Kenya’s top amateurs had a tough time navigating the tough-playing Limuru Golf course as the country’s crème de la crème posted high scores at the Limuru Open & Brackenhurst cup 2021.
In fact, no player managed to post an under par round as the freezing weather got the best of the star-studded field of 115 amateurs in the 54-hole event, the fifth in the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship, KAGC, calendar.
Top seed Michael Karanga put in a wire to wire performance to clinch a hat trick of titles this season after posting six over gross 222. The Kiambu Golf Club player who is currently on top of the Order of Merit cemented his grip on the KAGC series after shooting +2 in today’s final round to stave off a spirited challenge from Adel Balala for a two-shot margin win.
Karanga went into the final round with a one shot lead over Balala, a margin that he has enjoyed throughout the three rounds. Two bogeys on the par 4 second hole and the par 4 ninth followed by another pair of bogeys on the 13th and 14th almost cost Karanga the title. However, a strong finish that included a birdie on the par 5 15th hole saw him pick his third title in the series.
Featuring in the final match-up alongside Dennis Maara, Balala took the game to the leader starting strongly with back-to-back pars to go level with Karanga after the opening two holes. The Nyali Club golfer dropped a shot on the par 5 hole number three but picked a birdie on the fourth hole to reclaim co-leadership. He kept Karanga in check with another birdie on the par 4 number nine before things went haywire on the par 4 tenth hole where he shot a triple bogey. Another bogey on the par 4 twelfth hole effectively ended his challenge.
Fresh from clinching the Coronation Trophy in Nakuru, home player Maara failed to take home ground advantage as he faded into sixth position after a disastrous +8 final round display. The Limuru Golf Club captain started the final round just two shots behind the leader but a string of 10 bogeys, five on either side, sealed Maara’s hopes of clinching a season double. Two consolation birdies on the par 3 seventh and par 5 18th hole will however keep him energized for the next assignment. His level par score in the second round was the tournament’s best performance.
Long-hitting James Kamenchu clinched a surprise podium finish after a steady display over the three rounds earned him a third place at Limuru. Kamenchu shot an identical +4 throughout the three rounds for his career best performance in the series.
Following the conclusion of the fifth round of the KAGC series, Karanga remains the top ranked player followed by Maara while Nanyuki’s Peter Rimui is third. The country’s top amateurs will renew their rivalry next week at the 99th Kenya Amateur Matchplay Championship competition at Muthaiga Golf Club.
LIMURU OPEN LEADER BOARD
M. Karanga +6
A. Balala +8
J. Kamenchu +11
M. Kibugu +12
J. Lejirma +14
D. Maara +15
J. Kariuki +17
M. Ngene +18
J. Ikanyi +20
E. Omollo +24