Nairobi — The final three slots for the 2018 Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championship were filled at a Pre-Qualification tournament that was held on Monday at the Vet Lab Sports Club, where all Kenyan professional golfers missed out.
Frenchman Victor Riu, who braved the morning rain over the course of his first few holes, qualified automatically after posting a 6-under par score at the par-72 golf course.
Niclas Johansson from Sweden and Pedro Figueiredo from Portugal joined him for this year's Kenya Open after emerging second and third respectively in a six-man play-off decider that was held over the first nine to determine the remaining two players who will take part at the tournament.
Other players involved in the play-off included Mateusz Gradecki, Samuel Steel Robertshawe, Gary Hurley and Roussel Robin from France. The play-off was occasioned after three players - Niclas, Pedro and Mateusz - finished T2 with a point score of 69.
Niclas, who had finished 3-under par during the Pre-Qualifier, holed a birdie on the 3rd while Pedro scored level par on the 5th to claim 3rd position.
Poland's Mateusz Gradecki emerged 1st reserve after bogeying on the 5th while Irishman Gary Hurley emerged 2nd reserve with a birdie on the 2nd.
Englishman Samuel Steel Robertshawe ended the day 3rd reserve having made par on the 2nd. Reserve players replace any player who, having already qualified for the tournament, may pull out at the last minute.
Kenyans who took part at the Pre-Qualifier, who include Nelson Mudanyi (Muthaiga Golf Club) Richard Ainley (Nakuru Golf Club), Kenneth Bollo (Royal Nairobi Golf Club), Anil Shah (Royal Nairobi Golf Club) and Sigona's Sujan Shah, all failed to grab a slot at this year's Kenya Open during the Pre-Qualifier.
Three-time Challenge Tour Champion, Alvaro Velasco, former European Tour Champion Oliver Wilson, and current Cape Town Open Champion, Rhys Enoch, also failed to qualify with each posting 80, 71 and 72 point scores respectively.
Speaking at the end of the event, Kenya Open Tournament Director, Patrick Obath, said competition witnessed today points to the level and quality of golf expected during this year's Kenya Open.
"The competition we witnessed today confirms the level and quality of golf we expect to see at this year's Barclays Kenya Open and I believe that fans will have a great chance to watch high-quality golf that we believe will be different from the previous years'," he said.
The Pre-Qualifier was the last opportunity for any golf professional, local or foreign to grab a last-minute ticket into what is the most lucrative Tournament on the 2018 European Challenge Tour.
The three will now join the rest of the field in preparing for the 2018 edition of the Barclays Kenya Open by participating at the two PRO-AM events which are lined-up for tomorrow and Wednesday at the Muthaiga Golf Club.