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The Open, ‘live’ on international TV, will be massive advertising for Kenya – Euro Tour director Carrigill

THE quality of players at this year’s Kenya Open golf will be of unprecedented high calibre and after the event’s promotion to full-fledged European Tour status  expectation are high for a thrilling tournament between March 14 and 17.

It will be four days of world class European Tour golf, said the tour director Paul Carrigill of the event aptly named ‘Magical Kenya Open’ by its main sponsor, the Kenya Tourism Board. Prize money is is a local record 1.1 million Euros (Sh…..).

Carrigill had just finished meeting organisers in Nairobi when he said: “Kenya Open Golf Limited have improved the tournament for the last five or six years, markedly and now we have raised our level to the main European Tour.

John Wangai, captain of the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK): 'This year's Open will be a different ball game.'

John Wangai, captain of the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK): ‘This year’s Open will be a different ball game.’

“So we’ll have better players; some of the Challenge Tour players of the past will also be joining us gain; they will be coming back to Karen Country Club for their second or third time, maybe fourth as well.

“We’ve had a change of venue (from Muthaiga Golf Club last year) coming to Karen where the course is in wonderful condition already; it was in November (last year) when I came. Everything is progressing. We’ve got national and international “live” television for all the tournament days and that will make a massive difference and great advertising for Kenya.”

The Professional Golfers of Kenya captain, John Wangai, also said that this time at Karen will present higher challenge than ever for the local pros. A ‘Safari Tour Kenya’ had earlier been formed to help Kenyan pros enhance their skills and experience in readiness for this year’s European Tour standards.

European Tour tournament director Paul Carrigill (left) inspects the Karen Country Club course with Kenya Open Golf Limited’s Patrick Obath (middle) and Peter Kanyago

European Tour tournament director Paul Carrigill (left) inspects the Karen Country Club course with Kenya Open Golf Limited’s Patrick Obath (middle) and Peter Kanyago

“It will be a whole different ball game,” Wangai said. “The Safari Tour has challenged local pros to get out of their comfort zone and to hit both the range and gym more often to enhance both their skills and fitness” he added.

“The top eight players at the end of the 2018/19 Safari Tour this season, with pone round to go, will automatically qualify to play at this year’s Open; so it’s all to play for in the remaining one leg.” said Wangai.

-Additional reporting by Correspondents

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