Safari Tour rolls onto Thika Greens
This weekend, one of Kenya’s top championship golf courses, the Thika Greens Golf Resort will host the fourth leg of the Safari Tour which is owned and managed by the Kenya Open Golf Limited and that was established to prepare locally based golf Pros for the Kenya Open Golf Championship. The Safari Tour was launched at the Nyali Golf and Country Club in August 2018 before moving to the Vet Lab Sports Club in September and the Limuru Country Club in October.In November, the Tour was scheduled to be played at Thika Greens, but this event was postponed to give way to the $50,000 Malawi Open in Lilongwe where Kenya’s Dismas Indiza finished second, banking Sh0.5m.The Kenyan entourage to Lilongwe had nine Pros including Greg Snow, Tony Omuli, Erick Ooko, David Wakhu and Simon Ngige, Sujan Shah, Anil Shah and Ganeev Giddie. According to Wakhu, who was the Safari Tour winner at Nyali, the Tour has given Kenyan professionals a good platform to grow. “Our good performance as Kenyans in Malawi and also at the Uganda Open has been improved by the Safari Tour and we are very grateful that this Tour was finally started,” he said.“Kenyan professionals and our top amateurs will continue to grow and improve as this Tour progresses; we are grateful to its organisers.”This week, the Tour was scheduled to be at the Karen Country Club, however, due to heavy green keeping work at Karen in preparation for the Kenya Open, the Tour was rescheduled to Thika Greens who graciously accepted to host the event.“Thika Greens is a tough course, it is nearly 7,000m long and the greens can be fast,” Wakhu added. “Playing there over the next four days will be tough, hopefully the weather will be cool. But it is exactly these kind of conditions that we require to be able to compete effectively at the Kenya Open and other European Tour and Sunshine Tour events.”
The Thika Greens Golf Resort, about an hours drive north of Nairobi, was first established in 2008 and the golf course was designed by the DDV Group from South Africa. Commissioned in 2013,it has developed a reputation as a stern test of golf that calls for length off the tee box, a mastery of mid to long irons and steels of nerve on the fast greens. In June, 2018, Thika Greens hosted the Kenya Amateur Match Play, a Kenya Golf Union marquee event, a testament to the quality of course at Thika Greens. Nyali’s Daniel Nduva, Kenya’s best amateur player was victorious at that event.Greg Snow leads the Safari Tour ranking, going to Thika Greens with a total of 55.5 points, Dismas Indiza is second with 54.5 points and David Wakhu is third with 46 points. Wakhu was victorious at Nyali, Snow defeated Indiza in an exiting playoff at Vet Lab and the amateur golfer Michael Karanga beat them all at the Limuru Country Club. Justus Madoya is fourth on the rankings with 38.5 points, CJ Wangai is fifth with 36 points and Riz Charania is sixth with 35.5 points. A total of 32 golf professionals are on the Safari Tour ranking system.Action at Thika Greens kicks off today with a golf clinic that will include students from neighbouring primary schools. Tomorrow, the ProAm competition will be staged alongside the Lady Captain’s Prize and the main competition will tee off from Sunday December 16 through to December 19, 2018 when a winner will be declared.The total prize kitty for the Safari Tour event remains at Sh1m.