With two Kenyans finishing inside the top 40 and a further four – including two amateurs – making the cut, last week’s Barclays Kenya Open once again shone a positive light on the host nation’s burgeoning golf talent.
Greg Snow and Nicholas Rokoine used their intimate knowledge of Muthaiga Golf and Country Club in Nairobi, Kenya, to good effect by finishing in a tie for 40th place, whilst the amateur duo of Collins Omondi (68th) and Boniface Simwa (tied 50th) can be rightly proud of their achievements in reaching the weekend.
Of the sextet who made the cut, it is perhaps Snow who shows the greatest potential having entered the weekend in a tie for fifth place courtesy of opening rounds of 69 and 68, outscoring his illustrious playing partners Daniel Vancsik and Marc Warren by four shots.
To the disappointment of the throng of local spectators who had lined the fairways at the weekend, a cold putter put paid to his hopes of the top ten finish he needed to ensure entry to the next event on the Challenge Tour Schedule, the Allianz Challenge de France.
But the talented 20 year old, who will attempt to secure his European Tour card through this year’s Qualifying School, was nonetheless pleased with his performance over the four days.
He said: “I struggled a bit over the weekend, mainly because my putter went cold, but overall there are a lot of positives to take from the week. I learned a lot about my course management last week, especially having played with two top class players in the first two rounds. I didn’t feel intimidated by playing with them, instead I used it as motivation. The only way to keep improving is by playing with guys like that, so hopefully I can get a few invites to play on the Challenge Tour in Europe.
“I don’t need to change much about my game, although my putting maybe needs a little bit of work. But the mental side is where I feel I can improve to take my game to the next level. I’ve always said that your head is the 15th club in your bag – you have to be mentally strong, especially at an event like the Kenya Open. But hopefully the more big events I play, the stronger I will become mentally.”
Rokoine, who if anything drew an even larger crowd at the weekend than the one following Snow, was equally keen to grasp further playing opportunities across Europe in a bid to improve his game.
He said: “It was my first time making the cut, so I’m pleased with my performance. But to keep improving I need to play in Europe more often, so hopefully I can get some invites on the Challenge Tour. We need more sponsors in Kenya, because there aren’t enough events, but hopefully the way the Kenyans played last week has brought more focus and attention on golf in this country.”