What you need to know:
- Frenchman Romain Langasque returns to the competiton, but this time as a professional.
- He came to Kenya for the first time as an amateur four years ago and surprised many including the leading professionals by finishing second.
Six past winners will take part in this year's Magcal Kenya Open to be held at the Karen Country Club from March 18.
According to the entry list relased Monday, 156 players among them 12 Kenyans will grace the prestigious event, which is being held for the second time as part of the European Tour series, popularly known as the “Race To Dubai’’.
The 2007 winner, Italian Edoardo Molinari is back in the hunt for the top prize. The list of the past winners also has Sweden’s Sebastian Soderberg, who clinched the title in 2016, a victory that pushed him to the European Tour, though not for a long.
Then a European Challenge Tour, the Open saw first timer Aaron Rai produce a perfect 17 under par 267 in front of a big cheering crowd that included his Kenyan born mother to claim the 2017 title at Muthaiga.
He then graduated into the European Tour proper where he has remained since then. He is one of those who have been entered through category two (winners of the Rolex series of events), and the World Golf Championship (WGC).
Also in the list is Haydn Poteous, one of the five South Africans who have managed to put their names in the Kenya Open roll of past winners.
Also back in Kenya to try and reclaim the title are the Italian duo of Lorenzo Gagli - who won the gong in 2018 and the fifth player to win the Open in a play off- and Guido Migliozzi, a surprise winner of the last Open (2019), and the first champion under its new status as the European Tour series.
Frenchman back with experience
Like the rest of the European Tour events, both the Magical Kenya Open and the Kenya Savannah Classic will be a closed affair.
Winning the Open title back-to-back has been a rare feat and it will be interesting to see who will follow in England’s Maurice Bembridge’s footsteps. He acheived the feat in 1968 and 1969.
Bembridge, who is the only player to have won the Open on an over par score, came back in 1979 to post his third victory, this time with a better score of 13 under par, a new record which was equalled by another English player Brian Waites the following year.
Frenchman Romain Langasque is returning to the competiton, but this time as a professional.
He came to Kenya for the first time as an amateur four years ago and surprised many including the leading professionals by finishing second.
Like the Magical Kenya Open, the Kenya Savannah Classic will also be offering a prize money of one million Euros (about Sh133 million), and 2,000 points towards the “Race to Dubai" series, a good harvest for the locals if they put their heads down during the two weeks golf extravaganza.