Former Kenya Open amateur stroke play champion John Kariuki of Limuru took a narrow one shot lead at the close of the opening round of this year’s championship at the par 72 Sigona Golf Club course.
The plus one handicap Kariuki fired level par 72, to lead from Dubai-based Bradley Mogire, who carded one over par 73.
Kariuki, trying to make a comeback after two lean seasons, started the day with a bogey at the par four-first hole, picked up five straight pars from the second hole to sixth hole.
He, however picked up a double bogey at the stroke index one-seventh, though he closed the opening nine with two pars for three over par 39.
The back nine was, however, impressive as he birdied the par three-14th, then went birdie-birdie in the last two holes for a low three under 33 to level the course.
“The first nine was a bit bad for me as I was still trying to get my putting together. It was better however at the back nine where I was able to sink in three birdie putts and pars,’’ said Kariuki who is yet to win any Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series since his 2015 Stroke play title.
“I have been practicing hard to get myself back to my old form and with the course here playing well, I think I have a great chance if my putting does not let me down,’’ added Kariuki.
Mogire started well picking up six pars for a start, but dropped two shots at the seventh and eighth for two over par. At the back nine, the plus two Mogire dropped a shot at the up-hill par five-10th, birdied the 13th and the 18th for one over par 73.
Following Mogire closely was Railway’s Samuel Njoroge who birdied twice at the front nine where he also dropped a shot at the seventh though he quickly recovered it at the eighth. He however made a double bogey at the par three-11th, and a bogey at the other short hole(14th), and the par five-15th but managed to pull one back at the 17th for two over par 74.
Another Limuru player John Karichu who is currently leading in the KAGC series, shot 75 to stay close to the leader as Nakuru’s Shaleen Nanji, was just a shot behind on 76 while tying on 77 Ben Omondi and Muthaiga’s Mutahi Kibugu.
Of the visiting players, Tanzania’s Victor Joseph and Uganda’s Joel Basalaine were down on 81 and probably with slight chances though they are capable of firing low scores in Saturday’s round two and three.