Visiting pros grabbed the top three positions as the ninth leg of the Safari Tour teed off at the par 71 Karen Country Club today.
The foreign onslaught was led by Nigerian Andrew Odoh who shot a bogey-free five under par 66, for a one shot lead at the close of round one of the Safari Tour ninth leg at Karen Country.
A round of five birdies- two on the front and three on the back nine- came at the right time for the Nigerian who is chasing one of the two remaining Magical Kenya slots reserved for non-Kenyans playing on the Tour.
“I missed many fairways today but I am lucky I was able to recover due to my precise iron play,” said Odoh who missed the first six legs of the 2020/21 Safari Tour season. He will be hoping to carry today’s form into tomorrow’s round to better last week’s T10 finish at Muthaiga.
Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi made his intentions of winning the 2020/21 title clear when he returned a decent four under par 67 to head to the club house in second position one shot behind the overnight leader. A decent run of four birdies on the front nine for a record 31 gross was enough to cover an erratic show on the back nine.
“I was not happy with my tee shots today. I am used to fades but strange enough today I was hitting straight shows. I have taken some time on the practice range to correct the anomaly and I am confident I will be in good shape tomorrow,” said Chinhoi, winner of three Safari Tour events this season and currently placed third on the Order of Merit behind Dismas Indiza and Greg Snow.
Zimbabwe’s new entrant Visitor Mapwanya’s three under par 68 ensured that the visitors firmly locked Kenyans out of the podium.
However not to take the challenge lying down, Dismas Indiza and CJ Wangai shot identical three under par 68 for a T3 finish to keep the marauding visitors in check. They are one shot ahead of Dennis Saikwa, Riz Charania, David Wakhu, Simon Ngige and Mohit Mediratta.
It was a low scoring day during which 12 players produced under par scores while six players played level par. The record field of 70 players which includes leading amateurs shaping up for Magical Kenya Open will be trimmed to 20 after tomorrow’s second round.
The 12 top Kenyan players on the overall Order of Merit and three best placed non-Kenyans will qualify for Magical Kenya Open and the newly introduced Kenya Savannah Classic to be held next month at Karen.
Day One Leader board
1 Andrew Odoh (Nig) 66
2 Robson Chinhoi (Zim) 67
T3 Visitor Mapwanya (Zim) 68
T3 John Wangai 68
T3 Dismas Indiza 68
T6 Mohit Mediratta 69
T6 Dennis Saikwa 69
T6 Rizwani Charania 69
T6 Simon Ngige 69
T6 David Wakhu 69
T11 Samuel Njoroge 70
T11 Paul Muchangi 70