Why this putt from the 2,091st-ranked player in the world meant so much

Ronald Rugumayo competing in the Magical Kenya Open

Roger Rugumayo of Uganda became the first player from his country to make a DP World Tour cut.

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They say you drive for show and putt for dough. But the meaning of some strokes can’t be measured in money. 

A reminder came late Friday when a little-known pro named Ronald Rugumayo drained a mid-range slider on the 18th hole of his second round at the Magical Kenya Open, at Muthaiga Country Club, in Nairobi.

Rugumayo, 31, is No. 2,901 in the Official World Golf Ranking. He holds his flat-stick with a pencil grip. As his putt fell in the cup, slipping in the side door on its final roll, he dropped into a crouch and fist-pumped, then looked up in exultation. He was even-par for the event and nowhere near the lead. But in making birdie, he’d made history, too, becoming the first Ugandan golfer to survive the 36-hole cut in a DP World Tour event.

“That’s just brilliant,” a commentator on the DP World Tour broadcast said.

The internet agreed.

True to Rugumayo’s nickname, Mayo, replays of his putt soon spread across the X-osphere (that’s what we’re calling the Twitter-verse these days right?), capturing the moment from multiple points of view, including this especially charming snippet from inside the Muthaiga clubhouse.

Here’s some additional perspective. The east African nation of Uganda has fewer than 20 golf courses and no players with full status on any of the major Tours. Though Rugumayo had played in the two previous Magical Kenya Opens, (he made an ace in the opening round last year), those were his only other starts on the DP World Tour. Friday’s clutch birdie was the highest-profile moment of his career. And with the possible exception of his countryman Roger Sali, whose efforts to grow the game in Uganda have been documented in film, he is now the best-known Ugandan golfer in the world.

On Saturday, Rugumayo followed up his heroics with an even-par third round of 71, and will start Sunday’s final round 10 shots behind the leaders. But by any measure, his week in Nairobi has already been a win. 

Josh Sens

Golf.com Editor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.