Golf: Battle for KCB Karen Masters slots on today

By Maarufu Mohamed: Friday, June 14th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Sports
KCB's Group Chief Operating Officer Sam Makome follows his shot. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The final leg of the Road to 2019 KCB Karen Masters golf championships takes centre stage today at the par 72 Royal Nairobi course as local professionals and amateurs fight for the remaining slots.

Thirty-six local golf professionals from different parts of the country are battling in a 54-hole three-day strokes play event that will end today afternoon in search of the limited slots.

Amateurs will tomorrow play their usual 18-hole stableford tournament where the last six slots to the Karen Masters Pro-Am will be at stake.

Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) captain Charles Wangai said the Royal Nairobi event has a prize fund of SH640,000, which will be shared by the top 15 professional finishers, where the winner will walk home with Sh110, 000.

Among the pros in contention is Muthaiga’s Greg Snow, Windsor’s Sujan Shah and Golf Park’s Tony Omuli.

Others are Royal’s Charan Thethy, Muthaiga’s Nelson Mudanyi and on-form Simon Ngige of Thika Sports Club.

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Ngige was the top-ranked local at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open with an impressive tournament total of 5 under par 279 gross for a joint 25th position.

He also topped at the Inaugural 2019 Crown Paints Invitational held last week at Muthaiga.

Mumias' long-hitter Dismas Indiza is also trying his luck alongside Royal Nairobi’s Eric Ooko, Nyali’s Njuguna Ngugi, Windsor’s Rizwan Charania and Mohit Mediratta.

KCB Group Director of Marketing and Communications Angela Mwirigi appreciated the partnership they are having with the golfers.

“We certainly see this as a long-term partnership with mutual benefits both for the golfers in the region and for the bank as well," said Mwirigi.

PGK chairman Charan Thethy said the five Karen Masters qualification rounds have not only helped raise golfing standards in the country but also provided local professionals with an enabling environment to shape up for the tournament.

“For the amateurs, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to brush shoulders with leading local and Sunshine Tour pros,” said Thethy.

This will be the final leg of the five series where qualifiers in the amateurs section have been the Men Winner, Lady Winner, Guest Winner, KCB Staff Winner, Junior Winner and a Wild Card winner, which is determined by the host club.

The 2019 KCB Karen Masters will be played from June 27-30 at the Karen Country Club.

The tournament is a Sunshine Tour and according to their offices in Cape Town, more than 140 South Africa-based golf professionals have applied to play in Karen.

The event will include four (4) elite amateur golfers, whose names will be submitted by the Kenya Golf Union, 30 locally based golf professionals whose names will be submitted by the Professional Golfers of Kenya and another 20 East and West African based golf professionals who will be directly invited by the hosts, Karen Country Club.

The Sunshine Tour is sending 100 golf professionals largely based in South Africa, who include defending champion Michael Palmer, currently ranked 23rd on the Sunshine Tour ranking.

Others are Daniel Van Tonder, JC Ritchie, Callum Mowat, Garrick Higgo, Martin Rohwer, Thriston Lawrence, Neil Schietekat, Jacques Blaauw and Steve Surry.

This is also the 3rd edition of the KCB Karen Masters.

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