With the 2019 Kenya Open Golf Championship finally listed as one of the more than 40 events in the European Tour series popularly known as the “Race to Dubai’’, it is now do-or-die for local professional golfers.
Besides the benefit of the country attracting golf tourists from different parts of the world because of the international publicity Kenya is likely to get, the event offers a life time chance of a Kenyan earning a European Tour.
It is the closest way to become a member of the European Tour than going through the Challenge Tour or at the European Tour School. Going by the results of the five Safari Tour legs series played, it is not just possible for a player like Greg Snow to make the second round cut, but also finish in a respectable position or even win if he stays focus.
The event, which will now be known as Magical Kenya Open, is the same event they have featured before and the only difference with the Challenge Tour then, is probably the calibre of players who are likely to be at Karen Country Club from March 14 to 17.
There is no doubt that some of the players in the European Tour are very experienced and have won major events elsewhere in the world and featured in major tournaments in as far as in the PGA Tour in America compared to the locals.
But some of them are graduates of the Challenge Tour, which up until last year began its series in Kenya with the Kenya Open.
A big number of these leading professionals are well known to the locals, hence the ball is now squarely in the court of the Kenyans.
They have been given a chance to show their prowess, so it is up to them to make use of the opportunity given to them by the Kenya Open Golf Limited, which last year set up the Safari Tour series as a Kenya Open qualifier for the Kenyans, and also open to players from the rest of the East African region and beyond.
Previously, Kenyans as well as others from elsewhere in Africa use to be invited to play in the Kenya Open, which has been one of the top events in the Challenge Tour since 1991, until it was upgraded to join the big league in the world.
“I have been able to perfect my swing so I am driving well at the moment though I still need to work on my putting hopefully before the last leg of the Safari Tour.
But whatever the case, I will still go full blast for the Open because this is the opportunity we have been waiting for,” said Greg Snow, after firing 13 under par in the fifth leg of the series.
With the prize money now at 1.1 Million Euros(Sh126 Million), 2,000 points will also be up for grabs towards the “Race to Dubai’’ for the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, the grand finale of the season from November 21 to 24, where at stake will be 8,000,000 Dollars (Sh807 Million).