The hunt for points towards the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series, the World Amateur Rankings and a place in next year’s Magical Kenya Open is on this week as leading amateurs converge on the par 72 Thika Greens Golf Resort from Thursday for the 2019 Kenya Open Amateur Stroke play Championship.
This year, the 72-hole event, the only one of its kind in the country, whose first round is set for 10.50am Thursday, marks 41 years since the Kenyatta Memorial Bowl was presented by the late Colonel Mike Harbage and Chris Kahara in 1978 in memory of Kenya’s founding president, the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
Harbage had just handed over the chairmanship of the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) Sigona’s Chris Kihara, the first Kenyan African to be elected the KGU chairman.
This was the beginning of the Stroke Play Championship which, along with the Kenya Amateur Match Play championship, is run by the KGU as opposed to the rest of the events in the KAGC series which belongs to the various clubs.
As usual, besides the country’s top amateurs, this year’s edition has also attracted players from Uganda and Tanzania who will be battling it out for this most prestigious trophy.
Leading the Ugandans, will be the Uganda national team captain Joseph Chinywaai, who is being accompanied by Jakisa Emmanuel, Burhan Matovu, and Moko Emmanuel.
From Tanzania will be that country’s leading amateur Victor Joseph, while others will be Ally Isanzu, and Godfrey Daniel.
Kenya Railway Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge who is also the national team captain and the defending champion will lead the local attack.
Currently playing off plus three handicap, the lowest in the country, Njoroge, will be challenged by among others, his colleagues in the national team Simon Njogu, and the country’s top two juniors Mutahi Kibugu and Zubair Khan both from Muthaiga who were also in the national team in the just concluded All Africa Team Golf Championship in Mauritius.
There is also former national champion William Odera of Golf Park, and another top junior Taimur Malik from Muthaiga who recently beat William Odera in a sudden death play -off, to claim the Tea Fields trophy in Kericho.
The winner of the event will automatically qualify to play in the 2020 Magical Kenya Open, a European Tour series event to be held at Karen Country Club from March 12 to 15.
The KGU vice chairman who is also the tournament director Ben Omuodo said the union was happy to have received entries from the other countries.