South Africa’s Tyrone Mordt was two shots off the leader with three golfers including local ace Dismas Indiza who returned an impressive score of 4 under 67 tied for third in the first round of the European Challenge Tour event that ends on Sunday.
James Lorum was the second placed Kenyan on the early leader board with 2 under 69 with Ganeev Giddie carding 1 under 70. Anil Shah and John Kagiri were on lever par after their opening round.
Meanwhile, defending titleholder, South Africa’s Michiel Bothma is confident defending his crown at the event that teed off on Thursday morning at Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club.
Bothma who fired a tournament total of 14 under 270 to win last year’s top prize is returning to his seventh Kenya Open where he has made the cut thrice.
“The weather is fantastic and am looking forward to not putting so many under pars but it’s definitely going to be a fantastic week,” Bothma told Capital Sport.
He is among four former champions teeing off at this year’s event with 2010 winner Robert Dinwiddie, 2005 victor Daniel Vancsik and the top player in 1992, André Bossert.
Bothma warmed up for the Kenya Open by finishing third at the Johannesburg Open in January will be among the category one golfers competing for top honours.
In the process he became the third South African to win the event after Trevor Immelman in 2000 and Ashley Roestoff in 2001.
The local contingent of 27 golfers will feature for Kenya including 22 professionals and five amateurs.
“The course is very dry and will pose a challenge to every player but we are ready to put up a fight, I have worked hard, practiced with consistency throughout the year and believe we will do well at the end of the day,” said Royal Nairobi Golf Club player, Anil Shah.
A total of 190,000 Euros (Sh20.9m) in prize money is up for grabs with the Kenyan charge aiming to top Jacob Okello’s effort in 1998 when he lost the title on sudden death play-off.