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Hunt for Open ticket gets underway as Sigona hosts Strokeplay Championship.

SPORTS By Mose Sammy | October 19th 2018
Golfer Rafael Leming'ani practices, October 19, 2018, ahead of the Sigona Strokeplay Championship [Courtesy]

A contingent of 78 top seeded amateur golfers troop to the par 72, Sigona Golf Club in Kiambu County for the 2018 Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship that gets under today.

The three-day duel, which ends on Sunday will see the golfers tackle 72 holes in the event which counts towards the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) as well as the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR).

The first round of this event gets underway today as from 11:30 pm. Tomorrow, they will play 36 holes and on the final day 18 holes. With eligibility to play being for handicap 10 and below.

According to the national golf governing body, Kenya Golf Union (KGU), this will be the first time the event is being played after the revised course rating conducted by the Scotland based R&A.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is the oldest and most prestigious golf club in the world. It is based in St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, and is regarded as the worldwide "Home of Golf".

"As a union, we are glad that being of the two events organized by KGU, other than the Kenya Amateur Matchplay Championship, the Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship are the pacesetters for this larger Region 4 in terms of stature, refereeing as well organization," observed Lucas Maranga, KGU Chairman.

"with the change of rules and course ratings with Karen and Sigona being the only courses that were recently rated by R&A's Kevin Weare, we're headed in the right direction as we await the implementation of the 2019 R&A rules though the rules won’t be used in this tournament. We will have presentations for the golfer tomorrow & Sunday to bring the top amateurs up to speed with what is expected of them," added Maranga.

As per the draw, the trio off Q Bhatti, K. Kimosop, K. Padam will tee-up off the first tee at 11:30 with the flight comprised of J Icharia and N Koris hit the fairways at the same time from the tenth tee.

The winner of this event will automatically get a slot to participate in the 2019 Barclays Kenya Open and the 2019 Karen Masters subject to meeting each tours requirements

Among those eying the prestigious title are, Kenya Railways Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge, fresh winning last weekend’s Tea Fields Trophy. Current Kenya Amateur Golf Championship leader John Karichu aka “Kenya One’ of Limuru Golf & Country Club’s has been exhibiting great form lately and is expected to go flat out for the strokeplay title.

Others are, VetLabs Sports Clubs’ duo of Mike Kisia playing off plus one and Edwin Mudanyi, playing off scratch, the 2017 Kenya Amateur Golf Championship. As well as youthful golfers Mutahi Kibugu of Muthaiga Golf Club and his clubmate Zubair Khan.

The two Juniors represented the country in the 2018 Victoria Cup and performed exemplary well.

A notable absentee will be the South African based Daniel Nduva, the defending champion who plays off plus two from Nyali Golf and Country Club. Nduva has already earned his spot in the 2019 Kenya Open after clinching the Kenya Amateur Matchplay Championship Title at Thika Greens Golf Resort in June this year.

United Arab Emirates-based Bradley Mogire who plays of plus two, will also be in contention while Tanzania will be represented by Abbas Adam and Victor Joseph (Victor was runners-up in 2017 strokeplay championship) and playing off scratch.

Ugandan hunt will be spearheaded by, Joseph Cwinyaai (who was part of the Ugandan team that won the Region 4 tournament at Nyali Golf & Country club in August) and Joel Basalaine.

Local amateurs expect pressure from their Ugandan and Tanzanian counterparts while the Rwandese team couldn’t make it to this year’s championship

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