NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 23 – Kenyan pro David Wakhu was the home star attraction after wrapping the opening day of European Tour’s Kenya Savannah Classic in joint 12th spot.
An eagle on the par five 11th saw the Golf Park pro close the day on 5 under par 66.
Such was the gusto and excitement that characterized Wakhu’s fairy tale run at the at the Par 71 Karen Country Club course.
“It’s such a great feeling after failing to make the cut in the Kenya Open. I hit the ball with precision and I’m glad things went as planned,” said Wakhu, who is part of the 12 Kenyan Pro golfers sponsored by Vision 2030.
Kenya Open Champion Justin Harding maintained his dogged campaign for his third career European tour title and indeed back-to-back success. Harding, who is gunning for a rare double in Kenya, led a four-player tie on the summit setting the mood for some scintillating moments ahead at Karen.
Harding carded -7 on the opening day of the European Tour event tongue for the top spot with three other pros namely Joost Luiten of the Netherlands, Frenchman Clément Sordet and Alejandro Cañizares of Spain.
It was another bad day in the office for Kenyans with most carding bad scores. Dismas Indiza and Mohit Mediratta carded a 72 while Greg Snow shot -1. Kenyan sensation Samuel Njoroge played level par 71.
Joint leader Joost was all smiles: “Seven under is a really good score around here. No bogeys on the card is always a good thing and seven birdies. I had a couple more chances but I’m very happy with seven under and it’s a good position for the rest of the week”
Another joint leader Clément Sordet (FRA), 64 (-7) said: “It was really good fun – last week was not great, I didn’t play my best, but I practiced well yesterday, and my game feels really good now. I just didn’t score well last week so it’s nice to score seven under today.”
Samuel Njoroge Chege (KEN), 71: “It was a good score for me, because the course is playing tough today. The wind and the greens are rolling very fast, so a level par score is a good one for me to start the Savannah Classic.
The ninth is an easy hole, it’s a drivable par four where you can score an eagle there if you drive it well.
Today I’ve minimized my mistakes, I had three bogeys and three birdies which I am very happy about. The strategy today is to make the cut first, maybe minus three or four to make the cut.
DAY ONE LEADER BOARD
T1. Joost LUITEN (NED)-7
Clément SORDET (FRA)-7
Alejandro CAÑIZARES (ESP)-7
Justin HARDING (RSA)-7
T5. Mathiam KEYSER (RSA)-6
Ross McGOWAN (ENG) -6
Daniel VAN TONDER, (RSA) -6
David DRYSDALE (SCO) -6