Kenya's top amateur golfer Samuel Njoroge is set to become the first Kenyan amateur to play in a European Tour, well before this year's Magical Kenya Open.
The plus two handicap Njoroge of Kenya Railway Golf Club, has been invited to play in the Commercial Bank of Qatar Masters from March 7-10, just a week before the Magical Kenya Open at Karen Country Club.
The 24-year-old Njoroge, formerly of Njoro Country Club, got an invitation through a Qatar based Kenyan Ali Mohammed who managed to convince the event organizers to invite Njoroge because of his sterling performance in the 2018 season where he won the Kenya Amateur Stroke play Championship, Karen Challenge and the Nyali Open which is usually the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series grand finale.
"I am very excited and looking forward to play in the Qatar Masters which is likely to feature more or less the same professionals who will come for the Kenya Open. It will be a good preparation for me as I would like to make the cut in the Kenya Open then turn professional," said Njoroge who is looking forward to play in the Sunshine Tour in South Africa as a professional.
He said he is happy with his game though he is working on his concentration. "I am driving well and my short game is fine though sometimes I feel I am not concentrating and that is something I would like to focus on," added Njoroge who is being assisted by Junior Golf Foundation(JGF) coach John van Liefland.
Meanwhile Njoroge was Tuesday named the best amateur golfer in 2018 by the Kenya Golf Union (KGU) during the KAGC Award ceremony at Muthaiga Golf Club.
Njoroge, currently ranked 543 in the world, won the series title formerly Golfer Of the Year(GOTY) with a total of 545.6 points, beating former champion John Karichu of Limuru to second place. Karichu had scored 469.6, while 2017 winner Edwin Mudanyi from Vet Lab was third on 333.5 points.
Mudanyi was awarded the trophy for the lowest average score of 71.20 strokes in his best 20 rounds, while John Karichu was second on an average of 71. 60 strokes. In the Club category, Vet Lab Sports Club was again announced the winner having contributed the most amateur golfers in the 2018 KAGC series. Royal Nairobi Golf Club was second while Limuru was third.
Speaking during the ceremony, Njoroge said last year was good for him as he was able to travel to so many places and leave a mark.
KGU chairman Lucas Maranga said the union was exploring avenues of exchange programmes with South Africa and other European nations.
"The Kenya Golf Union will get into an arrangement with Golf South Africa and some of the federations in Europe that will see our amateur golfers get opportunities to play in competitions abroad and they will also get to send some of their amateur golfers to play in Kenya," said Maranga adding that KGU is working towards improving the ranking system in the KAGC series.
At the same time, Maranga named five amateurs who will take part in the Magical Kenya Open which for the first time in its 51-year history, will be played as part of the European Tour series.
The five are Daniel Nduva of Nyali Golf and Country Club, who won the Kenya Amateur Match Play Championship, Samuel Njoroge (Railway) a winner of of the Kenya Amateur Stroke Play Championship, Edwin Mudanyi (Vet Lab), picked from the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) ranking, Mike Kisia (Vet Lab) also picked from the KAGC ranking as well as Dubai-based junior Bradley Mogire - KGU wild card.
KGU will announce the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) nominee to fill the sixth slot by the end of February.