South Africa’s Justin Harding produced a flawless final round of five-under-par 66 at the Kenya Open on Sunday to seal a two-shot victory over Kurt Kitayama and his second European Tour title.
Overnight leader Harding, whose maiden tour win came two years ago at the Qatar Masters, maintained his composure amid a steady challenge from American Kitayama to finish on 21 under par at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi.
Kitayama made two eagles and two birdies as he threatened to catch Harding by reducing his lead to one shot, but a bogey on the 11th meant he fell short.
Scotland’s Connor Syme finished with a 64 to secure third place ahead of Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez.
At the same time, Kenya’s Samuel Njoroge (72,68,74,70) finished 77th overall after ending the championship on level par after the four rounds.
Railway Golf Club’s player Samuel Njoroge is the only Kenyan, who made the cut at the 2021 Magical Kenya Open that concluded at the par 71 Karen Golf and Country Club.
The 27-year-old fired three under par 68 to proceed to the money bracket on total two rounds of two under par 140.
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By making the cut, Njoroge is already assured of Sh100,000 pledged to the Kenyan team by the Kenya Breweries Limited.
Kenya Vision 2030 also announced Sh50,000 prize for the local player who will proceed to the money bracket.
“We will also reward the highest finishing local player at the event with Sh250,000 while the second and third place finisher will get Sh200,000 and Sh150,000 respectively,” Kenneth Mwige, Vision 2030 Director General, told the players during the contest.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala, who visited the venue, were pleased with the number of international players that have turned up for the two European events, including Kenya Savannah Classic that starts tomorrow at the venue.
“This is a testimony that protocols put in place by the government for the continuation of Sports after Covid-19, are working,” said Amina.
“I can assure you that the protocols are working because of the large number of players from 30 countries. The countries have entrusted their golfers to come to Kenya, which shows there’s is now total belief that Sports Tourism is open in the country.”
Amina assured that all big sporting events that have been lined up by the state will be held.
On his part, Balala added that the events provide better opportunity to showcase Kenya to the outside world and assured everyone that Kenya is a safe place to be for Sports Tourism.
Meanwhile, all players at the Kenya Open re-entered the bubble where they were issued with new accreditation for the Kenya Savannah Classic that tees off at the venue tomorrow.
Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) chairman Peter Kanyago praised the course saying it’s in perfect condition ahead of the Savannah Classic.
“I want to thank the government for supporting local pros through the Safari Tour series ahead of the European Tour events,” said Kanyago.