Kenya's top amateur golfers converge on Limuru Country Club from 11am on Thursday for the first round of the four-day, centennial Kenya Amateur Match Play Golf Championship.
Organised and sponsored by the Kenya Golf Union (KGU), this year's Match Play has attracted 64 players placed into two groups of 32 each in the first and 10th tees.
Unlike last year, this time round, the championship, one of the two major amateur events run by the KGU, has attracted a big number of juniors who are out to clinch the title plus a place in next year's Kenya Open for the overall winner, and some points towards the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series and the World Amateur Rankings.
During last year's championship held at the magnificent Thika Greens Golf Resort, long-hitting Daniel Nduva of Nyali Golf and Country Club in Mombasa, beat Limuru's Paul Muchangi in the final match to book a place in this year's Kenya Open where he, however, did not make much impact.
Nduva has been seeded at the top of the first nine draw where he will start his title defence in the 100-year-old tournament against Nakuru's Aziz Mussaji in the first match of the championship from 11am.
Other interesting matches in the first nine will be between Vet Lab Sports Club's Mike Kisia and home player Brian Njoroge while Nanyuki's Peter Rimui who last weekend won the second leg of the Nation Classic golf series at Nanyuki will meet junior player Leo Zurovac.
Former amateur matchplay champion William Odera, formerly of Kericho and now based at Golf Park, makes his return to the national scene after a two-year absence with a match against Kenya Railway Golf Club's Edwin Murungi.
Other top players will also be in action include Kenya Amateur Stroke Play and KAGC series champion Samuel Njoroge of Kenya Railway Golf Club, Great Rift Valley's Simon Njogu, Kiambu's Mike Karanga and the hosts of juniors namely Mutahi Kibugu, his brother Njoroge Kibugu, Mathew Wahome, Korby Gatiramu and Njogu Kungu.
Meanwhile, heading the campaign from the back nine, will be home player Paul Muchangi who is drawn against N. Kibe at 11am.
Other interesting matches are likely to be those involving Mike Karanga of Kiambu and junior Njogu Kungu of Royal.
The second and third rounds for the winners will take place on Friday morning and afternoon, the quarter and semi- finals will take place on Saturday with the 36-hole final set for Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Coca Cola Company will sponsor this year's KGU chairman's Prize tomorrow and on Saturday next week also at Limuru Country Club.
LENANA SCHOOL GOLF
The two day-event, which will be officially winding up the term of office for KGU Chairman Lucas Maranga, is expected to bring together about 300 golfers including some of the country's top amateurs such as Samuel Njoroge, Daniel Nduva.
Speaking during the launch of the event at Limuru Country Club on Tuesday, Coca Cola marketing manager Evanson Ndungu said the company will sponsor the event through its flagship water brand of Keringet.
Ndungu who presented a sponsorship cheque of Sh350,000, said he was aware of the Union's effort in developing the game of golf in the country including the on- going construction of the Lenana School golf course which is being supported by three government ministries and which is 80 per cent complete.
"We are aware of the great strides the union has made in developing golf in the country including lobbying for the sport to be part of the school games like other sports. With the Lenana School golf project 80 per cent complete, this will be a great step that once completed, will enable young golfers develop their skill on the course," said Ndungu.