Royal Nairobi’s Dennis Saikwa on Saturday fired one under par 71, to open a one shot lead going into the afternoon round of this year’s Karen Challenge Trophy at Karen Country Club.
The plus one handicap Saikwa, one of the national team players in the field of 94 golfers battling it out for honours in the 54-hole event, made a number of birdies for his narrow lead from Kenya Railway Golf Club and national team-mate Samuel Njoroge.
Saikwa birdied the par five-second, eagled the third then bogeyed the two short holes at the front nine. He however started the back nine well firing in a birdie at the downhill par four-10th only to drop a shot at the 11th and mid-way the ninth(14th) with only a birdie consolation coming at the 17th to level the nine.
Njoroge on the other made birdies at the first, seventh and ninth with a bogey at the fourth. His worse in the first round was however a seven at the par four sixth. He however made a good recovery at the back nine where he parred all the way from the 10th to the 17th, finished off the back nine with a birdie at the 18th to level the course.
His club-mate George Felix was breathing fire behind on one over par 73. Then there was a bunch of five players on three over par 75. They included national team captain Alfred Nandwa, Edwin Mudanyi, Mike Kisia, and Reuben Njoroge.
Finishing a shot behind the five was youngster Agil Is- Haq on four over par 76, and still with a chance to climb to the top of the leaderboard.
It was a slow start for defending champion John Karichu who shot six over par 78 along with three others namely Robinson Owiti of Vet Lab, and Muthaiga’s Zubar Khan and Evans Vitisia.