Kenya Golf Guide

Players practice at the Karen Club’s putting green today ahead of the start of the Kenya Open Golf championship.


Twenty local professionals and six amateurs will be in action as the Kenya Open Golf Championship proper tees off this morning at the par 72 Karen Golf and Country, hoping to break the jinx in the competition that has seen no Kenyan win for the last 45 years.

The closest a Kenyan player came to winning the four rounds event was in 1998 when Jacob Okello tied with Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez after the final round and the winner had to be decided on a sudden death play-off on the par three hole 13 at the Muthaiga Golf Course, which Gonzalez won to force Okello to a runner-up position.

The stakes remain high for the locals and pressure will be on them to bring the title home for the first time in the tournament’s history. Most of the local pros were, however, coy on the prospects of winning the title.

Muthaiga’s Greg Snow who who was the best placed local player last year, being placed 34th overall, said he was target the top 10 slots and was noncommittal on his chances of winning the premium event.

“I think I have enough experience now having participated in the Mena Tour last year and I expect to perform better that last year at this year’s Kenya Open. My target is a top 10 finish so that I can qualify to play at the European Tour,” said Snow who turned professional in 2010 while playing off handicap +4.

Last year, five Kenyans made the cut after the second day. They were Greg Snow, David Odhiambo, Kopan Timbe, Ngugi Njuguna and Brian Njoroge and they are all in this year’s tournament.

Defending champion Jordi Garcia Pinto is around and will be eager to be the first player to successfully defend his title at the tournament.

The Kenya Open Golf Championship was founded in 1967, just four years after the country attained its independence and was included on the Europe-based Challenge Tour schedule in 1991.

The late Mohammed Rajab was the first black professional from Africa to participate in the event, during the 1970 tournament before he died in the early 1980’s. He opened the way for other locals to feature in the competition like Jimmy Kaugu, Lawrence Nginyo Kariuki, Bob Marjan and John Njunge, before Elisha Kasuku later joined the fray.

During the early years of the competition, the maximum field comprised of 42 players and the prize money was 2,000 pounds (Sh284,000). The field currently has 156 players with many being turned away to maintain a reasonable number according to the organisers and the prize money is now Sh23.6m (200, 000 Euros).

The title has been won by some of Europe’s biggest Ryder Cup stars, including Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Ken Brown and Christy O’Connor Jnr, as well as Masters champion Trevor Immelman.

Local pros at the Open:

Hardeep Thethy, Brian Njoroge, Kopan Timbe, Njuguna Ngugi, Greg Snow, Stefan Andersen, Nelson Mudanyi, Ganeev Giddie, Dismas Indiza, Simon Ngige, Anil Shah, Riz Charania, Nicholas Rokoine, David Wakhu, Sullivan Muthugia, David Odhiambo, Boniface Simwa, John kiondo, Jacob Okello, John Wangai, Mathew Omondi;

Local amateurs at the Open: Daniel Nduva (Nyali), John Karichu (Limuru), Nelson Simwa, Robinson Owiti (Vet Lab), Justus Madoya (Great Rift), Tom Omuli (Golf Park). nike air max trainers nike air max trainers

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