Kenya: Three Kenyan Pros Head to Ivory Coast for Open

Three Kenyan professionals left early Sunday morning for Yamaoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire for the Open Championship set for April 21 to 24.

The three, who were invited by the president of the Cote D'Ivore Golf Federation, Kouakou Laussin Emmanuel Koffi are John Wangai of Sigona, Justus Madoya of the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort in Naivasha, and Vet Lab Sports Club based Edwin Mudanyi.

Speaking to Nation Sport late Saturday, Wangai, who is the resident professional at Sigona Golf Club and captain of the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK), said he and his colleagues were most grateful for the Cote D'Ivore golf federation boss for inviting players from outside West Africa for the tournament, whose prize fund is 25 million French Franc or about 38,000 Euros.

"With the two European Tour events, the Magical Kenya Open and the Savannah Classic done, we were all now focused on the 2021/2022 Safari Tour which was due to start in May before sports and other social activities were suspended because of the third wave of the Covid-9 pandemic. This left us with no alternative but to seek opportunities elsewhere where golf is being played and the invitation came in handy," said Wangai.

Besides the Kenyans, the event is expected to attract a big number of players from the West African region and invitation was also sent out to Uganda's Abbey Bagalana, who was also due to fly out of Entebbe on Sunday morning.

Bagalana, who featured in most of the 2020/2021 Safari Tour events in Kenya, is being sponsored by Uganda Golf Club member Andrew Opio, under the Spring Spa and Lounge brand.

The three Kenyan pro all missed the cut during the Magical Kenya Open and the newly introduced Kenya Savannah Classic.

Wangai finished in 131st place overall after posting 73 in each of the first two rounds, while both Mudanyi and Madoya tied on 140th place.

The only Kenyan to make cut was Wangai's young brother Samuel Njoroge of Kenya Railway Golf Club, who finished last in the final placings with a score of level par 284.

During the Savannah Classic, only Golf Park's David Wakhu made cthe ut and finished with an impressive scores of seven under par total to tie for 57th place. Wangai finished in 138th place with seven over par, while Mudanyi was placed 146th on 10 over par, with Madoya having finished in 116th place on three over par.

This is the first time Kenyan pros have been invited to the Cote D'Ivore after a long time.

There will be prize money for the top 30 players and the overall winner will take home 8,689 Euro (about Sh1,216, 460), while the 30th place player will take home 160 Euros (about Sh22,400).

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