The 2019/2020 season of the Safari Golf Tour series will conclude this weekend at the Karen Country Club. This will be the 11th event in an expanded calendar that included four events in Uganda and participation of several continental players across the season.
The event at Karen will offer an increased prize of Sh3 million ($30,000) making it the second most lucrative leg after the Uganda Open which offers Sh5 million ($50,000) in prize money. The Karen leg will also offer more ranking points and that could make a big difference in the order of merit that provides entry into the Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship in March.
According to Patrick Obath, Safari Golf Tour Tournament director, the Karen leg is now a Category Two event offering more ranking points. “The first category of Safari Tour events are those that offer $10,000 to $24,999 in prize money; the winner there gets 50 ranking points. The second category is for events that offer $25,000 to $49,999, the winners there get 75 ranking points,” he said. “For events offering over $49,999 in prize money, like the Uganda Open, the winner banks 100 Safari Tour ranking points.”
The winner at Karen will receive Sh450,000 and 75 ranking points making it possible for those players just outside the Magical Kenya Open qualification bracket to sneak in.
“Players like Anthony Juma, Jastas Madoya, Mohit Mediratta have a very realistic mathematical chance to qualify as the top eight Kenyan golfers at this Karen event,” Obath added. “And international players like Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi, Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh, and Uganda’s Philip Kasozi are in a race for the two slots reserved for regional players.”
The Karen leg tees off tomorrow with a ProAm that includes 61 professional golfers from across the continent. Zimbabwe’s Tongoona Charamba is in town alongside Uganda’s Deo Akope and Odoh from Nigeria. Abbey Bagalana, Dennis Anguyo and Brian Toolit all from Uganda will also be in action at Karen. The Kenyan charge will be led by Dismas Indiza, who tops the Road to Kenya Open ranking with 395.1 points, Thika Golf Club’s Simon Ngige (381.9 points), Greg Snow (376.5 points) and Royal Nairobi’s Erick Ooko (317.3 points); these four players have already secured their 2020 Magical Kenya Open slots and will be playing for the money.
Snow and Indiza, who are both sponsored by Johnnie Walker, will tee up as the firm favourites, having won six of the 10 Safari Golf Tour legs held to date. Snow was victorious at the opening leg at the Nyali Golf and Country Club and then secured three back to back victories at Thika Greens, Muthaiga and Sigona.
Indiza has been victorious twice, both victories coming in November 2019 at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort Open and at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort Open. Indiza’s performance throughout the season has been consistent, third at the Uganda Open, T5 at Royal, Runner Up in Entebbe and runner up again a week ago at the Kitante Open.
Other winners of the Safari Golf Tour 2019/2020 season include Zambia’s Madalistso Muthiya at the Uganda Open, the richest event on the Tour, Anthony Juma (aka Tony Omuli) at the Royal Nairobi Golf Club, Jastas Madoya at the Entebbe Open and Nigeria’s Andrew Odoh at the Kitante Open in Kampala.
With the Karen course now tournament ready ahead of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa from March 12-15,2020, the professional golfers should expect the course to be playing long and the greens firm and fast.