42 local and international professional golfers will tomorrow compete for three 2018 Barclays Kenya Open Golf Championship slots at a Pre-Qualification event that will be held at the Vet Lab Sports Club. This will be the last opportunity for any golf professional, local or foreign to grab a last-minute ticket into what is the most lucrative Tournament on the 2018 European Challenge Tour.
Nakuru’s Richard Ainley, Muthaiga’s Nelson Mudanyi, Windsor’s David Opati and Eldoret’s Boniface Simwa will be relying on their local knowledge of the challenging 18-hole layout at the Vet Lab Sports Club to qualify for the Kenya Open; they will face stiff competition from strong and experienced European journeymen including:
Englishman and European Tour Champion, Oliver Wilson; Argentinian and three-time Challenge Tour Champion, Alvaro Velasco; and Frenchman, Victor Riu (a Challenge-Tour Champion)
This is the first time in the 50-year history of the Kenya Open that a Pre-Q will be staged pointing to the growing popularity of the Tournament. Speaking to the media over the weekend, Kenya Open Golf Championship Tournament Director, Patrick Obath, said the Pre-Qualifier was necessitated by the enhanced interest at this year’s Kenya Open, adding that it offers fans an opportunity to watch a prelude of the Kenya Open before it tees-off on Thursday.
“This year we will be having a Pre-Qualification event at the Vet Lab Sports Club on Monday the 19th of March whose purpose is to select professional players who will fill in the final three slots for this year’s Championship. Locally trials like this are only seen in Athletics, but globally, all top golf events stage Pre-Q events,” he said.
“The Pre-Qualifier will also give golf fans also a chance to watch the professionals in action ahead of the main event on Thursday and this event will give Vet Lab a brilliant opportunity to see how their new 18-hole golf course will hold up against some of the best golf professionals in the European Challenge Tour.”
12 Kenyans, 2 Tanzanians, 2 Ugandans 2 South Africans, 2 Zimbabweans and 1 Malawian are among African Professional players due to battle it out against the foreign contingent of players which includes, among others, 5 Englishmen. The high number of foreign players at the Pre-Qualification event shows the new stature of the Kenya Open as an annual global golf event.
The tournament tees-off at 7:30am and will culminate in a bush drive and dinner for the players at the Nairobi National Park later in the day courtesy of the Kenya Tourism Board.