More cash for pros at Kenya Open as hosts target slots
Top performing professional golfers stand to gain from an increased bounty from the title sponsors of the 2020 Magical Kenya Open Championships set for March 12-15 at Karen Country Club.
Jeremy Awori, the Chief Executive Officer of Absa Bank Kenya, who are sponsoring the event for the 10th year running, said the professionals who will wind up among the top 10 will rake in Sh1 million each while those who will be in the top 20 after the second go home with Sh500,000 each.
This will be an increased package from the Sh250,000 the bank had doled out to facilitate eight professionals in the championships.
Kenya’s provisional list of the professionals include Simon Ngige, Eric Ooko, Riiz Charania, Kopan Timbe, Mohit Medirata, David Wakhu and Justus Madoya.
The youngest of the professionals in 21-year old Matthew Wahome failed to earn a qualification slot in the Safari Tour.
Speaking after presenting a Sh75 million cheque to Kenya Golf Union for the organisation of the event, Awori said the gesture towards the professionals is necessitated by the deliberate policy by the bank to instill morale to them to successfully challenge some of the best in the continent.
“We will be commemorating the 10th anniversary as the title sponsors of the tournament. This is part of our corporate social responsibility and the goodwill is meant to inspire them to live their dreams and become the future Tiger Woods of this country. We also want them to market Kenya as an ideal tourism destination,’’ said Awori.
The Absa supremo also prevailed on local players to take advantage of the event and brush shoulders with the world’s elite especially after high-profile competitions in Malaysia and China were cancelled by International Golf Federation (IGF) for various reasons.
Professional golfers captain John Wangai acknowledged the gesture and especially given the fact that Absa have sponsored them for the last eight editions of the Safari Tour.
“We will strive to replicate the sponsorship with a good performance and the good thing is that we will be enjoying home course advantage,” said Wangai.
A total of 144 elite golfers around the world will feature in the tournament with the list of the participants set to be released on Monday.
And given the event will attract who is who in the world of golf, Absa Marketing and Corporate Relations Director Caroline Ndung’u urged the locals to burn the midnight oil to make an impact.
“I urge the local players to strive to shine and promote the Absa brand and the country’s prowess in the sport,” said Ndung’u.