Kericho Golf Club’s Bill Kalya and Edward Keter were crowned champions of the International Pairs qualifying Golf tournament played at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club Course in Nairobi on Saturday.
Handicap 10 Kalya and handicap 19 Keter both made equal contribution in returning a combined score of 47 stable ford points to emerge the overall champions.
Kalya capitalized on the Par 3s getting at least 2 points in 4 out of the 5 holes and an eagle on par 5 hole 7 to secure 4 points for the duo.
Keter on the other hand came to the rescue on the longer holes and maximized on his handicap strokes getting the much needed 3 points in 3 holes and 4 points in the par 4 hole 8.
Home players, Josiah Mwaniki and Patrick Mbagaya were the runners up with a three way count back score of 44 points.
They had tied on the same combined score with the pair of Erick Mutai and Julius Rono who were third and the fourth placed pair of Fredrick Wagura and Rebecca Njui while the pair of James Kamenchu and George Mburu who also had the same score were placed fifth.
The five pairs all qualified to the Kenya Grand Finale to be held on 1st September this year at a venue yet to be named.
The top three pairs from the Grand Finale will qualify for the fully funded golf trip to Portugal expected to be held at the Royal Obidos Spa & Golf Resort and Bom Successor Resort between 6th-10th November this year.
The event at Muthaiga is the first of the seven club qualifying events that will be held in different regions of the country and the second event will be held on 15th July at Nyahururu Sports Club to be followed by 22nd July at Kericho Golf Club.
Mutai and Rono are seeking another ticket to Portugal having been part of the 4 pairs that travelled to La Cala Hotel & Golf Resort, Spain on 14-18 November 2022 for the 2022 World Finals.
Kenya Golf Union (KGU) Executive Ndiga Kithae, speaking on behalf of the KGU Chairman Philip Ochola, appreciated Muthaiga Golf Club for hosting the tournament and informed the members of the value gained in participating in the series.
“Portugal has more than 30 golf estates and this opportunity presents a chance to our players to experience and learn from the country, “said Kithae.
Ndiga further urged the members present to introduce friends and juniors to golf and to continue supporting the initiatives of the union.
According to the rules of the event, Mixed pairs are allowed in the competition where the best stable ford points calculated off 85% handicap allowance are picked for the team per hole and summed up to arrive at the team score.
All golfers who are 18 years and above and have a valid WHS handicap index are eligible to play.
Kenya has participated in the International Pairs in the years 2019, 2021 and 2022 with a break in 2020 due to the Corona Pandemic.
Since the start of the series in 2019, 7 pairs have so far participated in the fully paid trip to the World Grand Finale.
Those who participated for the finals in 2019 at Penina Golf Resort, Portugal include the pairs of Mike Karanga with Steve Kiaro, James Kamenchu with Anthony Murage and Bhamra Bilu with Romy Sandhu.
In 2022, Saawan Shah with Jay Varia, Chand Shah with Kush Shah, Julius Rono with Eric Mutai and Steve Kiaro with David Gitao participated in the finals at La Cala Golf Resort in Spain.
The pair of Chand Shah with Kush Shah finished as runners ups in the World Finals just one point behind the winners from Namibia Johannes Damon and Hylton Villet.
At the Sea-Link Mombasa Golf Course on the same day, the Club’s immediate Captain Lawrence Odhiambo playing off handicap 12 proved he is still the master of the Course after carding an excellent 68 nett to grab the July Mug trophy in the top A Category of players.
Handicap 6 George Githinji on 72 nett and handicap 6 Eric Nyongesa with 73 nett were the runners up and third placed respectively.
The event sponsored by the Club saw left handed handicap 15 Victor Simbi claim the B division category on 66 nett while handicap 15 Peter Munge was the runners up on 71 nett and Clifford Tollo playing off handicap 18 was third with 75nett.
The Division C was won by handicap 19 Bernard Simiyu on 63 nett ahead of handicap 23 Paul Koech who was the runners up while taking the third slot was handicap 20 Francis Muthamia on 65 nett.
George Githinji carded a seven over par 78 gross to win the Best gross prize while handicap 30 Fidelis Odumo on 81 nett and handicap 7 Oscar Mukuria with 83 nett were the division C and Best guest winners respectively.
The Ladies July Medal in Division one was won by handicap 16 Wanjiku Kinyeru who had a score of 80 nett and Sandra Mundia playing off handicap 15 carded 83 nett to emerge the runners up.
Handicap 26 Susan Mwangi on 74 nett and handicap 23 Glady’s Kasi with 78 nett were the Division two and runners up winners respectively.
And at the Kenya Railways Golf Club course also on the same day, handicap 24 George Oraro carded 40 points to emerge the overall winner of the Chloride Exide golf tournament beating handicap 9 John Kimenya to the men's winner slot by a two points difference.
Willis Wasala playing off handicap 11 was the Men runners up on 37 points and handicap 20 Kariuki Muchemi settled for the third slot after carding 36 points.
The Lady winner was handicap 21 Millicent Mello who had a score of 39 points while handicap 27 Ruth Mwangi on 34 points and handicap 26 Florence Kamau with 31 points were the runners up and third placed respectively.
Tom Osoro playing off handicap 8 won the Gross prize with 85 gross while handicap 25 Dr.Ndegwa Gichuhi brought 36 points to win the Senior prize and taking the Junior prize was handicap 22 Jimmy Semenye with a score of 36 points.
The Sponsor prize was claimed by handicap 18 Richard Muli on 30 points and handicap 27 Leigh Mbuthia brought 41 points to win the Guest prize.