NAIROBI, Kenya, March 26 – English man Aaron Rai was crowned the 2017 Barclays Kenya Open winner, his maiden title at the European Challenge Tour at the Muthaiga Golf Club.
Rai, 22 who started the day, 1 shot off the lead played a round of 6 under to claim a total score of 267 to finish on 17 under par to beat French man Adrien Saddier who finished on a total of 14 under par.
Overnight leader Matt Wallace finished tied in 3rd with Italian Francesco Laporta, the pair returning an identical score of 13 under par.
Rai managed to slowly inch towards the top of the leader board with improving rounds of 4 under and 5 under in the opening two rounds, before returning a score of 2 under after round 3 and finish in second spot coming into the final round.
Trailing Matt Wallace by a single shot, Rai managed a total of 6 birdies and one bogey to return a score of 65, 6 under par. Rai walked away with the 35,200 Euros in prize money.
“It is a great honour to win my first title in Kenya, I want to thank my parents, sponsors and the spectators for the support and making me feel like I was playing at home.”
Simon Ngige finished as the first Kenyan at T34 returning a total score of 5 under par, several places above overnight Kenyan leader DismasIndiza who folded on the last round to return a score of 5 over on the day and 1 under overall.
The third Kenyan came in at T60 on level par, after playing a round of 4 over on the day.
This an improvement from last year where the best placed Kenyans finished in 38th, 46th and 56th.
A total of 22 pros and six amateurs had been entered in this year’s open with only the three making the cut, same as was at last year’s event.
Speaking at the trophy presentation ceremony, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to work with the Kenya Open and its sponsors to make the tournament more attractive by increasing the prize money.
“We have agreed with the Sports Ministry, the Kenya Open and its sponsors that we need to make the tournament more attractive, next year the prize money should be at least 1 Million US Dollars.”