NAIROBI, March 20 – Swedish Sebastian Soderberg surged to a maiden European Challenge Tour victory as he won the season-opening 2016 Barclays Kenya Open by three shots at Karen Country Club on Sunday.
The Swede held a three shot advantage overnight and never faltered, his five under par final round of 67, his fourth round in the 60s this week, putting him on 18 under par overall in front of the watching President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Soderberg now takes an early lead in the Road to Oman Rankings after earning 35,200 points and the 25 year old has already fulfilled one of his season aims by winning for the first time.
“It feels pretty unreal right now,” he said. “I was just trying to keep it together all day – one of my goals for the season was to win an event on the Challenge Tour, so I’ve crossed that off the list.
“It gives me a good boost so I’m more excited than ever for the rest of the season, but I haven’t really had long to think about it yet, it hasn’t sunk in properly,” elated Soderberg underscored.
“I had the same approach today as the rest of the week and it worked pretty well, though I changed it on 18 a bit and took three wood, just to make sure. I had a slow front nine but I managed to make a few birdies around the turn and after that I just tried to keep calm and carry on – it was tough, but it feels really good now.
“The crowds and support were incredible. I missed the cut here last year so didn’t get to experience the weekend atmosphere but I’ve never known a Challenge Tour event like it, it was amazing,” he added.
In second place was Frenchman Romain Langasque, playing in his penultimate event as an amateur before he turns professional after competing in next month’s Masters Championship at Augusta while German Bernd Ritthammer was third on 14 under par.
Dismas Indiza was the highest finishing Kenyan, having started his round off well birding the first but collected two double bogeys on the fourth and sixth holes on the front nine.
He collected birdies on the 10th, 12th and 18th but dropped shots on the 13th and 17th finishing the round on a disappointing three over and a total of three under par for the four day event.
It was another disappointing performance by Kenyan golfers as the wait for the first win in the oldest tournament in the country continues.
The next stop on the Road to Oman is Egypt for the Red Sea Egyptian Challenge Presented by Hassan Allam Properties next month, the second of 28 tournaments on this year’s schedule that will visit 22 different countries.