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Sigona Safari Tour to open doors for Magical Kenya 2020

Dismas Indiza
Dismas Indiza follows his putt at the 18th hole green at Royal Nairobi Golf Club during the KCB Road to Karen Masters Final leg on June 14, last year. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

This weekend the Safari Tour resumes at the Sigona Golf Club whilst across the oceans, Tiger Woods returns to action at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. The Sigona edition of the Safari Tour will be the ninth event of the 2019/20 season and it kicks off with a ProAm tomorrow followed by four rounds of golf by professionals and elite amateurs from January 26-29.

The Safari Tour serves as the exclusive qualification route for Kenyan and other African golfers to qualify for slots into the 2020 Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa and with the season now about to conclude, the battle for the top 10 slots is heated.

Mumias-based Dismas Indiza currently leads the Safari Tour rankings with 330.6 points. Thika’s Simon Ngige in second with 307.9 and Muthaiga’s Greg Snow is third with 300 points.

Snow has been on top form, winning the past two events at Thika Greens and at the Muthaiga Golf Club. Royals’s Erick Ooko is fourth with 272.3, while Golf Park’s David Wakhu completes the top five with 242.6 points.

The top ranked international player is Andrew Odoh from Nigeria with 160 points and is currently in 13th place. Uganda’s Philip Kasozi is 14th with 155.5 points. Kasozi qualified for the 2019 Magical Kenya Open through the Safari Tour rankings. Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi is 18th with 121 points.

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The 2019/20 season of the Safari Tour will conclude with two events, the Kitante Open at the Uganda Golf Club from February 12 to 15, and the final event at the Karen Country Club from February22 to 25.

Across in the US, the Torrey Pines Golf Course, a 36-hole public golf course in San Diego, California, will host the Farmers Insurance Open and the greatest golfer of all time, Tiger Woods, is in the field looking for a record breaking 83rd PGA Tour victory.

Torrey Pines was inaugurated in 1957 as a public municipal facility and includes the North and South courses, built overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Since the 1960s, Torrey Pines has been home to Farmers Insurance Open and in 2008 the facility hosted the US Open, which was won by Woods after an epic playoff against Rocco Mediate. Torrey Pines will also host the 2021 US Open.

The Farmers Insurance Open was widely expected to be Wood’s first event of the 2020 season for a simple reason — he has an unbelievable record at Torrey Pines. Woods has won the Farmers Insurance Open a record seven times; in 2013, 2008, 2007, 2006,2 005, 2003 and 1999. (Prior to 2010, the event was known as the Buick Invitational).

At the ZOZO Championship in Japan, Woods tied the great Sam Snead’s record of 82 victories and this weekend he will get the opportunity to set a new record for most PGA Tour wins on a golf course he has dominated since 1999.

Now aged 44, Woods is no longer the man he used to be; his injuries continue to plague his performance and he now averages less than many of the younger PGA Tour players off the tee. Nevertheless, his record at Torrey Pines and his 2019 form place him as a clear favourite.

“I don’t have the ability to hit the ball as far as I used to compared to the field. I was one of two guys to hit the ball over 300 yards consistently when I first came out here. Now we’ve got 50-plus guys doing the same thing,” Woods said.

“It’s just a different ballgame but at the end of the day it’s how many birdies and how many mistakes can you eliminate throughout a round, throughout a tournament that will lead you to a win. Hopefully that will be the case for me this week.” (www.golfchannel.com).

Enjoy your weekend.

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