In Summary
  • Of the total list, Kenya had a strong contingent of 29 players while hosts Uganda had listed 19 players
  • However, more players are likely to sign in for the event before Monday’s 5pm deadline
  • At stake next week, will be a prize fund of Sh1 million to be shared by the top 20 players and ties who will have made the second round cut

At least 54 professional golfers had by Friday evening put down their names to play in the Kitante Open, the 10th leg in the 2019/20 Safari Tour whose opening round is set for Wednesday at the Uganda Golf Club, Kampala.

Of the total list, Kenya, which hosts a bulk of the 11 events in the Kenya Open Golf Limited-owned and run tour, had a strong contingent of 29 players while hosts Uganda had listed 19 players. Of the remaining players, both Zimbabwe and Nigeria had two players each while Zambia had entered one.

Leading the Kenyan team which includes the top eight players in the Tour Ranking, is Muthaiga Golf Club’s Greg Snow who has so far won seven Safari Tour tournaments including four in the ongoing season, while others are Dismas Indiza, Simon Ngige, Erick Ooko, Riz Charania, David Wakhu, Kopan Timbe and John Wangai who follow each other in that order according to the current ranking.

However, more players are likely to sign in for the event before Monday’s 5pm deadline. “This is the entry list so far but there is a possibility of more players sending in their names before the entry deadline,’’ said Vincent Wang’ombe from the Kenya Open Golf Limited who besides being an international referee, has also been involved in the running of the Safari Tour series.

Of the nine tournaments played so far, Snow who leads with a total of 350 points in the Order of Merit only missed one event at Royal Nairobi which was won by Golf Park’s Tony Omulli. Snow had won the first leg at Nyali before claiming the seventh, eighth and ninth legs at Thika Greens, Muthaiga and Sigona.

He is yet to win the Uganda-based events where Indiza clinched the Lake Victoria Serena Open while Justus Madoya currently in ninth place in the ranking, won the Ntebbe Open. Madoya will needs to score well in Uganda next week as well as in the final leg at Karen from February 22 to 26.

Joining the pros at Uganda Golf Club from Wednesday, will be some of Uganda’s top amateurs who will be playing 54 holes in order to give room to the subsidiary event on Saturday where some of amateurs from the corporate sponsors will join the professionals in their final round. The pros will be playing a practicing round on Monday before conducting a clinic on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Andrew Odo who lost his top position in the regional players' ranking to Zimbabwe’s Robson Chinhoi, after missing the ninth leg at Sigona, is among those listed from Nigeria. He is currently ranked 15th overall behind Uganda’s Philip Kasozi while Chinhoi is 12th. The top eight Kenyan players after the 11th leg at Karen will qualify for the Magical Kenya Open, and will be joined by the top two regional players.

At stake next week, will be a prize fund of Sh1 million to be shared by the top 20 players and ties who will have made the second round cut.