PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Haotong Li from China follows his tee-shot during the Magical Kenya Open Tournament at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The opening round of the European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open kicked off on Thursday without televised coverage due to logistical difficulties.

The 52nd edition of the showpiece off at the par 71 Karen Golf and Country Club has attracted 156 players.

Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort hard hitter Jastas Madoya and Proffesional Golfers of Kenya captain C.J Wangai formed the first batch that opened the contest at 7.10am EAT.

Latest inclusion in the Kenyan squad, Toni Omuli of Golf Park was in the contingent that followed in the tee-off order from 7.20am.

He was paired with Richard Mansell of England and Justin Walters of South Africa.

The trio of Isaac Makokha (amateur), Adrien Saddier (France) and Jorge Campillo (Spain) followed Omuli’s batch 20 minutes later. Makokha is the only deaf golfer to ever grace the Open.

Jacob Okello of Golf Park was scheduled to tee off at 7.50am to revisit his sweet memories 23 years ago when he stormed the final at Muthaiga, losing to Ricardo Gonzalez in the sudden death play-off.

Muthaiga’s Greg Snow who emerged second best at the just concluded Safari Tour took on the greens from 8.40am.

Erick Ooko Obura (9:00am) was pleased to honour his late father in the contest.

Some of the action at the Karen Golf and Country Club in pictures:

PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Golfers entering the bubble during the Magical Kenya Open Tournament at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Local Pro Simon Ngige reacts as he follows his tee shot during the Magical Kenya Open Tournament at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Jordan Smith from England comes from a bunker during the Magical Kenya Open Tournament. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Local Pro Jacob Okello gets some hints from his caddie on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Zimbabwe pro Robson Chinhoi lining his putt at the Karen Country Club. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
A man takes shots of players from his hideout at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Local Pro CJ Wangai lines a putt on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Local Pro Edwin Inana Asuza follows his tee shot at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]
PHOTOS: Day one Magical Kenya Open action
Golfers relaxing and eating lunch in the bubble during the Kenya Open Tournament at the Karen Country Club on March 18, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

The European Tour Productions (ETP) pointed out that they are confident of restoring world feed coverage for the final three rounds.

“Due to intervening facility logistical difficulties beyond our control, we will, unfortunately, be unable to deliver live world feed coverage of the first day of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker on Thursday 18th March 2021.

“We are working to resolve the situation as soon as possible, and hope to be in a position to deliver live coverage to you on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as normal. We will of course keep you updated with any relevant developments,” said the European Tour in a statement to broadcasters.

The tournament is the first of two European Tour events, with the Karen Country Club also playing host to the Kenya Savannah Classic starting Tuesday, March 23 to Friday, March 26.

“The tournament will get underway as planned. If possible we will do our best to provide news coverage with the few facilities we have, so please look out for media hub alerts as ever. We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused,” ETP added. 

Once TV broadcast is sorted, viewers in Kenya will have the chance to watch their favourite golfers square off against some of the world’s best through mini-viewing centres across the country.

Leading television broadcaster KTN News will beam live proceedings of the global showpieces for five hours a day once TV coverage is back.

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