Safaricom golf action tees off in Nanyuki

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa tees off at the par 72 Golf Park during the inaugural Safaricom golf series launch.

Photo credit: Safaricom

By Larry Ngala

The eagerly-awaited 2022 Safaricom Golf Tour, which was launched last weekend at the Ngong Racecourse’s Golf Park with a nine-hole contest, finally tees off proper this weekend at the Nanyuki Sports Club in Laikipia County.

The first leg of the 14-leg series that will culminate in a grand finale at the Vipingo Ridge Golf Resort in August, has attracted a field of 102, who will be teeing off from 6.30am tomorrow (Saturday, January 29, 2021).

In its support to the effort by the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) to nurture golf talent from the young age of five, Safaricom has included a junior competition in each of the 14 tournaments. The junior events will be played a day after Safaricom’s corporate tournaments.

Therefore, soon after the corporate tournament on Saturday, the juniors will take over the course to battle it out for an array of prizes.

The Nanyuki junior event is being co-ordinated by the JGF secretariat and its Mount Kenya regional representative, Baldev Singh.

Among those drawn in tomorrow’s event are Richard Kabugi, who last year emerged the winner, and will be all out to defend his title and try and book a slot for the grand finale in Vipingo. The top three players — overall winner, men’s and ladies’ winners — will qualify for the grand finale.

To take on Kabugi will be low handicapper Peter Rimui along with Marlin Ndegwa and Gabriel Miungi, among others.

Meanwhile, during the nine-hole Safaricom launch golf event, Bianca Mwangi posted 26 points to win by four points from men’s winner Patrick Mackenzi, while the ladies’ winner was Renee Njiraini on 20 points.

Renee Njiraini tees off at the par 72 Golf Park during the inaugural Safaricom golf series launch. Renee is one of the most promising junior golfers.

Photo credit: Safaricom

Martin Maina finished second in the men’s section on 21, with Margaret Njoki on 19 points taking the runner-up prize in the ladies’ section.

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa was staff winner on 20 points and Geoffrey Kiiru was the winner of the non-handicappers’ category after posting 43 points, with Andrew Kathere taking the junior title on 17 points.

Audrey Gachora was the best girl on 16 points, beating Karyn Ombisi on countback.

Speaking at the event, Sports Principal Secretary Joe Okudo, who represented the Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, said the launch was another milestone in promoting golf in Kenya, and especially among the youth.

“I want to sincerely commend the good work being done by the Junior Golf Foundation in developing the game of golf. This will go a long way in increasing the nurturing and developing of golf skills among the youth in the country,” Okudo said.

He noted that golf had been pierced with a lot of misconception and misinterpretations. “Some people say that the sport is expensive, and that it is a rich man’s game. But today, as we gather here, I am glad to note that interest and participation in golf has grown tremendously in Kenya and the perception towards the sport has changed,” he said.

He added that the government was committed to developing training and competition facilities for all sports, including golf, in order to make the sport accessible to everyone. He expressed his gratitude to Safaricom Foundation for sponsoring the event.

Safaricom CEO Ndegwa said the company was a big supporter of golf. “The events have given our brand the opportunity to support communities and connect with our customers. We now have an opportunity to make golf accessible by focusing on the youth,” said Ndegwa.

Safaricom initiated the partnership with JGF last October by coming together with other corporates to train coaches, started with the JGF bringing in experts from the US Kids Golf Foundation to train 40 coaches.

More information about the Safaricom Golf tour is accessible here.

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