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Kibugu leads Kenyan charge as England’s Gavins tops at Magical Kenya Open

Daniel Gavins from England lines a putt during the Magical Kenya Open Tournament at Muthaiga Country Club in Nairobi on Thursday, March 3, 2022. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Muthaiga amateur Njoroge Kibugu carded one under par 70 to emerge best placed Kenyan on Day One of this year’s Magical Kenya Open at par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club yesterday.

At the same time, Daniel Gavins of England fired seven under par 64  to command the leader board in the first round of the 53rd edition.

“The set up of the course was a bit different than what I’m always used to.  I had challenges in holes 8 and 15 but my short game was my strength today, also long irons worked well for me,” Kibugu told Standard Sports.

“I feel good, I feel ready for second round on Friday (today) with great hopes of making the cut. I’m going to be more calm and will try to perfect my putts,” Kibugu said.

The 18-year-old birdied holes 3,4 and 18. He bogeyed holes 1 and 16 and parred in the rest.

Another Muthaiga player Greg Snow started off well in the opening nine before dropping shots at the back nine to finish on level par.

Paul Chidale of Malawi was the best placed African player at three under par 68.

Chidale attributed his good run on resilience after his determination raked him the impressive results.

“The greens were hard and very fast so it was difficult for the ball to land on intended destination, but I did not give up. Ahead of the Friday cut off, I’m focused to play a level par so I can land on the money bracket,” Chidale said.

Robson Chinhoi of Zimbabwe who was the greatest beneficiary of the just concluded Safari Tour series finished on level par.

“I was trying to enjoy myself as I look for the good scores though the course was looking a bit different than what I’m used to. The greens were a bit firm and the course was playing long,” Chinhoi said.

Day One leader, Gavins said: “It was pretty rusty at the start, I hadn’t played for a couple of weeks but I just started holing a few putts. My second shot at the ninth (his last) hit the flag and it knocked it 60 or 70 feet back.”

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