With the best of the best in the golf industry coming to compete at the 50th Barclays Kenya Open Golf Tournament at the Muthaiga Golf Club next week, the government, through National Sports Fund yesterday announced a Kenya Shillings 50 Million partnership towards the championship.
Former Kenya Open Champions are also set to take part in this year’s competition. 2009 Kenya Open winner, Gary Boyd, 2010 winner Robert Dinwiddle and 2016 champion, Sebastian Soderberg, lead the contingent of foreign players expected to take part. The three will lead a high-caliber list of entries by foreign players who have expressed interest to take part in this year’s tournament, and whose participation at the tourney is now awaiting ratification by the European Challenge Tour.
Other foreign nationals expected to take part at this year’s Kenya Open include Swede Anton Karlsson, Frenchman Antoine Rozne, Ugandan Fred Wanzala, Rwandese Ernest Ndayinsenga and Nigerian Andrew Oche Odoh. The tournament will also feature six South African professional players who play in the Sunshine Tour; continuing Kenya Open Golf Limited’s tradition of involving top professionals from the region in order to enhance the profile of the tournament, and to give local players a chance to play with pros from the region as well.
The Kenya Open Golf Championship has slots for 156 players; 106 of whom are selected on merit through the European Challenge Tour and 50 selected by the Kenya Open Golf Limited featuring Kenyan and regional professionals as well as local amateurs.
Speaking during the cheque handover ceremony, National Sports Fund’s Chairman Luke Luseno said that the government is committed to supporting the growth of sports- in this case, golf in the country.
“The government, through the National Sports Fund, has undertaken to sponsor and fund sports across the board. Sponsoring the Kenya Open tournament is in line with the president’s directive to develop golf, especially for junior players, and position the country as a golfing destination,” he said.
Speaking at the same event, Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) PR and sponsorship Director, Kathleen Kihanya noted that the government’s support will go a long way in raising the standards of the Kenya Open Championships.
“We welcome this significant sponsorship from the government, which has placed the Kenya Open at the top of the European Challenge Tour events. With continued support from the government, we are confident that the Kenya Open is going to move on to the main European tour.”
This year’s championship will be the most lucrative tournament on the European Challenge tour boasting of a total prize kitty of 500,000 Euros (KES. 62.5 Million).
Tickets to the championship are available for sale on www.ticketsasa.com