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Adel Balala clinches Kenya Open ticket after Strokeplay victory in Nakuru

  • October 24, 2021
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Nyali golfer Adel Balala sealed a dream ticket to Kenya Open 2022 after a resounding three shot victory at the 31st Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship at the par 73 Nakuru Golf Club.

A wire-to-wire performance saw the youthful Balala close the week on seven under par 285 to ward off a spirited challenge from Kiambu’s Michael Karanga and John Lejirma of Railways. Balala is the second amateur to bag the Kenya Open 2022 ticket after Lejirma confirmed his place in the European Tour event following his win at the Kenya Amateur Matchplay championship mid this year.

Balala has been in fine form this season and has now won four events- Winston Churchill, Kabete Open, Trans Nzoia Open and the Strokeplay championship- in the Kenya Amateur Golf Circuit, upping the pressure on the series front runner Karanga in what has shaped out to a be a three-horse race.

Michael Karanga

The Nyali golfer had a dream start in Nakuru this week when he carded four under par 69 in the opening round to take the early lead and followed it up with identical rounds of 72 on the second and third day to go three shots clear of Karanga after the penultimate round. An assured final day display of 72 ensured that Balala was the only player in the strong field of 66 elite amateurs who played all rounds under-par in the 36-hole contest.

Bragging rights aside, the amateurs put up a good show in search of crucial points in the Official World Golf Ranking order of merit as 12 players carded under par rounds at the long-playing Nakuru course.

The Kenya Amateur Matchplay Championship and the Kenya Amateur Strokeplay Championship are considered the most prestigious events in the Kenya Golf Union calendar whose winners gain automatic entry to Kenya Open. Last year, Balala narrow missed the Strokeplay crown after finishing joint second behind eventual winner Jay Sandhu.

Action moves to Mombasa later this week for the 36-hole Coast Open championship where Balala will be seeking to cement his status as the undisputed Kenya’s top amateur, in a duel that Karanga must stay focused in his pursuit for the remaining automatic Kenya Open qualification slot.

LEADERBOARD DAY 4

A Balala         -7

M. Karanga   -4

J. Lejirma     -2

E. Barno       +3

A. Gupta      +4

J. Cwinyaa    +4

C. Nsanzuwera  +7

P. Muchangi     +8

L. Kamau        +9

N. Koech        +10


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