NAIROBI, March 16 – The Road to Oman gets underway on Thursday with the 2016 European Challenge Tour season opener, the 48th Barclays Kenya Open that tees off at the par -72 Karen County Club.
The Tour that includes 22 Kenyan professionals has four players, who are considered favourites in the three-day competition.
The list includes Italian Andrea Pavan, German Dominic Foos, Englishman Max Orrin and Frenchman Clement Sordet.
Pavan, 26-year-old is a veteran of the Challenge Tour having won twice in 2011 at the Norwegian Challenge and the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final.
In 2013 he was victorious at the Bad Griesback Challenge Tour and the Open Blue Green Cotes d’Amor Bretagne.
He joined the European Tour in 2012 and played in the 114th US Open in 2014 after gaining a slot through a European sectional qualifier.
Pavan, an AS Roma fan, brings to Kenya a wealth of experience and a clear focus to finish top in the Tour’s 2016 Road to Oman.
Foos on the other hand will probably be the youngest golf professional at the 2016 Barclays Kenya Open.
Foos joined the paid ranks in 2014 after a highly successful amateur career. In 2015 he became the Tour’s youngest ever winner at 17 years when he won the GANT Open and its yet to be seen if he will find his form at Karen this week.
Orrin returns to Kenya after a mixed season on the 2014 Challenge Tour but will be inspired by his T16 and 8-under par at the 2015 Barclays Kenya Open.
On Tour, his record includes victory at the 2014 National Bank of Oman Golf Classic and at the inaugural Made in Denmark Challenge in May 2015 in Copenhagen.
Frenchman Sordet will also be a force to reckon with after joining the pros ranks in 2015, winning his first tournament as a professional at the Northern Ireland Open.
He won the 2011 Allianz Open International de la Mirabell d’Or as an amateur.
Mads Sogaard from Denmark is listed as the fifth player to watch in the 2016 Challenge Tour season having been active in the 2015 Challenge Tour season and qualified for the finale in Oman.
However, he will not be in action at the 2016 Barclays Kenya Open.