and fairways-everything was excellent and permitted great golf and suited my game. In the final round, something in my mind just told me I would win. And it happened,’’ Olapade told THISDAY yesterday.
Olapade will head to Mongomo hoping to secure his first 3e Actuaries Equatorial Guinea Open win from December 14-17 in only his fourth appearance.
He is one of the seven Nigerian professionals that will constitute the international field of 60 players aiming for a slice of the $150,000 prize fee.
He said he had been working on his game and hoping to excel at Equatorial Guinea.
“It is one tournament I crave to win and I hope to go for it. I have been training with Tunde Badmus and he has improved my game. I am set for Mongomo. I work hard whenever I go to Mongomo my dream is to win,” said the player who featured at the event in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions.