Next year’s KCB Karen Masters will be a fully sanctioned Sunshine Tour tournament.
The inaugural tournament, which was held to mark Karen Country Club’s 80th anniversary in March this year, was held just a week before the Barclays Kenya Open at Muthaiga and won by Dutchman Will Besseling.
This will be the first professional golf tournament to be sanctioned by the South Africa-based Tour in East Africa.
Save for some competitions Zambia, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, most of the tournaments in the Sunshine Tour are held in South Africa.
This means Kenya will now host two international professional tournaments the second being the European Challenge Tour-sanctioned Barclays Kenya Open.
Making the announcement at Karen Country Club on Friday, Sunshine Tour tournament director Garry Todd said next year’s competition will be held at the par 72 Karen course from July 19 to 22 and will have a field 156 players drawn from the Sunshine Tour, Kenya and across the East African region.
It will be preceded by two pro-am competitions. The prize purse for next year’s event has been increased 10 times up to $150,000 (Sh15.4 million).
KCB Group’s marketing and communications director Angela Mwirigi said the partnership with Sunshine tour makes the KCB Karen Masters more prestigious and attractive to professional golfers.
"KCB Karen Masters tournament remains our most visible vehicle to share the greatness of the sport.
The tournament in on course to becoming the pre-eminent pro competition in East Africa. “We expect another thrilling competition, and hopefully will provide the excitement our fans have come to expect.” said Mwirigi.
Sunshine Tour tournament director Todd says the two-year partnership with KCB Karen Masters will through affiliate sports see five local pros participate in the Sunshine Tour events from next year.
“It’s a dream come true for Sunshine Tour, we are delighted to come to East Africa, This will develop golf in the region” said Todd.