The second season of the Safari Golf Tour concluded this week at the Karen Country Club where Johnnie Walker brand ambassador Greg Snow claimed victory with a total score of 4-under par to scoop the Sh450,000 first prize. Snow had a good week at Karen, returning rounds of 69, 71, 72 and 68 in what was a demonstration of excellent course management.
Speaking after his round, Snow said he was happy with his game. “I have been consistent through the week and through this year. My drives are solid, I am hitting it well. My mid-range irons need a bit of work and this will be key for what I expect to be firm Magical Kenya Open greens,” he said.
“My putting is good, I am steady inside 10-feet and hopefully the putts will drop for me during the open.” Commenting on the condition of the golf course, Snow said he was pleased.
“The course is in great shape; the fairways are firm and the greens are rolling true. However, to do well at the Magical Kenya Open, players will have to stay out of the thick rough around most greens,” he added. “I think you will see a lot of pros hitting long irons off the tees to keep the ball on the short grass.”
For his efforts at Karen, Snow also earned 75 points towards the Safari Golf Tour ranking for a total of 463.1 points placing him in third in the final Safari Golf Tour ranking for 2019/20 behind leader Dismas Indiza and second placed Simon Ngige.
Snow has been dominant through the season, winning five of the 11 Tour events. “I was keen to play well through the Safari Golf Tour, especially after missing the 2019 Magical Kenya Open cut, but I did not expect to win as many times as I have,” he added. “I would also like to congratulate Indiza. He has been solid throughout the season and is a man many of us have looked up to for many years. I wish Indiza, Ngige, Erick Ooko, David Wakhu, CJ Wangai our Captain and Jastas Madoya all the best at the 2020 Magical Kenya Open, we are ready.”
Zimbabwe’s, Robinson Chinhoi was the highest placed regional player at the conclusion of the Safari Golf Tour season and he duly received an invite to the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship from March 12-15, 2020 at the Karen Country Club. He will be joined by Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh.
The full list of Kenyan qualifiers into the Magical Kenya Open includes - Dismas Indiza, Simon Ngige, Greg Snow, Erik Ooko, David Wakhu, C.J. Wangai, Riz Charania and Jastas Madoya. Two other regional players, Toto Thimba and Jayden Schaper from South Africa, have been invited to play at the tournament.
The third season of the Safari Golf Tour will tee off in May 2020 with an increased minimum prize fund of Sh1.5 million per event. Making the announcement, KOGL Tournament Director Patrick Obath said that the increased prize would raise competition and attract better talent to the tour.
"For next year, we are upping the prize money from Sh 1 million to Sh 1.5 million as a base so any event that wants to be part of the Safari Tour has to have a minimum prize kitty of Sh 1.5 million. We are going to try and make 50 per cent of the events have a prize purse of between Sh 3 million and Sh4 million. This will begin to attract players from other tours both in Africa and beyond to come and play here,” he said.
“As we prepare the calendar next year, several things are going to happen: One, we will increase from 11 to 15-16 events during the course of the year. Next season, we will certainly expand to Rwanda and Tanzania. We are then going to share our calendar with Nigeria and the Sunshine Tour so that we don't have major events clashing and ensure that each event has a clear weekend so that we can attract the right kind of people.”