Top Leading Amateurs across the Country and beyond now set their eyes on the 2023 Coast Open Championship Golf tournament that kicks off at the Par 71 Sea-Link Mombasa Golf course on Friday.
All eyes will be set on the brand new Toyota Camry worth Sh2 million on offer to any golfer who sinks a “hole in one” in the three days event also known as Barry Cup.
This event that ends on Sunday after a cut over 36 holes on Saturday, is being played for the first time as a 54-hole event to enable the elite amateur an opportunity to earn World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points.
Organizer Kenya Golf Union (KGU) said this year marks the 103rd Barry Cup and will be played for the first time additionally with the KGU’s drive to promote ‘Golf for All’, Elite lady golfers have been invited to compete.
KGU Chairman Philip Ochola said among the pack of Amateurs includes Mike Karanga from Kiambu Golf Club who is currently leading in the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship ranking and is also the best placed Kenya in the WAGR ranking.
But Karanga would be expecting a tough battle from Ugandan Godfrey Nsubuga who was runners up a week ago during the Limuru Open and Brackenhurst Cup.
Among others to watch include the Coast Veterans led by the defending Champion William Kaguta from Nyali, and Henry Kamau from the home Club.
Others are Eric Nyongesa,Nathan Ngweno,Gurbux Singh and Omar Lewa among others while the ladies feature among them the National Ladies Team Captain Joyce Wanjiru from Kiambu, Jackie Walters from Vipingo Ridge and the German based Kenya Joyce Masai from Nyali.
Host Captain James Gitonga said the Barry cup continues its strong run as the premier sporting event for amateurs in the region where it draws massive support from the growing golf fraternity.
“Apart from the finesse exhibited in the field by the select elite amateurs during the championship, it has also emerged as a gem of socialization and the festive camaraderie that pervades the ocean facing the club is usually the premium outing for the regional and upcountry tourists,”said Gitonga.
He said the event’s entry is limited to 78 players with 16.4 handicap index and below and has jointly been sponsored by NCBA,Kalmar,Britam ,Majani and Kushi Motors who has presented a brand new Camry Toyota worth Ksh.2 million for a “Hole in Hole” lucky winner.
Gitonga said the Management has worked round the clock to ensure the success of the event and assured golfers that the course was at its best condition.
The Captain however warned that though the golfers will be playing in an excellent course, currently the July monsoon winds blowing from the nearby Indian Ocean to the Course will be very strong and urged them to be cautious with their shots.
The Club’s Green Keeper Tirus Githaiga has assured the golfers that the pin positions have been placed fairly in every greens but advised them to keep their ball shots in bounds for a good score.
“Our course is in excellent condition, the rain has been good to us together with our new installed irrigation system. Right now our course is as good as St Andrew’s in Scotland and we are looking for a successful 103rd Barry Cup,”said Githaiga.
The day’s event starts at 7.30 am with the club’s former Captain Lawrence Odhiambo opening the course alongside the flight of Tirus Githaiga and B.Ibraim while the last flight will be that of Omar Lewa,F.Munyao and A.Odongo teeing off at 1.10 pm.
Club records indicate that the Barry Cup is the oldest Golf trophy competed for in the Kenyan Coast having first been donated to the Mombasa golf Club in 1913 by Percy Barry who was not only a founder member of the Club but was also the first Honorary Treasurer and Captain for a whopping four times.
The Championship since its inception in 1913 is the most premier golfing event in the country held under the auspices of the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) in a series of the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC).
The Championship has since then been played at the club house except from 1940-45 during the Second World War.
Meanwhile the 8th leg of the 2023 KCB East Africa Golf Tour will be held at the par 72 Nyeri Golf Club over the weekend.
It’s expected to bring together over 100 golfers from different golf clubs in the country and like the previous legs, the top two teams will book a slot in the Pro-Am grand finale slated for November in Nairobi.
Nyeri Club Captain Jacob Nyaga said they are excited to be part of the KCB East Africa Golf Tour where they promise to host a very successful tournament and hope that many golfers will register for this competitive tournament.
“Nyeri offers a conducive environment for a golf outing and the balmy weather makes golfers enjoy the fairways as much as they can. We look forward to an action-packed weekend,” said Nyaga.
KCB Group CEO Paul Russo said the series heads to the second oldest golf course in the country this weekend with an aim of reaching more people to improve the sport.
“It will also offer our customers an opportunity to interact and network with various business people away from the normal office setting. As a brand, we are also proud to be associated with the development of this sport right from the grassroots level, this is why through the series we are traversing many counties within Kenya,”said Russo.
After the Nyeri edition, the Tour’s 9th leg will be in Nakuru County from August 5th.