Kenya Golf Guide

Golf Park's Joseph Karanja lines his putt during a past event. He is in contention for the Goty award and could be crowned the winner this weekend.


Joseph Waweru Karanja of Golf Park will be leading top Kenya golf Amateurs at the par 71 Nyali golf and country club course in Mombasa during this year’s Nyali open golf championships that kicks off from tomorrow (Saturday).

The two days- 54 holes tournament to be played over three rounds is the season ender to determine Kenya’s top golf amateur in the Kenya golfer of the year (GOTY) series.

The first and second rounds of 36 holes will be played tomorrow and the final rounds of 18 holes will be played on Sunday.

The golfers will be seeded on the basis of the first and second round results with the top best teeing off in the last fleets during the final rounds.

Karanja, a scratch golfer from the Golf Park, currently leads the series ahead of his club mate and fellow international David Opati,who is another scratch golfer.

Karanja  who will  be playing as formality,has already clinched the 2011 Keringet Golfer of the Year (Goty) title despite his poor finish with just two points behind the eventual winner Frank Matilo of Muthaiga during the Uhuru Shield at Royal Nairobi Golf Club, two weeks ago.

Karanja, a member of Kenya’s national golf team, shot six over par 78 in the closing round to drop from joint second to finish seventh overall with 224 gross.

The position, however, earned him three points towards the Goty series for a total of 81.50 points, 18.75 ahead of his closest rival and club-mate David Opati.

But that was all Karanja needed and he is expected to be crowned Kenya’s top amateur golfer at the last event of the season in the Nyali Open at Nyali Golf and Country Club Mombasa this weekend.

This means Karanja has also automatically qualified to play in the 2012 Barclays Kenya Open at Muthaiga Golf Club.

David Opati, who earned 6.75 points for finishing joint fourth at Royal, has a total of 62.75 and he will need to collect some points at Nyali to assure himself of at least the Silver medal.

Karanja and Opati has also qualified for next year’s Kenya Open by virtue of being the Kenya Amateur Stroke play champion.

The Nyali open will now has to open up doors to Vet Lab’s Robinson Owiti and Mathew Omondi, the new Uhuru Shield champion Frank Matilo and the Great Rift Valley Resort’s Justus Madoya  who will have to roll up their sleeves to contest for the remaining three amateur slots in the Kenya Open.

Currently Owiti has 51.25 while Omondi has 50.50 points. Matilo and Madoya are neck-to-neck on 48.75 and 48.50 points each.

Like the Uhuru Shield, the Nyali Open is offering points to the top eight players, with the winner taking home 12 points.

Pretoria based Stefan Andersen who is a top Kenyan Amateur is missing from the top five leaders after having participated at only one of 17 Keringet Goty events this year.

Andersen, who has recently, however, played for Kenya at the Africa Amateur Championship in Benoni, South Africa, is a student at the University of Pretoria, where he combines his studies with his golf.

Kenya’s skipper, Limuru’s Francis Kimani performed poorly throughout the year and is not even among the top ten.

The fate has also befallen Dennis Saikwa a young golfer whose potential is yet to blossom and John Ndichu from Sigona.

Junior golfer, Abraham Abdullahi from the Great Rift performed well at the Kenya Amateur Match-play, but lack of funds has denied the youngster a lot of opportunities.

The series, which comprises 18 tournaments, that runs through the year opens doors for young golf amateurs who not only go on to play against professionals in the Kenya Open but are selected into the national Men’s Golfing Team.

The Championships organized by the Kenya Golf Union, is being sponsored by the Kenya Tourism Development Corporation while the Keringet waters sponsors the Golfer of the year series.

The series was started in 1981 to rank the country’s top amateur golfers and attracts a selection of players, across both amateur and professional golfers, and including caddies as young as 18 years, as well as seasoned golfers.

It brings together Kenya’s top amateur golfers in an 18-event series spread across the country.

To play in the Keringet Golfer of the Year tournament, golfers must have at least a single handicap.

Mid last year, Keringet Water offered to sponsor all the Goty tournaments for the next three years, a big relief to some of the clubs, which have been struggling to find sponsors for their Goty tournaments.

Nyali’s Club Captain George Nesbitt said yesterday said yesterday that the championship has attracted 96 leading amateurs of handicap 0 to 14 drawn from various clubs in the Country.

He said the 6510 yards golf course is in an excellent condition and assured the golfers that they will be enjoying playing on well-groomed course among the best in Africa.

Nyali Golf & country club is a real championship layout with impeccable greens and some testing short rough. There are five par threes all having a degree of chance for the badly hit shot.

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