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Ex-Kenya Open champions return as European Tour golf circuit kicks off

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – Former Kenya Open winners are set to tee at the tournament as the European Tour golf circuit rolls into the country for two tournaments, Magical Kenya Open and Kenya Savannah Classic on March 18-21 and March 23-26 respectively.

Swede golfer Sebastian Soderberg who won the tournament in 2016, Haydn Porteous of South Africa (2015), Italian duo Lorenzo Gagli (2018) and Guido Migliozzi (2019) and Englishman Aaron Rai, the 2017 champion are some of the big names lining up for the top prizes at the tournament which has also attracted South African rising star Jayden Schaper.

The 2021 event which was rescheduled last year due to COVID-19 pandemic has attracted 156 golfers across the global with host Kenya entering 12 pros, with Nigeria, Uganda, and Zimbabwe being represented by a player each.

The Kenyan pros will be led by Dismas Indiza, Mathew Omondi, Greg Snow, John Wangai, Eric Ooko, Samuel Njoroge, Justus Madoya, Edwin Mudanyi, Riz Charania, David Wakhu, Simon Ngige, as well as Jacob Okello, the only Kenyan who has come close to win the tournament in 1998 when he finished on 12 under par, alongside Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez but lost in the third play-off.

Zimbabwean golfer Robson Chihnoi, who won two legs of the 2021 Safari Tour which is used to pick the local and regional players for Kenya is joined by Nigerian Andrew Oche Odoh and Ugandan Philip Kasozi to make up the three regional players.

The tournament which will be staged without spectators will see players, caddies and officials put in a restricted bubble with regular COVID-19 testing, tournament director, Patrick Obath confirmed ahead of the event next month.

Obath said the safety measures are in place according to the European Tour’s stringent approach to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“We won’t have spectators at the Kenyan Open due to guidelines issued by the Ministries of Sports and Health. Only a handful fans from the key sponsors will be allowed at the event,” said Obath.

The Kenya Open is being sponsored by the Kenyan government through Magical Kenya, while the newly introduced Savannah Classic is supported by the European Tour.

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