Who will be coronated at the Nakuru Golf Club this weekend?
GOLF By Mose Sammy | June 18th 2021
Hunt for Kenya Amateur Golf Championship points heads to the par-72 Nakuru Golf Club this weekend.
Coronation & Bendor Trophy tournament now in its 96th edition since it was founded in 1936, three years after the 18-hole course was founded, has attracted a rich field of the crème de la crème of the amateur ranks as they go point hunting.
This will be the fourth KAGC event after the year opener Sigona Bowl played at Sigona Club, Mt Kenya Championship-Nyeri Club and Muthaiga Open-Muthaiga Golf Club that were played just before suspension of sporting activities on March 21.
With 17 more events yet to be played before crowning of the winner. The remaining events are; Windsor Classic-Windsor Golf & Country Club, Winston Churchill Trophy- Thika Sports Club, Goldfields Trophy- Kakamega Sports Club, Kenya Amateur Match play Championship-Muthaiga Golf Club, Railway Invitational-Kenya Railway Golf Club, TransNzoia Championship-Kitale Club, Limuru Open & Brankenhurst Trophy-Limuru Country Club, Coast Open “Barry Cup”- Mombasa Golf Club.
Others are; Nyanza Open “Hippo Pot”- Nyanza Golf Club, Karen Challenge-Karen Country Club, Ronald Marshal & Toby Gibson Trophy-Njoro Country Club, Kabete Open-VetLab Sports Club, Tea Fields Trophy-Kericho Golf Club, Nandi Bears Trophy-Nandi Bears Golf Club, Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship-Nakuru Golf Club Manchester Salva-Eldoret Club, Uhuru Shield- Royal Nairobi Golf Club and Nyali Open-Nyali Golf & Country Club.
Kenya Golf Union (KGU) has already rescheduled six of the events that were not played during the lockdown period with five already confirmed in the yet to be released schedule.
St Andrew-Ndumberi's Michael Karanga heads to Nakuru a marked man as the best-placed elite golfer after garnering a staggering (84,66,15) 165 points from the three events. Even as Muthaiga Golf Clubs Bo Ciera plays catch-up with 80 points behind Karanga with less than half of Karanga’s points despite missing out on both Sigona Bowl and Mt Kenya Championship earlier in the year.
Chasing the duo in third place is John Lejirma from Kenya Railway Golf Club with (17.6,33,11) 61.4 points. Paul Muchangi of Limuru Country Club occupies the fourth spot with (14.4,33,8) 55 points.
It will be a battle with resilience and grit as they tackle the 54-hole challenge at the hilly Nakuru course.
On the first day, golfers will undergo a 36-hole challenge before winding up on Sunday with the final 18-holes. Perched at the foot on the extinct Menengai Crater, tilting 3423 yards (front), 3379 yards (back) for a total of 6802 -yards with spectacular views of both Nakuru Town and Lake Nakuru from most holes.
It will be interesting to see how the on-fire Karanga will perform in Nakuru against the spirited campaign from his training partner and Limuru Country Club Captain, Dennis Maara, who Karanga contends is a solid player with great scoring skills as well as his erstwhile nemesis Lejirma who has exhibited good form in the recent past as well other rookies.
A notable absentee from the Nakuru meet will be Simon Njogu of Great Rift Valley Golf Resort who has initiated plans to join the pro-ranks and South African based Mutahi Kibugu.
The first flight of the 96-strong evenly seeded field is expected to set sail at seven o’clock on Saturday in a two-round duel with the first team expected to turn at 11:30am.
“I’m all set for Nakuru, being one of the most coveted tournaments in the KAGC circuit with all the top players from across the country headed there, it will be exciting to take a podium finish and sweeter victory to tip Maara and Lejirma to the trophy,” Karanga said exuding confidence.
Currently, the course is playing long and the greens are holding while the roughs are forgiving thanks to loads of work that have been put into the course preparation by the tournament following the acquisition of new equipment by the club.
“The greens have been conditioned to play firm for the tournament. With fair weather expected for the duration of the two-day duel over the weekend,” said Captain Luther Kamau.
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