Kenya’s elite amateurs snub Uganda Open

  • November 24, 2021
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Kenya will be represented by only three top amateurs at the Uganda Amateur Open which tees off tomorrow at the par 71 Entebbe Golf Course.  This follows the decision by majority of the country’s elite amateurs to play at the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship, KAGC, Nyanza Open round this week in pursuit of Magical Kenya Open 2022 slots.

Uganda Amateur Open defending champion John Lejirma will be joined by the fast-rising Ebill Omollo and Simon Karari in the tough battle against Uganda’s top players. Among the star players who will be missing in action in Uganda include Adel Balala, Mike Karanga, Dennis Maara, Taimur Malik, Nelson Koech, Peter Rimui, Joseph Gathumbi and Elly Barno.

Karanga and Maara will be in Kisumu for The Nyanza open with their eyes firmly fixed on clinching the single automatic slot reserved for the KAGC winner. Though Karanga is the favourite to clinch the automatic slot, thanks to his healthy lead, a slip up in the remaining three rounds could see him open the door for the chasing pack led by Maara. His main challengers, Balala and Lejirma, have already booked their Magical Kenya 2022 tickets after winning The Kenya Amateur Strokeplay and Kenya Amateur Matchplay events respectively.

Michael Karanga

The elite amateurs have also attributed the muted interest in the Uganda Open to fatigue and economic challenges occasioned by the grueling KAGC calendar. KGU has been forced to schedule the KAGC events weekly in a bid to recover the time lost early this year when the golf calendar was suspended as coronavirus ravaged the country. Eighteen events have so far been held in various venues across the country with the series climax, Nyali Open Championship, slated for mid-December.

The Uganda Open has proved to be a tough nut for Kenya amateur players. Prior to Lejirma’s triumph last year, it was Daniel Nduva’s win in 2019 that ended barren spell of 12 years. Only Nicholas Rokoine, 2007, and David Odhiambo, 2004, had managed to wrestle the title from Ugandans in recent times.

Last year, Kenya was represented by a strong team of Adel Balala, Isaac Makokha, John Lejirma, Peter Rimui, Simon Karari and John Mburu.  The other Kenyans  who have travelled to Uganda for this year’s tournament include veterans Adelbert Omooria, Paul Orawo and George Mburu.

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