Nairobi — Kenyan players taking part at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship posted mixed results on round one of the tournament; with only a couple playing under-par going into Friday's round.
Thika Sports Club's Simon Ngige finished the round as the highest ranked local pro having returned an impressive 3-under par 68 score to end the day 13th on the leaderboard; four shots behind the clubhouse leaders.
Starting off at the first tee in the afternoon, he only dropped two shots on the first nine - at the par-4, first and the par-3, second - before holing birdies at the par-5, sixth, the par-4, eighth and the par-4, ninth for a total of 34.
On the back nine, he dropped a lone birdie at the par-3, 16th; but birdies at the par-5, 11th, the par-4, 15th and par-4, 17th holes were enough to secure a total of 34.
Speaking after his round, Ngige said:
"I had a shaky start dropping two shots at the start, but a conversation with my caddie stabilized my approach and I attained some level of focus. The wind was a challenge, and the course was quite bumpy as some groups had played on the course in the morning, but overall it was a good day for me,"
"Going into tomorrow's round, I want to remain focused on the game and ensure that I am just playing the ball."
Johnnie Walker-sponsored Dismas Indiza started off his campaign to a flyer, finishing 2-under par 69 to leave him in fifth by the time he left the 18th green. He started his round from the par-4, 10th tee with a birdie before following it up with another at the par-5,11th.
He however struggled to hole consecutive bogeys at the par-5, 12th, par-4, 13th and par-3, 14th holes before holding par on the rest of the holes for a total of 37. He found the groove back on the first nine to play blemish-free to hole birdies on the par-3 4th, par-5, 6th and par-4, 7th holes for a total of 32.
Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort's Jastus Madoya returned a level-par 71 score to finish the round tied in 36th; and third overall among the Kenyans at the tournament after the round.
He carded a total od 37 on the first nine courtesy of three bogeys - at the second, sixth and ninth - and a lone birdie at the par-4, seventh. On the back nine he hit three birdies - at the 11th, 12th, and 17th holes - and dropped a single shot at the 14th for a total of 34.
Golf Park's Tony Omuli shot a decent 1-over par 72 on the round to finish the day tied in 54th; with his scorecard featured an impressive eagle at the par-5, sixth.
Meanwhile, Muthaiga's Greg Snow and Vet lab's Edwin Mudanyi finished the round with a two-over par score to finish tied in 74th.
Greg, who played in the company of 15-time European Tour Champion and immediate former Ryder Cup captain, Thomas Bjorn and the winner of the 2019 Qatar Masters, Justin Harding, looks to reverse his luck Friday for any chances of making the Cut.
"I was a bit shaky off the tee today and I didn't hit it well, but I grinded it out really well on the back nine, where I found some form, and that's how I was able to finish the day off with a 73. Tomorrow I'll just go out there and have fun, shoot a good score and we should be good for the weekend," he said.
David Wakhu, David Odhiambo and Nelson Simwa all returned a 4-over par 74 score to finish toed for 95th. Among the pros, Jacob Okello struggled the most to fining the day tied in 139th place with a nine-over par score.
Among the amateurs, Samuel Njoroge was best of the lot with a 4-over par score to finish tied in 109th.