Local golfers brace for PGA might at Karen Masters

(FILE)Sebastian Soderberg from Sweden lines a putt during day three of the Barclays Kenya ...
(FILE)Sebastian Soderberg from Sweden lines a putt during day three of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championships at the Karen Golf and Country Club on March 19, 2016. Photo/Stafford Ondego/Sportpicha

The Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) Captain Charles John Wangai has backed local stars to offer a solid test to their European Challenge tour counterparts at the inaugural KCB Karen Masters tournament which tees off on Friday.

The upcoming event, a first-of-its-kind in Kenya, has attracted 40 professional golfers, 46 PGA Pros and local pros ahead of the two-day tournament that will be held at the Karen Country Club.

Kenya will field a team of 23 pros at the event with the squad set to be maintained when they represent the country at the Barclays Kenya Open.

Wangai said the series of build up events organized for the Kenyan charge will pay off as the country lines up its own stars.

“This is also good for our participation at the forthcoming Kenya Open. The Road to Kenya Open qualifiers and the ongoing Jamii PGK Masters will boost us immensely in terms of form.

“This strong field of golfers drawn from all over the world indicates that Kenya is featuring prominently on the global golfing map,” Wangai said.

The local charge will be spearheaded by Dismas Indiza, Greg Snow, Jacob Okello, Simon Ngige of Thika, Boniface Simwa of Eldoret, Richard Ainley, Rizwan Charania of Windsor, Mathew Omondi of Vet Lab, Bryan Njoroge and David Wakhu among others.

Seventy foreign and local pros will take part in the Karen Masters which is the last build up towards the Kenya Open.

“KCB will continue being at the center of supporting the growth of this sport. We believe in supporting great ideas that will enable the country’s progress,” KCB Group Chief Operating Officer Samuel Makome offered.

In a bid to offer home players the requisite golfing experience, the 40 European Challenge Tour pros will be paired with local amateurs for a two day Pro-Am tournament running between Friday and Saturday before facing off with the local pros on Sunday for the blue jacket and the total prize money of US$15,000.

Golfers from England, Germany, Australia, Sweden, Denmark and France will converge at the Kenyan capital for the tournament with tournament Director Andy Watt confident they will bring a ‘vibrant’ atmosphere.

Among the top pros expected is Englishman National Dinwiddie, who has so far pocketed €1,438,839 in prize money.

Tickets to access the course will be selling for Kshs 500 covering the entire event.

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