The race for the six tickets to Portugal for the 2021 International Pairs golfers’ carnival, commences tomorrow when close to 100 amateur players tee off at Royal Nairobi Golf Club for the first country qualifying tournament.
After last year’s cancellation of the event, thanks to coronavirus, the International Pairs qualifier tournament is being held in Kenya for the second time following a modest debut in 2019 when Kenya Golf Union, KGU, was awarded rights to stage the event.
Launched more than 20 years ago, the International Pairs World Final Series brings together more than one million amateur golfers from over 35 countries.
KGU has lined up 15 qualifying events to be held by clubs across the country with the grand finale scheduled for 28 August 2021 at Karen Country Club. Among the clubs earmarked to host the qualifying rounds include Royal, Eldoret, Karen, Kiambu, Muthaiga, Nakuru, Nyali, Nyeri, Railway, Ruiru, Sigona, Thika and Vetlab.
The 18 holes qualifying event will be played in four-ball better-ball stableford format with 85% handicap allowance for each of the participating pairs. A pair can consist of two men, two ladies or a mixed pair. The top five pairs from each club qualifying event will proceed to the grand finale at Karen, where the top three teams will clinch the ticket to Portugal.
The International Pairs World Finals will be held in November 2021 at Penina Hotel & Golf Resort in Algarve, Portugal over two days as a 36-hole Better ball Stableford event.
Kenya made a dream debut in 2019 when Stephen Kiaro and Michael Karanga finished third behind the pair of Tony Morgan and Kevin Kenny from the United Kingdom. The South Africa pair of Peet van Schalkwyk and Mario Strydom won the event. The other pairs that represented Kenya were Anthony Murage & James Kamenchu and Romy Sandhu & Bhamra Bilu.
In 2018, the Windhoek Lager team from Namibia was crowned The International Pairs World Champion, the first time in the event’s 20 year history that a team from Africa won.
According to the organizers, The International Pairs tournament is “specifically aimed and designed to give the amateur, handicap clubs and public handicap-registered golfers, the possible opportunity to play at a higher level against golfers of other countries in exciting tournament conditions”.