The ministry of Tourism and Wildlife on Wednesday unveiled the team that will represent Kenya in the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship. The Kenyan team of 18 golfers in total comprises of 12 professional golfers and 6 elite amateur golfers.
Tourism and Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, unveiled the players when he launched the Government’s sponsorship of Ksh. 250 million at the Nairobi National Park. The venue was symbolic as the government wants to use the tournament to boost Tourism in the country.
Speaking at the ceremony, Balala said that the driving force behind the sponsorship is to attract big names in the game and to showcase Kenya as a “safe and peaceful destination” for sports tourism.
The purpose of the European Tour is to profile the destination and attract the big names in the game of golf and finally, it’s happening now. Through our sports fund, we have committed Ksh 250 million and the prize money for this event is Ksh 130 million,” he said
This Kenya Open edition is the first since the tournament was elevated to the PGA World tour and Kenyan golfers ought to use home ground advantage to boost their World Rankings. Experienced pros have been called to represent the country as the hosts look to make a great impact in the tournament.
However, there are a few golfers from whom Kenyans will be expecting a lot considering their skills and experience in the game. Take a look on top golfers that will be representing Kenya in the 3-day event:
With his three straight victories and a top placing in the Safari Tour golf series, Muthaiga golf club’s Greg Snow is sure of leading Kenya’s challenge in this year’s Kenya Open golf championship. Arguably the best golfer in the country, Snow is almost everyone’s number one pick to lead fellow compatriots in the tournament.
Even though he started the first six events of the Safari Golf tour poorly, Snow managed to bounce back strongly to beat tournament favorite Dismas Indiza at Vet Lab Sports Club in Nairobi for his first 20 points. Snow scored a total of 113.5 points to claim the title in the six-leg safari tour series.
Out of the six tournaments, the Muthaiga pro took maximum points in four of the six events, to take the top spot in the ranking.
In the Safari golf tour, Indiza finished a few points behind Snow with a total of 111 points from all the six legs. In the last leg, however, Indiza finally came first after a string of second-place finishes. Mumias based Indiza celebrated at the end of the Karen Country Club leg of the Safari Tour, after returning a score of 3-over par 74 in the final round to win the leg.
Indiza is the most consistent Kenyan player in the Kenya Open despite never claiming the title. The 50-year-old golfer has made a total of 9 cuts and missed 7 times since he started playing in the Open as a professional in 1999.
Going into his 20th Kenya Open, Indiza will be hoping to get the title this time after years of trying.
Having finished third in the Safari golf tour series, Charania can only become the third favorite for the title after Snow and Indiza. Having won the Windsor leg of the Safari Tour in his home course, Charania totally stands a chance of performing well at the Magical Kenya Open.
Windsor Hotel Golf Hotel and Country Club’s golfer has shown great potential in the Safari Tour having fallen short to the exceptional duo that is Indiza and Snow. If he manages to beat the two, Charania can even take the title at the March 17 tournament. His win at the Safari Tour leg was only his first hinting for improvement and more of the same.
Apart from the three, other pro golfers picked to fly Kenya’s flag at the tournament include David Opati of Windsor Golf and Country Club, David Wakhu and Tony Omuli of Golf Park Golf Club, C.J. Wangai of Sigona Golf Club, Nelson Simwa of Vet Lab Sports Club, Simon Ngige of Thika Golf Club, Erick Ooko of Royal Nairobi Golf Club, Justus Madoya of Great Rift Valley Golf Resort and Philip Kasozi of Uganda Golf Club.
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The elite amateur golfers to compete at the tournament are Daniel Nduva of Nyali Golf and Country Club, Samuel Njoroge of Railway Golf Club, Mutahi Kibugu of Muthaiga Golf Club, Edwin Mudanyi of Vet Lab Sports Club, Mike Kisia also of Vet Lab Sports Club and Bradley Mogire of Emirates Golf Club.
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