Coast youthful golfer Balala crowned Muthaiga Open champion

Muthaiga Open 2024 Champion Adel Balala makes a swing shot. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

Coast based youthful golfer Adel Balala was crowned the 2024 Muthaiga Open Champion after surviving on a tight play- off in the tournament  that ended at the par 17 Muthaiga Golf Club Course in Nairobi on Sunday.

The Vipingo Baobab Ridge Club’s 25 years old golfer emerged the overall winner by beating his closest rival Neer Chandaria of Muthaiga in a first hole play-off to claim the lead after both ended tied on 218 gross each.

Balala who is the 2021 Golfer of the year started the event with a one over par 72 gross on Friday, played a two over par 73 gross in the second day on Saturday and recorded the same score on the final day on Sunday to lead the board pocketing Ksh.89, 200 as the top prize of the event and also earned 70 points towards the Kenya Amateur Golf Champion (KAGC) Series.

“I would like to thank the Kenya Golf Union (KGU), Sponsors NCBA, and the Club for organizing and supporting this wonderful tournament. I had been on and off the course for quite a while but am now back and watch the space, “said Balala.

His closest rival Neer Chandaria from the home club settled for the runners up slot on the same score of 218 gross (73-71-74) and was awarded Ksh.47, 880 as the second prize.

Three time winner of this year’s KAGC series and the youngest golfer in the event Elvis Muigua from Kiambu this time found the going  hard to settle for the third place on a total of 219 gross (75-72-72)  and also picked the third prize money of Khs.28,480.

The tournament attracted 165 leading Golf Amateurs across the globe in the three days 54 holes tourney that ended on Sunday evening featuring 141 Kenyans with a contingent of 9 confident Kenyan ladies.

The participants represented 7 Countries namely Kenya, India, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Norway, and Great Britain.

This event was supported by NCBA Bank and was the fourth Kenya Golf Union (KGU) organized tourney in this year’s Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) Calendar after the Sigona Bowl at the Sigona Golf Club, the inaugural Great Rift Valley Championship in Naivasha and the Windsor Classic.

Kiambu’s youthful golfer Elvis Muigua so far is the dominant, claiming three consecutive victories at the Sigona Bowl, Great Rift Valley Championship, and the Windsor Classic.

The total prize money for the Muthaiga open tournament stood at an impressive Ksh.350, 000 prize kitty that was distributed among the top 15 players after the conclusion of all three rounds.

Golf Kenya President Philip Ochola thanked the Sponsors and Players for making the event successful and said that the event had a significance beyond its local impact, as it also qualifies for both the Kenya Amateur Golf Ranking and the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

“The unwavering dedication to fostering a vibrant and thriving golfing community by the sponsor is deeply appreciated, and their contribution ensures the success of this esteemed event. This generous sponsorship delivered yet another unforgettable chapter in the annals of golfing greatness and also provided players with a valuable opportunity to enhance their standing on both national and international stages, further elevating the prestige of the event, “said Ochola.

The KGU calendar this year has 28 legs with the last one being the Nyali Open to be staged at Nyali Golf and Country Club in Mombasa County on December 13th to 15th.

This year will also see the return of Diani Beach Masters that will be played at the Diani’s Diamond Leisure Golf Resort in South Coast of Mombasa, Kwale County from October 18th, to 20th after a five year absence.

MUTHAIGA OPEN 2024 TOP TEN LEADERS AND TIES

Adel Balala-Nyali Golf-72-73-73-218gross.

Neer Chandaria-Muthaiga-73-71-74-218gross.

Elvis Muigua-Kiambu-75-72-72-219gross.

Dennis Maara-Limuru-72-75-73-220gross.

John Lejirma-Kenya Railway Golf Club-0.0-75-76-72-223gross.

Felix Dusabe-Kigali--75-75-73-223gross.

Josphat Rono-Golf Park Golf Club-73-76-74-223gross.

Sammy Mulama-Mombasa-0.0-72-75-77-224gross.

Joyce Wanjiru-Kiambu-79-70-76-225gross.

Isaac Makokha-Vet Lab-78-72-75-225gross.

James Kamenchu-Royal Nairobi-0.0-75-77-73-225gross.

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