The 2021 European Tour East Africa edition promises to have an occult touch with Kenya’s first ever European Tour double-header set to spice a global audience during the Magical Kenya Open that tees off today.
The event will end on Sunday before paving way for the Savannah Classic from March 23 to 26 at the Karen country golf club.
The course, which was designed by English banker Remy Martin and opened in October 1937 in Nairobi Kenya, will host the two events.
Days after Frenchman Antoine Rozner holed a remarkable 60-foot putt on the final hole for a closing birdie to claim his second European Tour title at the Qatar Masters, focus now shifts to Kenya.
In its striking ways, the Magical Kenya Open has attracted 156 top local and international golfers including 13 Kenyan pros and six amateurs.
Having had a high scoring Safari Tour Golf Series, the Kenyan party will be eager to see how its charges fair with Kenyan long-hitting pro Dismus Indiza coming to the tournament having carded 14 under after the 4-day 72 hole play in the last day of the Safari Tour.
Team Kenya has been adamant that this time round, they will be a force to reckon with as Greg Snow added; “I feel I can do it this year especially with my new coach and my goal is to win the tournament, something that no Kenyan has done.”
It is always of great importance for team Kenya to be visionary and ready to understand that you can’t put a limit on anything, the more you dream, the further you go.
But they, however, should be wary of the men who will be coming determined to get the top price at their backyard as they have done since the inception of the Kenya Open.
Guido Migliozzi, fresh from finishing joint-second in last weekend’s Qatar masters 2021 after closing with a 65m is eager to defend the title he won in 2019.
In 2019, the Italian held off a chasing pack that included Justin Harding, Louis De Jager, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Kalle Samooja – who all held a share of the lead during a thrilling final day and topped the category for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green, and was third in Stroke Gained: Off The Tee and he surely will be the man to beat.
South African pros including Daniel Van Tonder, Justin Harding, JC Ritchie and Louis De Jager are coming to the competition with decent histories at Karen and must be given the respect they have so far earned.
World No 134 Van Tonder has won four Sunshine Tour events during the past seven months and lost a play-off in the African Players Championship.
He would have been a crowd puller if fans had been allowed on the course. England’s Aaron Rai; the highest-ranked pro gracing the event, Frenchman Romain Langasque, who tied for sixth at Karen Country Club in the 2019 edition, are also expected to be on the final round of play and just maybe go all the way for the top price.
Other names to watch out for include Karen debutants kurt kitayama and Jamie Donaldson both who carded to 10 finish in Qatar masters 2021 over the weekend.
The Kenya Open golf tournament will have estimated 800million viewers, with 64 percentage increase in average viewing for European tour which will also be broadcast live on different Standard Media Group platforms.
With the prize money being Sh126 million and top golfers eager to showcase their prowess and fight for the cash, this is just but another opportunity for Kenya to showcase itself as an alluring golf destination.