The Star (Nairobi)

Kenyans Benefit

This year's Barclays Kenya Open Championship will feature a total of 28 Kenyan professionals and amateurs, officials confirmed yesterday.

Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) chairman, Peter Kanyago said 22 local professionals will be joined by another six amateurs in flying the country's flag at the prestigious event on February 14-17.

Kanyago said this after receiving Sh8.4 million sponsorship from Coca Cola through its Dasani brand towards the event. The sponsorship gives Dasani Platinum status.

The announcement comes of the back of the last week's commitment by Coca-Cola to sponsor the Easter weekend Tanahill Shield golf tournament at the Royal Golf Club to a tune of Sh3 million.

The company has also been sponsoring the Dasani Golf Series for the past 3 years. The main sponsors Barclays Bank have invested Sh3 million in the event.

"We are ecstatic to come on board as the platinum sponsor of the Kenya Open with the hope of not only refreshing the players and spectators during the Pro-Am at Muthaiga and the main events but also delivering this growing sport to many lovers of golf," said Njonjo.

Kanyago said Kenyans have a chance of benefiting from five other slots which will be at stake during the qualifying round on February 7-8 during a 36-hole tournament at Karen.

He said the event will feature a strong field of 156 of which 100 will be drawn from the European Challenge Tour.

Tournament director, Patrick Obath has been given the privilege to source for the other 50.

A total of 23 pros will be from African countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Uganda. "All amateurs must be playing off scratch or even better," said Kanyago.

Meanwhile, Karen are all set to host the event, according to club's captain, Richard Thande. "Lots of work has been done to the course and if the tourney was to start today, we will be more than ready to host it," he said.

"We have had quite a bit of a challenge with the recent heavy rains but we also did lots of work to keep the course in its current good condition," said Thande.

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