Players have a taste of the course in first Pro-Am

Monday March 20 2017

Greg Snow follows the progress of his shot from the 10th hole during the KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country club on March 18, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Greg Snow follows the progress of his shot from the 10th hole during the KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country club on March 18, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By LARRY NGALA
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Visiting professionals will have a taste of the par-71 Muthaiga Golf Club course on Tuesday before Thursday’s first round of 2017 Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championship.

Most of if not all of them have been listed to play in Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s Pro-Am competitions of the Challenge Tour event.

Challenge Tour director, Paul Carrigil, on Monday said during a media briefing at Muthaiga that players who will arrive on Tuesday will play in the second Pro-Am event being sponsored by Barclays Bank of Kenya for its clients and co-sponsors.

“I know a few players who have requested to be slotted in the Wednesday Pro-Am event,’’ said Carrigil.

A total of 64 professionals, among them 14 local pros, will be in action on Tuesday from 11am. As happened during the KCB Karen Masters, two pros in each team will be paired with two amateurs.

The two events not only offers a chance for visiting players to test the Muthaiga course, but it is also a great opportunity for Kenya’s amateur golfers to play alongside some of the world’s leading professionals.

Among those drawn in the first tee, is Dutchman Wil Besseling who tasted victory by winning the Karen Masters with a fine score of 12 under par on Sunday. He will be partnered by former leading amateur Wachira Mahihu of Muthaiga.

In the same team will be Sweden’s Alexander Wennistam and amateur Anthony Ngera.

Former Kenya Open champion, Jake Roos of South Africa and Frenchman Edouard Espana will be in the team of Njuguna Kirubi and Sam Kairu.

Other big names drawn for action is Victor Riu of France, Englishman Tom Murray and Germany’s Max Kramer. The local pros who will be chasing the Pro-Am money include South Africa-based Stefan Andersen who is chasing his first Kenya Open cut since 2012, the last time the Open was held at Muthaiga.

Other local prs are Muthaiga resident pro Nelson Mudanyi, his brother Boniface Simwa from Eldoret and Nakuru’s Richard Ainley. Only six local pros will be in action in the second Pro-Am on Wednesday, where most of the top visiting pros such as Sebastian Heisele from Germany, Dutchman Jurrian Van Der Vaart, former champion Gary Boyd from England, and another past winner, Robert Dinwiddie, also from England, and defending champion Sebastian Soderberg of Sweden are drawn to battle it.

Some of the player will be using the round to fine-tune their skills in redness for the big hunt for the total prize money of Sh24 million (35,200 Euros). The tournament will kick of the “Road to Oman’’ series.