Three Kenyans are in Nigeria for the Lagos Open Golf Championship that will tee off tomorrow. The trio- pro Samuel Njoroge and amateurs John Lejirma and Naomi Wafula will be part of golfers drawn from several West African countries at the four-day event taking place at par 71 Ikoyi Club 1938.
Whereas it will be the second outing in Nigeria for Njoroge who won the Lagos Open amateur event in 2019, Lejirma and Wafula will be on their maiden tour of West Africa.
“This is a massive step forward in my quest to turn pro. I am hoping to learn a lot from this experience as it will definitely impact on my future plans,” said Naomi Wafula.
Their excursion comes barely a week after other Kenyans ventured the Central and South African territory in such of glory. Mathew Wahome had a successful outing at the Lilongwe Open last week where he finished sixth after shooting -1. The event which was well attended by Safari Tour members from Zimbabwe and Malawi was won by Robson Chinhoi who shot -8.
Further south, Adel Balala was in South Africa for the 54-hole Central Gauteng Open 2021 Strokeplay championship. Balala, currently the top ranked amateur player in Kenya, shot an impressive -1 to finish 16th. South Africa’s Werner Deyzel won the event on -1. This week, Balala will be up against top amateurs at the 54-hole 2021 Bobby Locke Open strokeplay tournament.
Kenya’s Daniel Nduva has been quietly developing his career in South Africa since turning pro early this year. Prior to turning pro, Nduva had a good stint in the South Africa amateur events including finishing 12th at the Gauteng North Open and a 21st placing at the Africa Amateur Strokeplay championship. He is now on the Sunshine Tour.
In April this year John Wangai, Jastas Madoya and Edwin Mudanyi excited the local golf scene when they played in the 21st Cote D’Ivoire Open. Though they didn’t win, the trio had a relatively successful performance as they all made cut.
In recent times Kenyans have limited their participation in international events to regional tournaments in East Africa with Uganda Open proving to be the most popular destination. Last year 30 pros took part in Uganda Open while the amateurs have also had a good run in the event which Kenya’s Lejirma won in 2020.
While lauding the new found spirit of adventure, the Professional Golfers of Kenya Chairman Charan Tethy says golfers should strive to play in foreign events where standards are higher than Kenya. “It is always advisable to go out there for exposure. The more you compete against better players the better you become. This is the only way you will be able to evaluate your game and set a realistic roadmap for your career advancement. This is also very good for Kenya as it gives the country very good exposure as a serious golf destination, “said Tethy.