South Africa’s Justin Harding won the 2021 Magical Kenya Open at the Karen Country Golf Club in Nairobi on Sunday evening.
Harding produced a composed display of front running to ease to his second European Tour victory at the Karen showdown presented by Johnnie Walker.
The spirited 35-year-old walked away with Sh20 million after the crunch and entertaining final.
Harding entered the final televised event with a two-shot lead and was never caught as he carded a bogey free 66 to finish at 21 under, two shots clear of playing American partner Kurt Kitayama.
“It was hard work. I was happy with the way I played.
“I’m glad I shot one better than a couple of years ago, I was bummed about that, but I’m just happy with the way I managed my game,” Harding, who earned a sixth worldwide victory in three years, told journalists after the final.
An emotional Harding added: “I made a mess of 11 and 12 and ultimately the way I played 13 through 18 this week, it was a bit of a stressful time.
“I executed some shots and managed to make a couple of good par saves. Kurt’s an unbelievable competitor. I got him back for Mauritius.”
Harding has fond memories of Karen Country Club after a closing 66 two years ago handed him a tie for second and moved him into the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking, sealing him a debut appearance at the Masters Tournament.
Sports Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed was pleased with how the showdown punned out, pointing out COVID-19 protocols set by Government were effective.
“This is a testimony that protocols put in place by the government for the continuation of Sports after Covid-19, are working.
“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,” said CS Mohamed.
Railway Golf Club player Samuel Njoroge was the only Kenyan who made the cut at the Kenya Open.
The 27-year old fired three under par 68 to proceed to the money bracket on total of two rounds of two under par 140.
The feat is set to earn him lucrative accolades from many sponsors including the Kenya Tourism Board, the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Kenya Breweries Limited who made pledges to the Kenyan team ahead of the European Tour event.
Njoroge took home Sh296,240 in Prize money and nd several sponsored cash add-ons from sponsors for making the cut.