2021 Kenya Open Golf tees off with Safari Golf Tour’s first event
Eldoret Club’s resident professional Andrew Chelogoi is optimistic of a good show as he begins his hunt for a slot to feature at next year’s Kenya Open Golf Championships, when the 2020/2021 Safari Tour tees off at Limuru Country Club on Sunday.
This will be Chelogoi’s second appearance in the tour since he turned pro and despite the fact that he will be rubbing shoulders against some of the best local professionals, he believes he is ready for the challenge and can surprise the form books.
“Last year I failed to be among the qualifiers since I was still learning the ropes as I was making my debut as a professional golfer, but this time am looking for better results.” said the former Eldoret golf chairman.
Muthaiga’s Craig Snow, Dismas Indiza of Mumias and Thika’s Simon Ngige are among the favourites on paper to reign supreme at the opening leg of the tour.
While unveiling the tour last week, tournament director Patrick Obath said the Tour will have seven legs shared between Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda before the final leg in Kenya.
“We have had a break of slightly more than six months without professional golf, which means that we have lost half a season so far and it is high time we resume.
Our protocols are ready and set to be approved by the government any time,” Obath said.
He added: “The Safari Golf Tour is back and we will have three back-to-back events from October 4. Then Uganda will host three events as well and Rwanda will host one, before action returns to Kenya.”
The announcement was good news to local golf enthusiasts and the professional golfers who were yarning for action since the suspension of all sports in March.
“Foreigners coming for the Kenyan events must have valid Covid 19 certificates and during the competition we will not have a lot of waiting time and the prize giving ceremony will have very minimal attendance,” Obath said.
He added: “ The tour will be used to qualify for next year’s Kenya Open Golf Championships which is part of the European Tour and where we have 10 slots.
Eight of the 10 available slots will be taken by Kenyan pros, while the remaining two slots we have left open for foreign players taking part in the Safari Tour.”
Obath said the tournament organisers had changed the qualifying format as they will now look at a player’s overall performance in three Safari Tour series dating back to 2018, to pick qualifiers for next year’s Kenya Open.
“Since we didn’t have Kenya Open Golf this year and we had qualified players, it means there slots are gone, but we have come up with a new format where we will use a three-year rolling series results, where the first year will count for 10 per cent, the second year will count for 20 per cent and the third year which begins on October 4 will count for 70 per cent,” Obath said.