Shah, Mwakitawa shine in US Kids Nairobi junior tour

Austin Gitahi

Austin Gitahi in action during the NCBA-sponsored U. S. Kids Nairobi Local Tour junior tournament at Muthaiga Golf Club on December 4, 2022.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • At the Karen leg, Krish Shah emerged the winner in the boys 15–18-year-olds category after carding 81 gross, ahead of Ryan Mutinda who carded 86
  • Among the 13-14-year-old boys, Karen’s Nathan Mwangi, who has on several occasions claimed the top spot in the main NCBA Golf Series, was the winner with 76 points
  • Among the girls, Maryam Mwakitawa repeated her Karen feat by emerging the winner in the 15-18-year-olds category with 87 gross, as Audrey Gachora – also a winner at Karen – top the top spot in the 13-14-year-olds category with 77 gross

Over 310 junior golfers took to the course at the weekend when the ongoing Nairobi Local Tour junior tournament teed-off to its first double-header events held at Karen Country Club and Muthaiga Golf Club on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

Of those, 150 budding players braved the chilly weather as they converged at the picturesque par-72 Karen course on Saturday, while 160 juniors took part in the other event at the par-71 Muthaiga course on Sunday amidst inclement weather that featured in the morning.

The event, jointly hosted by Kenya’s Junior Golf Foundation and the U.S. Kids Golf and sponsored by NCBA Group, features eight events played between November 2022 and January this year and seeks to provide junior golfers the opportunity to advance their golf skills in age-appropriate competition.

At the Karen leg, Krish Shah emerged the winner in the boys 15–18-year-olds category after carding 81 gross, ahead of Ryan Mutinda who carded 86. Krish took his past weekend’s form, where he claimed a similar feat at the Windsor leg, to record back-to-back wins in the category.

Among the 13-14-year-old boys, Junaid Manji was the winner with 79 gross, while Aidan Gachora clinched the boys 12-year-olds category with 81. Among the 11-year-old boys, Amar Shah emerged best of the rest with a score of 76, while Ryan Njuguna was crowned winner in the 10-year-old boys’ category after carding a total of 45.

In the boys nine, eight, seven, and six-and-under categories, Adam Nesbitt, Niam Shah, Paren Reel, and Mohamed Mtsumi were crowned winners respectively.

Among the girls, Maryam Mwakitawa took the top honours in the 15-18-year-olds category with 84 gross, as Audrey Gachora won in the 13-14-year-olds category with 81 gross.

In other results, Marya Nyambura Nguitigu (11–12-year-olds), Kanana Muthomi (9–10-year-olds), and Lynette Zawadi (eight-year-olds-and-under) were crowned winners having topped their categories.

At the Muthaiga leg, Krish Shah continued with his impressive streak to record his third-straight win in two weekends after carding a round of 76, eight ahead of his nearest challenger, Hansil Tankin the boys 15–18-year-olds category.

Among the 13-14-year-old boys, Karen’s Nathan Mwangi, who has on several occasions claimed the top spot in the main NCBA Golf Series, was the winner with 76 points as Aidan Gachora sealed a second win of the weekend after emerging top in the 12-year-olds category with 81 points.

In other results, Mwathi Gicheru (11-year-olds), Gitonga Gitobu (10-year-olds), Adam Nesbitt (nine-year-olds), Mikhail Ladak (eight-year-olds), Paren Reel (seven-year-olds), and Mohamed Mtsumi (six-year-olds-and-under) were crowned winners having topped their categories.

Among the girls, Maryam Mwakitawa repeated her Karen feat by emerging the winner in the 15-18-year-olds category with 87 gross, as Audrey Gachora – also a winner at Karen – took the top spot in the 13-14-year-olds category with 77 gross.

In other results, Cherono Kipkorir (11-12-year-olds), Kanana Muthomi (nine-to-ten-year-olds), and Lynette Zawadi (eight-years-and-under), were crowned winners having topped their categories.

Speaking after the Karen leg, Jacquie Muhati, NCBA Group Deputy Director and Head of Brands said: 

“As NCBA we are passionate about demystifying golf and bringing it closer to the kids. We believe that part of our responsibility, we have to play a role in opening up opportunities and inspiring greatness amongst junior golfers. Our hope has always been nurturing, supporting the game with our various partners, scaling the quality, and exposing these children to professionals in the game and hence our partnership with U.S. Kids Golf.

“This is so that they can perfect the game, make it second nature and essentially, we have said we want to see the first Kenyan golfer at the Olympic Games originate from this circuit. It is exciting to see more children turning up and more partners stepping in to support the game and we truly hope that five years from now, we will be grateful for the role we have played in getting the children to participate in the game.”

Jim Hardy, Senior Director of Academy in Coach Development for U.S. Kids Golf said:

“We are passionate about our partnership with everything that is Junior Golf in Kenya. We feel that this is an area that is ripe for big-time growth as there is a lot of great passion for the game here with a lot of great kids who are passionate about the sport, and we want to keep that going.

“This is our second trip to Kenya, last year we trained 50 coaches from across the country who converged in Nairobi at the Muthaiga Golf Club for about a week. This year, we are here for about three weeks traveling to the different regions in Kenya doing some hands-on training where they coach at their golf courses with their kids who come to their facilities every week.”

Commenting on Jim Hardy’s visit, Regina Gachora, President of the Junior Golf Foundation said:

“We have Jim Hardy visiting us from the USA who is here to train coaches on how to coach children, this being the second training program he is undertaking in Kenya. He will also have a few junior camps around the country in a bid to deepen the number of coaches teaching juniors how to play golf and we are therefore excited that junior golfers will get a chance to meet him and play with him as he is a huge proponent of fun ways of playing golf, which includes game-based learning.”

The tour proceeds on a short break and will resume on January 8 next year with a tournament at the hilly Sigona Golf Club.

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