Karanga excited after podium finish at Jordan Open

Kenya's Michael Karanga with his trophy at Ayla Golf Club in Aqaba, Jordan on Saturday. [Courtesy]

Top-seeded Kenyan amateur Michael Karanga returned a three-round total of 4-over - 70,75, 75 (230) to bag a third-place finish at the 33rd edition of Jordan Open at the Greg Norman designed Ayla Golf Club layout in Aqaba on Saturday.

Karanga was two spots behind the overall winner, Eles Barhoumi, who carded 11-under-71, 68, 66 (205) as second-placed Khalid Attieh of Saudi Arabia fired rounds of 9-under-67, 68, 72 (205).

The three-day tournament received global attention and attracted participation from local, regional and international players selected from the finest field of international players under the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) to earn more points to advance their positions.

The rich field of elite golfers included players from hosts Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Egypt, the USA, and Serbia.

Others were Qatar, the United Kingdom, Latvia, France, Bahrain, Tunisia, South Africa and Iraq. 

Saudi Arabia sent in the largest contingent of 23 players, followed by the Jordanian team that fielded 17 golfers.

Karanga arrived in Aqaba, two days before the event to acclimatize and train at the windy par-72 course.

"I came here two days ahead of the game. And that helped me a lot as I had a feel of the course and the reason I was able to put up a spirited fight throughout," Karanga said.

Karanga was ranked first in the 2022/2023 Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) season, where he finished at the pedestal after claiming 13 titles out of the possible 17 to earn the special invite from Jordan Open organisers.

Karanga has now shifted focus to The Amateur Championship, also known as the 152nd British Amateur Championship, slated for June 17, at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.

"Before then, I'm coming back home to stir the KAGC series the same way I did last year after I returned from Egypt where I finished sixth and first at the Ghana Open. Hopefully, I will shatter more records in the process," a confident Karanga warned.

He said he has no intentions of turning professional soon, terming the KAGC series as more lucrative than the pro ranks.

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