Top amateur golfers head to Mombasa for Barry Cup

Michael Karanga

Kiambu's Michael Karanga poses with the Limuru Open trophy on July 16, 2023 after his one shot victory in Limuru.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Kenya’s oldest national scheduled for seaside Mombasa Golf Club on Saturday
  • Khushi Motors offer Sh2 million Toyota Camry for hole-in-one at third hole in round one and two

Kenya’s elite amateur golfers are heading down to Mombasa this weekend for the 2023 Coast Open, Kenya’s oldest national event that follows the Limuru Open last weekend.

This year, the Coast Open, which marks its 103rd anniversary, just like the rest of the events in the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) series — save for the Stroke Play and Match Play Championships — will be staged over three days (54-holes).

Since the Barry Cup was donated by one of the founder members of Mombasa Golf Club, Percy Barry in 1913, it has always been played over 36 holes in two days.

However this year, the KGU decided to up-grade all the 26 national events to 54 holes and over in order to enable the elite amateurs earn World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) points.

Additionally, with the Kenya Golf Union’s drive to promote ‘Golf for All’, Elite Lady golfers have also been included in this year’s series.

The host captain, James Gitonga, said that the Barry Cup continues its strong run as the premier sporting event for amateurs in the region where it draws massive support from the growing golf fraternity.

Apart from the finesse exhibited in the field by the select elite amateurs during the championship, it has also emerged as a gem of socialization and the festive camaraderie that pervades the ocean-facing club is usually the premium outing for the regional and upcountry tourists.

This year, like the rest of the KAGC events, the Coast Open will be sponsored by NCBA Bank in collaboration with other corporates such as Kalamar, Britam, Majani Insurance Brokers, Bicorn Exim Tea Brokers and Khushi Motors who are offering a Toyota Camry worth Sh2 million as a special prize for a hole-in-one at the third hole during round one and two, and at the 12th hole during Sunday’s third round.

Meanwhile, an experienced field of 69 elite amateurs had by Thursday signed up for the event whose first round is on today at the sea-side Mombasa Golf Club course along the famous Mama Ngina Drive. 

Leading the pack will be Kiambu Golf Club’s Mike Karanga who has been in an amazing form this season and who is currently leading in the KAGC series, and the best placed Kenyan in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR) at 151 in the World.

Last weekend, Karanga posted 213 gross to beat Uganda’s Godfrey Nsubuga by one shot in the 2023 Limuru Open at Limuru Country Club Course.  

He is, therefore, expected to lead the attack again this weekend, with two other Ugandans, Andrew Ssekibejja, and Ibra Bagalana joining Nsubuga in the chase for their first Kenyan title.

In addition to the Ugandans, Karanga is also expected to face his usual local challengers of the likes of John Lejirmah from Railway, Golf Park’s Sammy Mulama and Rafael Leming’ani, and Kiambu’s Elvis Muigua.

Leading the Coast challenge will be defending champion William Kaguta from Nyali, Henry Kamau and Gurbux Singh among others.  Hunting for the Ladies title will be Kiambu’s Joyce Wanjiru, Vipingo Ridge’s Jackie Walters and Nyali’s Joyce Masai.

Club Captain James Gitonga says the course in great condition although the strong wind is likely to be major factor this year.

Elsewhere, the 2023 NCBA Golf Series makes its return to Kenya this weekend with a date at the Royal Nairobi Golf Club for the ninth leg of the series.

This follows a successful eighth leg at Uganda Golf Club in Kampala last weekend which saw more than 200 golfers vying for coveted slots in the grand finale later this year, all eyes are now on the Royal event.

For this weekend, at least 200 golfers are expected to tee off at the par-72 Royal Nairobi course where they will battle it out for some slots in the grand finale to be held later in the year.

The NCBA Golf Series not only aims to promote the sport of golf across the East African region but also strives to forge a stronger connection between NCBA Bank and its customers through their shared love for the game.

This year’s edition comprises a total of 17 club qualifier events hosted at prestigious golf clubs in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Expressing his excitement ahead of the tournament, NCBA Group Managing Director, John Gachora, said: “We are thrilled to bring the NCBA Golf Series back to Kenya and have the Royal Nairobi Golf Club as our host for the ninth leg of the series."