Kenya Golf Guide

Jose-Filipe Lima of Portugal follows his tee shot during the first round of this year’s Kenya Open Golf Champions at Karen Club today. He currently tops the leader board.


French born Portuguese Jose-Filipe Lima today took an early two shot lead after the end of the first round as the 48th edition of the Kenya Open Golf Championships teed of at the par 72 Karen Golf and Country Club.

The 33-year old player who turned professional in 2002 while playing off handicap plus 3 ended the day on eight under par 64 to set an early pace in the premier tournament that is also part of the European Challenge Tour.

After playing pars in the first two holes, Lima engaged the gear on the par five hole three where he sunk a birdie but played level pars in the next four holes before sinking another birdie on the par four hole eight for a first nine score of 34.

In the second nine, Lima started with a birdie on the par four hole 10, played a par on the par four hole 11, before sinking four back-to-back birdies on hole 12, 13, 14, and 15. On the 16th and 17th holes he played pars, before sinking another birdie on the par five 18th for a second nine score of 30.

“It was a good one to start, and I had exactly the same score in the Pro-Am on Tuesday and won, so to have that score two times in a row on this course makes me very happy,” said the French born Portuguese with three Challenge Tour titles to his name.

He added: “I took two months off after the surgery, but since then I have been to Morocco with my coach and I am swinging much better now. I was losing some power and flexibility last season with what was wrong with my back, but now it is sorted I am feeling very happy.”

There is a three-strong chasing pack just two strokes adrift of the leading Lima, one that includes Spain’s Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Haydn Porteous of South Africa and German Sebastian Heisele, who all carded rounds of 66 on day one.

The latter of those was the only one of the leading four players to have taken to the links in the morning half of the draw, but Heisele – raised in Dubai – was very pleased to have continued the form that saw him earn a place on the Challenge Tour this season through the satellite Pro Golf Tour.

Two wins and a raft of top tens on the northern European circuit saw him finish last season in second place on their Order of Merit, and four strong performances in Morocco earlier in the year have also seen him travel to Nairobi in buoyant mood.

“It was very steady today,” said the 26 year old, who graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a Bachelor degree in Architecture back in 2011.

It is a course that sets up well for me as you need to hit a lot of fairways and greens, and then get it as close to the hole. I was struggling with my consistency on the greens, but I made the best of it, which is a credit to my long game.

“My irons gave me a lot of close birdie attempts so it was a somewhat easy round, even if that does sound a little stupid, so hopefully I can go on from here.

“The big advantage I have here is that I studied in Colorado for four years, which is 1,600 metres up – compared to 1,800 here, so I knew what to expect once arrived. There are three more days to go though, but it is a good position to be in ahead of tomorrow.”

Just one stroke further adrift in a tie for fifth are Dutchman Daan Huizing, Sweden’s Oscar Stark and the Swiss player Damian Ulrich, who all carded five under par rounds of 67 on day one to stay within touching distance of the leading Lima.

They are narrowly ahead of a host of top talent in a share of eighth spot, a group that includes England’s Steven Brown, Swede Jesper Billing, Cyril Bouniol of France, Portugal’s Joao Carlota, Dane Andreas Harto and Jaako Makitalo of Finland, all at four under.

The local crowds have also had plenty to cheer about on the opening day, thanks to the efforts of Kenyan stalwarts like Dismas Indiza Anyonyi, who carded a three under par score to open his 16th start in his national Open.

He is one of 34 home grown players to tee it up this year, a number that is greater than in any season dating back to1999.

Leader board after Round 1:

1. Jose-Filipe Lima Por -8 64

T2. Sebastian Heisele Ger -6 66

       Emilio Cuartero Blanco Spa -6 66

       Haydn Porteous SA -6 66

T5. Oscar Stark Swe -5 67

       Daan Huizing Ner -5 67

       Damian Ulrich Swi -5 67 nike air max womens nike air max womens

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