The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Simwa and Opati Tipped to Rule Goty Showdown At Royal, Nairobi

It's a two-horse race as Golf Park's David Opati and Vet Lab's Nelson Simwa chase Keringet Golfer of the Year (GOTY) honours.

The penultimate series round promises to produce some tense showdown with contenders Opati and Simwa going head to head for the Uhuru Shield tournament at Royal Nairobi Golf Club this weekend.

The performance of the two could determine who claims the 18-tournament series.

Opati sits atop the series with 94.60 points and if he manages to scoop a minimum of five points at Royal, then he would be in better position to claim the title.

Simwa is trailing Opati by18.10 points and if he manages to bag eight points at Royal and Opati comes out on nought, then this would drastically reduce the gap and put the title open.

Uhuru Shield is the second last event in a series of 18 while Nyali Open, which is scheduled for next month, is the final show.

The two contestants go to Royal with contrasting records. Although Opati has previously posted good results here, Simwa is yet to bag any point for last two years he has played on the course.

Experts though believe the Vet Lab handicap plus one golfer has gained enough experience and could shock opponents including Opati at the Royal, Nairobi.

Keringet GOTY series are organised by Kenya Golf Union and sponsored by Keringet. The series that run through the year opens doors for young amateurs who not only go on to play against professionals in the Kenya Open but are also selected into the national golf team.

The tournament has discovered some of the best golfers in the country including Sullivan Muthugia, the 2010 winner who has since turned professional. Others are Francis Kimani (2008 and 2009 winner), Greg Snow (2007), Nicholas Rokoine (2006) and Brian Njoroge (2005). Golfer of the Year series was started in 1981 to rank the country's top amateur golfers.

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