All-conquering Kiambu golfer goes for Kabete Open title

Tournament favourite Michael Karanga driving off from the first hole during the third round of the Kenya Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Karen Country Club on August 19, 2023.

Photo credit: Pool |

What you need to know:

  • Karanga's target is to win over 11 events, in addition to the country’s most prestigious golf title, the KAGC “Golfer of The Year Award”.

Kenya’s top amateur golfer Michael Karanga will be the man to watch this weekend as a field of 96 golfers from across East Africa gather at the par 72 Vet Lab Sports Club course from Friday for the 19th leg in the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series, Kabete Open.

The plus three handicapper Karanga from Kiambu Golf Club, who flew back home on Wednesday night from Egypt where he participated in the 2023 Egyptian Open Championship, has dominated this year’s KAGC series.

Now ranked 87 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, the 28-year-old Karanga has claimed 10 of the 18 KAGC events played so far, including Kenya’s two major events, the Kenya Amateur Match Play and the Stroke Play Championship.

Karanga's target is to win over 11 events, in addition to the country’s most prestigious golf title, the KAGC “Golfer of The Year Award”.

Karanga is well ahead of the pack, having scored a total of 1,173 points while the player behind him, John Lejirmah has 547.

In third place is Uganda’s Godfrey Nsubuga on 383 while 19-year-old Elvis Muigua completes the top four on 343 points.

Karanga has won 10 out of the 12 KAGC events he has participated in, and with seven more events to go after this weekend, he is on the course to making history.

John Lejirmah, who retained the Nyanza Open last weekend though with a poor score of 10 over par in three rounds, Ugandans Nsubuga, Joseph Cwinyaai, Ibrahim Bagalana and Michael Tumusiime are all set to battle for the Kabete Open title with Karanga.

Other players in contention will be Muigua, Limuru’s Dennis Maara and home players Ebill Omollo and Isaac Makokha.

Friday’s opening round gets under way from 7am in a continuous draw with all players teeing off from the first tee.

Meanwhile, the par 72 Sigona Golf Club will this weekend host the final Kenyan leg in the 2023 NCBA Bank golf series.

Over 200 players were drawn for this weekend’s tournament which will then give way to the rest of the East African regional events at Gymkhana Golf Club in Tanzania later this month, and Kigali Golf Resort and Villas in Rwanda and Entebbe Golf Club in Uganda next month.

The Kenyan qualifiers will return to Sigona Golf Club on December 1, for the grand finale.

The overall winner, men’s category winner and runner-up, ladies’ category winner and runner-up and the junior category winner in each of the qualifying events will feature in the grand finale where the top prize will be Sh100,000 cash award to each of the top three winners. These will be the Overall Winner, Men Winner and Lady Winner.

So far, the series has been held across 13 golf clubs in the country, attracting a total of over 2,300 golfers; with 78 players qualifying to play in the Grand Finale.

Speaking ahead of the Sigona tournament, NCBA Group Managing Director, John Gachora, remarked: "We are thrilled with the progress of the series which teed-off earlier this year, marking our third golf series since its inception in 2021. This year’s series has already attracted over 2,300 avid golfers, which is testament to the appreciation for this event within the golfing community. We look forward to an exciting final round of golf in the series at Sigona, which is expected to draw a record field being the last event in Kenya on the calendar."

Sigona Golf Club's captain Jimmy Kibugi expressed confidence of a successful event.

At the Great Rift Valley Lodge and Golf Resort, a field of 170 will battle it out for the Kenya Air Force Commander’s Cup this weekend. The event has attracted players from as far as Kericho Club whose line-up include the captain Ignatius Kiptoo, Chris Birgen, Raymond Keter, Erastus Orina, Richard Korir, Onesmus Maritim, Kipkirui Langat and John Sang.

The two top teams will also book a place in November’s grand finale to join 10 other teams that have already secured their places in the final showdown.