NAIROBI, February 25- The drum roll to 2015 Barclays Kenya Open started with the launch of the event that will run from April 9-12 at Karen Country Club on Wednesday in Nairobi with organisers announcing a field of 156 local and international golfers will vie for a share of the 200,000 Euros (Sh20.78m) prize kitty.
The annual European Challenge Tour event that will be played at Karen for the third year in a row will tee off with two Pro-Am events on April 7 and 8 sponsored by Barclays Bank and Coca Cola.
Kenya will be relying on Richard Ainley and John Karichu to lead the team’s challenge for the top spot at the signature event last won by a home golfer in 1994 when Peter Livingstone beat a field of experienced golfers to take top honours.
“Our goal is to make this tournament prestigious enough to attract top flight golfers from all over the world.
“To achieve this, we will have to continually invest in our infrastructure and player development and I am therefore glad to note that tournaments such as the Barclays Golf Circuit are providing our players with a platform to practice their swing year round ahead of big tournaments such as the Open,” Kenya Open Golf Limited Chairman, Peter Kanyago stated.
This year’s Barclays Golf Circuit ends in March where top performers will earn a place in the Open Pro Am.
“In the last five years we have witnessed a tremendous growth in the sport both in the calibre of players and number of people taking an interest in the sport. Growing interest among the youth is a clear indication that golf has a great future in Kenya,” Jeremy Awori, Managing Director Barclays Bank of Kenya underscored.
“We therefore intend to continue supporting the growth of the sport in Kenya by partnering with relevant stakeholders such as the KGU and the Kenya Open Golf Limited to identify areas of collaboration that will help us achieve this goal,” he added.
South Africa’s Jake Roos is the defending champion after clinching victory in a dramatic finale where Dismas Indiza and Greg Snow were the best-placed local players, finishing 5th and 6th in the overall standings.