Ooko revved up for Magical Kenya Open
Pro Erick Ooko in action during BG Ndegwa Memorial tournament at Nyeri Golf Club Nov 7, 2020. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Road to Magical Kenya Open 2021 has been bumpy for most professional golfers.

But for Golf Park’s Erick Ooko, currently ranked sixth after the eighth event last week at Muthaiga Golf Club, he has his plan perfectly laid out.

Ooko has so far enjoyed good form in the Safari Tour series that was played at several clubs including Limuru Country Club, Royal Nairobi Golf Club and Vet Labs Sports Club.

Others were Sigona Golf Club, Uganda Golf Club, Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, Nyali Golf and Country Club and Muthaiga Golf Club. Karen Country Club will host the final leg this weekend.

Last year wasn’t the best for Ooko, however, as he had to shift base from Royal Nairobi Golf Club to his current course, Golf Park.

Ooko has had six top-five finishes on the Safari Tour leader board, which have seen him amass 225.2 running points.

He’s the fifth-best placed Kenyan at the event as Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi is third with 292.1 running points.

“I’m swinging well and my last outing in Muthaiga was great. Shooting 4-under par on the final round to finish the tournament with an underscore was great,” said Ooko.

The bumper 2019-2020 Safari Tour Series rota, which was supposed to present pros with the perfect environment for training, was disrupted by Covid pandemic.

Then the worst happened after Ooko lost his dad late last year. In truth, it has been a harrowing experience that affected his mental game.

“Just as we were about to begin the Safari Tour 2020-2021 season, I lost my dad and everything went south. I’ve slowly picked up the pieces and I’m getting my groove back. I thank God and Golf Park’s manager, Tom Fiesta and current Captain Robert Matu, who welcomed me with open arms. That gesture was a great boost to my game and perfect healing process,” said Ooko

Ooko is a member of the Sunshine Tour, which he joined in 2016. He has competed in the tour that features 19 events at Port Alfred in  South Africa, Malawi and Zambia.

He is also a member of the West African Tour from where he gained enormous international exposure that has contributed to his good showing.

“It’s a tough nut to crack here in Kenya. We only have a single Tour, the Safari Tour, to play in and still have to compete against European Tour players who play every week in various Tours.”

“We can’t keep up with their level of play, but we are grateful to the government for their support through Safari Tour.”

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