The government through National Sports Fund on Tuesday handed over a Sh50 million sponsorship cheque to the Kenya Open Golf Limited for this year’s Kenya Open scheduled for March 22 to 25 at Muthaiga Golf Club.
The amount is the government’s contribution towards the 500,000 Euro (Sh62.5 million) prize money.
This is in line with a directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the conclusion of the 2017 Barclays Kenya Open, to raise the standard of the Championship.
Speaking during the cheque hand over ceremony at the National Sports Fund office in Nairobi, the fund’s chairman Luke Luseno said that the government is committed to supporting the growth of sports- in this case golf - in the country.
“The government, through the National Sports Fund, has undertaken to sponsor and fund sports across the board. Sponsoring the Kenya Open tournament is in line with the President’s directive to develop golf, especially for junior players, and position the country as a golfing destination,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) PR and Sponsorship Director, Kathleen Kihanya noted that the government’s support will go a long way in raising the standards of the Kenya Open Championship, a European Challenge Tour event which is the richest in the Challenge Tour series this year.
“We welcome this significant sponsorship from the government, which has placed the Kenya Open at the top of the European Challenge Tour events. With continued support, we are confident that the Kenya Open is going to move on to the main European tour," said Kihanya.
This year the Open marks it 50th anniversary and will be preceded by the two Pro-Am events on March 20-21 before the field of 156 players, including six amateurs, take on the par 71 course in hunt for the top prize of 80,000 Euro (9.9 million) and some points towards the “Road to Oman" for the grand finale of the season where the top 15 players in the 2018 Order of Merit will earn European Tour cards.
Also present during the cheque hand over ceremony was Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman Richard Wanjalla and Kenya Open Golf Limited chairman Peter Kanyago.