Kenya Golf Guide

REPRESENTING: Brian Njoroge lines his putt during a past local tournament. He is currently the best placed Kenyan at the ongoing American Express Dirab Golf Championships in Saudi Arabia.

By JAMES WAINDI (Chief Editor)

Vet Lab’s Brian Njoroge was the best placed Kenyan after the first round of the ongoing American Express Dirab Golf Championships being held at the par 72 Dirab Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia.

Njoroge who was among the local professional who made the cut during this year’s Kenya Open Golf Championships held seven months ago, tied in the seventh position after day one on one under par 71.

The second best placed Kenyan in the Championships was South African based Stephan Engell Andersen who managed one over par 73, while Royal Nairobi Golf Club’s Hardeep Thethy played four over par 76 and Ganeev Giddie of Sigona had six over par 78.

Meanwhile, local knowledge came in handy as Pakistan’s Shafiq Masih set the early pace in the American Express Dirab Golf Championship, the third event on the 2012 MENA Tour, on Monday.

The former teaching pro at Saudi Arabia’s premier course navigated through the challenging layout with a tidy four-under 68 to share the lead with England’s William Harrold and Scotland’s Duncan Stewart after the first round of the $50,000 event, being held under the patronage of HRH Nawaf bin Faisal bin Fahad Al Saud, head of Saudi Arabia’s Youth Welfare Presidency.

Snapping on the heels of early pace-setters, one shot adrift, were Zane Scotland, the winner of the Dubai Creek Open, the tour opening event, and Morocco’s fast-improving amateur Amine El Malki.

Among the notables, Yasin Ali, an Asian Tour regular, settled for a 71 along with Faycal Serghini of Morocco and Pakistan’s Talib Hussain as 13 player broke par at the par-72, 7,280-yard course, located 45km south west of Riyadh and nestled in the picturesque Tawfiq valley.

Pakistan’s Masih admitted his vast knowledge of the Dirab course played a role in stringing together a 68. “I have played this course about 50 to 60 and know what it takes to shoot low here,” said Masih, who eagled the par-4, 12th and par-5, 15th to steady his round after an ugly double-bogey on the 10th.

“The undulating tree-lined fairways demand accuracy off the tee and the greens are tricky. You have to plan your approach shots according to pin positions,” said Masih, who coached Dirab Club members for one year in 2008.

England’s Harrold reeled off three birdies in a row from the seventh to make the turn at 33, but failed to keep the momentum rolling into the back nine where he picked up one shot at the 13th.

“Overall, it was a good round, but it could have been even better had I converted scoring chances on the back nine,” said the Englishman.

Also, moving on top of the leaderboard was Scotland’s Stewart, who followed his birdie putt on the 8th with an eagle. “It’s nice to start with a 68 considering the fact that the pin positions were a bit tricky. I putted well and that was the key,” he said.

Equally pleased with his round was Morocco’s leading amateur El Malki.”You need to play smart golf on this course if you aim to go low.  Today, I hit the ball well off the tee and managed to hole some good putts,” he said. sac michael kors outlet sac michael kors outlet

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