As Kabete Open takes place from today to Sunday at Vetlabs Sports Club Course, Michael Karanga is a man on a mission.
And that is to break two long standing records.
First, the Golfer of the Year (Goty) currently Kenya Amateur Golf Championship title set by Kopan Timbe the resident pro at Kiambu Golf Club of 11 Goty wins.
Karanga needs one more KAGC win to equal Kopan’s feat and hopefully go on to break it.
Secondly, he seeks to quash the eight year old course record set by Nelson Simwa both as an amateur and pro at 62.
Simwa set the record as an amateur playing off the white tee in 2015 and as pro off the blue tee in 2021 with the closest threat to breaking it was by Karanga during a usual round, three weeks ago when he shot 63 gross.
It will be interesting to watch him in action at Vetlabs even after landing back from Egypt yesterday where he finished T6 during the 2023 Egyptian Amateur Golf Championship which ended on Tuesday at El Gouna Golf Club in Hurghada.
Karanga had a great showing having maintained second place.
Ranked 87 in the world amateur standings, Karanga, the reigning Kenya Amateur Match Play and Kenya Stroke Play champion, has promised fireworks with his eyes set on winning the Kabete Open as well as shattering both the course and KAGC records.
The Kiambu Golf Club golfers have a strong resolve that anything is possible if you set your eyes on it.
“My mission is to break Kopan’s record, a total of 11 Goty events. I’m at 10 now and my target is to win the Kabete Open and that will be it,” Karanga said.
With seven more KAGC events remaining, it will be a matter of time before Karanga shatters Kopan’s record.
“Waaah, nothing is impossible, that course record is a serious one and not easy to break but if it comes, fine I will take it. My mission is to break it," said Karanga.
But it will not be a walk in the park for the 96 elite golfers who will be battling it out for the title as well as a share of the Sh550,000 prize fund courtesy of KAGC title sponsor, NCBA Bank Vetlabs Club Captain Anik Patel and his friends.
The 13th edition of Kabete Open is part of the clubs’ centenary celebrations and has seen the course prepared to championship standards to deliver a memorable tournament with the super-fast greens measuring 11.5 on the stimpmeter bound to present the field with nightmares reading them.
Apart from other elite golfers expected, Lee Njoroge, Ebill Omollo and Steve Orinda will be leading the Vetlabs contingent on their title hunt on home turf. The likes of Kenya Railway Golf Club’s John Lerjimah fresh from winning Hippo Pot at Nyanza Club will be seeking to deny Karanga and his ilk a podium finish.
Down at Nyali Golf and Country Club, the fifth edition of Nomadic Golf series will be hosted as the seaside course where golfers will be seeking to qualify for a slot at the grand finale to be held at Great Rift Valley Golf Resort in Naivasha In December 2, 2023.
The overall winner at the grand finale will win a fully paid trip to Cape Town, South Africa, courtesy of the main sponsor and organisers, Nomadic Golf Africa.
So far, the qualifiers have been held at Kenya Railway Golf Club, Thika Greens Golf Resort, Nanyuki Sports Club and PGA Vipingo Baobab Course from where several players have already booked their slots to the GVLR meet.
At the par-72, Nakuru Golf Club, 122 golfers have been drawn up for the Greenspan Golf Tournament presented by green house supplier, Greenspan.
The course is in great shape due to rains being experienced in the area. The club's Captain Mathew Maiyo has promised both home and visiting golfers a memorable golf outing with exciting prizes up for grabs.