Three former Kenya Open winners are expected at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club course for the 2018 Barclays Kenya Open golf championship from March 22 to 25.
The three - 2009 winner Gary Boyd, 2010 champion Robert Dinwiddie (both from England), and Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg who won the 2016 edition - are among the big field from the European Challenge Tour.Boyd won in 2009 with a score of 13-under 271.
He has played in the tournament three times since then - in 2014, 2015 and last year when he was placed in 63rd, having done badly in the European Tour.
Won in 2010
Dinwiddie, who won the 2010 edition on 12-under 272, had featured in the 2002 and 2007 editions. He missed the cut in 2007 after finishing 22nd in 2002. He returned last year and finished 41st with four under 280.
Soderberg had an impressive 18 under par 270 in his victory at Karen in 2016. He had featured in the Open on two other occasions, both times missing the cut, after a 104th-place finish in 2015, and poor 154th last year.
Other notable names in the entry list include two-time Challenge Tour winner, Richard McEvoy who won the 2017 Scottish Hydro Challenge tournament and the 2005 Panasonic Panama Open tournament. Others are three-time Challenge Tour and one-time European Tour champion, Roope Kakko who has won the Madeira Islands Open tournament twice.
The Kenya Open Golf Limited invited foreign nationals for the tournament, among them Swede Anton Karlsson, Frenchman Antoine Rozne, Ugandan Fred Wanzala, Rwandese Ernest Ndayinsenga and Nigerian’s Andrew Oche Odoh who has featured in the Kenya Open many times.
The Sunshine Tour, the African continent’s biggest tour, will send a strong team of six players, namely Oliver Bekker (seven-time Sunshine-Tour-related tournament winner), Ockie Strydom, Louis de Jager, Jaco Ahlers, Neil Schietekat and Peter Karmis who is ranked 13th overall best player in Africa by the Official World Golf Ranking.
Speaking at the sidelines of the Kenya Open At 50 golf tournament at Muthaiga at the weekend, Kenya Open Tournament Director Patrick Obath said the enhanced interest from foreign players is due to the increased prize money which has raised the profile of the tournament.