Fresh from his brilliant performance in the third leg of the Safari Tour at Limuru Country Club, Vet Lab’s Edwin Mudanyi is the man to watch as Kenya’s top amateurs battle for the 2018 Manchester Salver tournament trophy at Eldoret Golf Club.
The plus two handicap Mudanyi, produced two fine rounds of 68 and 67 and appeared set for an upset victory against the professionals, despite a third round score of four over par 76 gross.
He, however, blew up his chances after picking up a double bogey at the 12th and two single bogeys at the 13th and 16th holes for three over par 75 during Wednesday’s final round, to eventually tie for third place with Windsor professional David Opati on 286, leaving another top amateur Michael Karanga of Kiambu to walk away with the title.
At Eldoret, where the event has attracted a star field of 90 players, Mudanyi, will be seeking back-to-back victories having beaten Ruiru Sports Club’s Ben Omondi by three shots to claim the 2017 title.
“Limuru was a confidence boosting tournament and I am happy with my game so far though I did not win the Safari Tour. For this weekend, I know it’s a difficult task defending a KAGC event, but I believe I have a good chance of keeping the title, as I am mentally and physical ready for the event," said Mudanyi, who learnt golf at Eldoret under his cousin pro Boniface Simwa.
He will be facing among other challengers, his club-mates Mike Kisia, Robinson Owiti, Isaiah Otuke and Issac Makokha.
Kisia posted 74 gross in each round for 148 to finish in third place in last year’s event.
Also travelling to Eldoret is Kenya Railway Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge, who clinched the Kenya Amateur Stroke Play title at Sigona Golf Club a week ago, victory which saw him move to the top of the KAGC series.
Other top amateurs seeking the Manchester Salver include John Karichu, Paul Muchangi and John Kariuki (all from Limuru) and the Great Rift Valley Resort’s Simon Njogu.
To fly the home flag will be club chairman Andrew Chelogoi, Kasi Robert and Aaton Kitur among others.
Club pro Boniface Simwa says the course has been well prepared and all is set to host the event. “They are likely to find the greens a bit faster than last year," said Simwa.
Meanwhile, some of the professionals have been invited for this weekend’s Mombasa County Governor’s Cup sponsored by the Mombasa County Government at the par 71 Nyali Golf and Country Club course where they will join a field of 150 amateurs who include Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho.
Joho has invited Coast-based pros and the top placed pros in the Safari Tour Order of Merit. They will play two rounds, with the first round set for Friday afternoon. The pros will be playing for a prize fund of Sh1 million.
Among the pros expected to battle it out for a share of the Sh1 million, will be the long-hitting Dismas Indiza, Greg Snow, Riz Charania, home pro Njuguna Ngugi, David Wakhu, Eric Ooko and John Wangai - who is also the captain of the professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK).
Machakos Golf Club will host the Blind and Low Vision charity golf tournament.
Muthaiga Golf Club will be the venue for the Lady Captain’s (Patricia Ngina) Prize where over 200 players were drawn to tackle the par 71 course.
Vet Lab Sports Club’s par 72 course will host the KAF Golf Club Patron’s Prize, sponsored by Vivo Energy and which has attracted over 250 players.
At Kiambu, the newly crowned Safari Tour third leg champion Michael Karanga is among a field of 120 players drawn for the Kiambu Township and Kiambaa Golf Day.