NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Former President and Patron of the Kenya Golf Union, Mwai Kibaki is among 12 individuals who have been inducted into the Kenya Open Hall of Fame for their significant contribution to the tournament and golf in the country.
Also inducted are former Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Duncan Ndegwa, former KOGL Chairmen –Ngugi Kiuna, Sam Kamau and Richard Kemoli, current KOGL Chairman Peter Kanyago and long serving KOGL Finance Director Joe Wangai.
Others feted included the former Kenya Open Tournament Directors – Inder Talwar and Peter Coombes, Veteran KenyanAmateur Golfer and the Kenya Open’s Most Successful Amateur Player – David Farrar, Former East African Breweries Ltd Chairman Jeremiah Kiereini and Veteran Golf Journalist, Larry Ngala.
The Hall of Fame Award is the highest honour in golf and is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves over a period of time in their service to the sport.
Speaking at the event, Kenya Open Golf Limited Chairman, Peter Kanyago, congratulated the inductees for the honour adding that their contribution to the Kenya Open had helped transform the tournament into the success that it is today.
“Tonight, we will be awarding several individuals with the Kenya Open Golf Limited Hall of Fame Awards for their immense contribution to the Kenya Open throughout the years.
On behalf of the Board of the Kenya Open Golf Limited, I take this opportunity to congratulate you all on the attainment of the honour,” Kanyago said.
The Kenya Open Golf Championship is this year marking its 50th anniversary since inception in 1967 (and having not been held in 1976 and 2003).
Over the years the tournament has hosted some of the biggest names in Golf. These include Severiano Ballesteros who won in 1978, 1986 winner Ian Woosnam and Vijay Singh who played in the 1989 edition. All went on to hold the title of World number 1 at different times in their careers.
Locally, the tournament has provided a great hunting ground for the amateurs while providing a perfect opportunity for professionals to hone their skills.
Throughout the history of the tournament, a Kenyan has lifted the Silver Salver 26 times, with veteran golfer, David Farrar, winning the title seven times between 1968 and 1990.
Other notable winners include John Mucheru, David Wandua and the Father, Son pair of Ben and Jacob Okello who won in 1983 and 1994, respectively.
Kenya’s best chance of winning the overall title of the tournament came in 1998 when Jacob Okello lost to Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez in a sudden-death playoff.
Speaking at the anniversary celebrations, Sports Principal Secretary, Kirimi Kaberia, congratulated the Kenya Open Gold Limited for the milestone adding that the Government will continue to work together with all stakeholders in the Kenyan golf scene in a bid to enhance the sport in the country.
“The Government of Kenya remains committed to work in close collaboration with the Kenya Open Golf Limited and the Kenya Golf Union to ensure that Kenyan golf, and by extension the Kenya Open Golf Championship, reaches greater heights.
In this regard, we are working, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, to develop a golf curriculum that will be rolled out in public schools in the coming years,” he said.
“This, we believe, will provide learners with an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the sport – which had hitherto been perceived as an elitist sport – at an early age. As a result, we believe that we will have nurtured great golf talent at an early age that will go on to win both the Kenya Open Golf Championship as well as other international tournaments,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Thika’sNdigaKithae emerged the overall winner of the Kenya Open @50 golf tournament with a score of 39 points beating Muthaiga’sKairuBachia on countback. Former KGU Chairman ParshuHirani was third on 38 points beating former KLGU Chairlady Jane Waweru on countback.
KTB’s Jonathan Mbiyu was Men Third with 38 points whilst former KGU Chairman Anthony Muhoro was Men Fourth with 36 points.
David Farrar, the most prolific amateur winner in the 50-year of the Kenya Open finished with a commendable 35 points.