Nine Kenyan players, who have qualified to play at this year’s Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship, have been named following the conclusion of the 2018/2019 Safari Tour Golf series today at the Windsor Golf Hotel and Country Club. Two players tied for eighth spot – the Safari Tour Golf Series qualifying cut-off for the Kenya Open – pushing the number of players qualifying to nine.
The nine pros join six amateur players who have already qualified to play at this year’s Magical Kenya Open Championship; these are Daniel Nduva, Samuel Njoroge, Mike Kisia, Edwin Mudanyi, Bradley Mogire and Mutahi Kibugu.
As the main event draws near, Pan-African financial institution Absa Group limited (previously part of Barclays Group) will invest more than Ksh. 220 million in the Magical Kenya Open golf tournament over the next two years – the biggest sponsorship deal from a private sector corporate in the tournament’s 51-year history.
The announcement was made at the Karen Country Club, where this year’s Kenya Open Golf Championship will be held from 14 to 17 March. The money will be split between operational costs of the event, with Kshs 150 million injected into the tournament – Kshs 75 million each year – while the remaining Kshs 70 million will be used to further amplify the profile of the event. Barclays Kenya has been a sponsor of the Kenya Open tournament for the last eight years, six of those as title sponsors.
Announcing details of the new sponsorship, Barclays Bank of Kenya Managing Director Jeremy Awori said the investment will build on the successes of previous years to further improve the profile of tournament, and coincides with the Open being elevated to Elite European Tour. Following this elevation from the Challenge Tour, the total prize money has more than doubled to 1.1 million Euros.
“For the past eight years, working hand-in-hand with the Kenya Open Golf Limited, we have grown the stature of this tournament and turned it into an asset not only for the golfing fraternity, but for the country,” Awori said.
“We would like to sincerely thank Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) for according Absa the opportunity to partner together in opening up Kenya, and indeed Africa, to the world through this tournament. Jointly, we are creating a bigger, bolder tournament with global acclaim, using a distinctly African way of getting things done – that’s Africanacity, that’s Absa,” Mr Awori said.
With elevation to the main European Tour, the tournament will attract a much larger audience both in the number of people coming to the Karen Country club as well as those following through traditional and social media. The tournament will be broadcast nationally through local media and across the world on international channels including SkySports News, Supersport, Fox Sports, Golf Channel among others, reaching at least 490 million homes.
“As business, we are in a transitional phase that will see our operations across the continent adopt the Absa brand by June next year, giving us an opportunity to leverage our rich African heritage and understanding of the continent to drive initiatives to unlock Africa’s potential and support its accelerated growth. That is why we feel honoured to have played a central role in helping the Kenya Open attain this prestigious status; to take its place among the world’s best golf tournaments,” Mr Awori said.