Action in the 18-event Kenya Data Networks Golfer Of The Year series switches to the 54-hole Coronation Trophy at the par 73 Nakuru Golf Club course this weekend.
A field of 93 was drawn for the event which, before past Kenya Golf Union chairmen Mike Harbage and Chris Kahara donated the Kenyatta Memorial Bowl for Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship in 1978, used to feature as the national strokeplay championship.
The Coronation and Bendor Trophy started in 1937 and has taken place annually save from 1940 to 1945. Jimmy Kahugu from Sigona was its first African winner in 1970, but he lost the title the following year to the legendary John Mucheru. David Kibisio held the trophy from 1979 to 1981 and has so far been the most successful local player.
The trophy has over the years attracted the cream of Kenya’s amateur golf. Defending champion Greg Snow is away in America and, in his absence, Thika’s Sullivan Muthugia will take on the country’s top amateurs – including national team captain Francis Kimani of Limuru who tops the 2009 GOTY Order of Merit following victories at the Mount Kenya Championship and Muthaiga Open.
Muthugia, formerly of Njoro Country Club, opened the season with the Sigona Bowl at Sigona, then won the Winston Churchill Cup at Thika. He will be in a more familiar territory at the challenging Nakuru course, having played there many times before. He did not fare well at the last GOTY, the Trans Nzoia Open at Kitale Golf Club course, where home player Ali Orende scored his maiden victory.
Also from Thika will be Peter Kinuthia, who is seeking his first GOTY title, while Limuru will also send James Karanja. Nakuru and Njoro have entered low handicap golfers like Patrick King’ori who at handicap two is top ranked at Njoro.
Another leading Njoro player, John Wangai, and veteran Nakuru golfer Njuguna Njoka are also eyeing the trophy. Orende and Muthaiga’s Collins Omondi, winner of the Kameme FM event last weekend, and club mate Paul Thuo are among those drawn this weekend.
Elsewhere, Sigona host the annual Ndemi Classic, a popular event usual sponsored by African golf members of the club and their friends. At Limuru, over 200 players will converge for the Kenya Postel Directories event as Nyeri hosts the CFC Life tourney.