Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Ahead of the 50th edition of the Barclays Kenya Open, we look at the key figures that have made the east African event one of the European Challenge Tour’s most famous and cherished institutions.

1967 – the date of the first edition of the Barclays Kenya Open. The event, first won by England’s Guy Wolstenholme, has since been held every year barring 1973 and 2003 in the country’s capital, Nairobi.

26 – the number of years that the Kenya Open has been a Challenge Tour tournament. After first joining the tour in 1991, the Challenge Tour has hosted 26 editions of the tournament, except for in 1994 (when the event was played on a different tour) and 2003 (when the event was cancelled). 

17 – the number of English winners of the tournament, the most by any country. A total of 13 nationalities have tasted success in Kenya, with South Africa and Scotland both on five titles, Ireland on four titles, the Netherlands, Wales, Spain and Argentina on three, while Sweden is on two and Northern Ireland, Switzerland, Zimbabwe and Italy all boast one title apiece.

3 – the most wins by any one player in Kenya Open history. England’s Maurice Bembridge triumphed in 1968, 1969 and 1979. The only other player to have won in Kenya more than once is the Netherlands’ Jan Dorrestein, who lifted the title in 1970 and 1973

Maurice Bembridge

3 – the number of players who have won the Kenya Open before going on to win a Major. They are Seve Ballesteros (who won the Kenya Open in 1978 before going on to win five Major titles), Ian Woosnam (who won in Kenya five years before his 1991 Masters Tournament victory) and Trevor Immelman (who triumphed in Kenya eight years before winning at Augusta in 2008).

2 – the number of players who have won in Kenya and have then gone on to captain Europe in The Ryder Cup – Ballesteros (a winning captain in 1997) and Woosnam (a winning captain in 2006).

10Ballesteros and Woosnam are also two of ten players who have won in Kenya before going on to play in The Ryder Cup. Ballesteros made eight appearances in the biennial match, Woosnam also represented Europe eight times, while Brian Barnes and Ken Brown – both winners of the Kenya Open in the early 1980s, have six and five Ryder Cup appearances to their names respectively. Kenya champions Bembridge, José María Cañizares and Eammon Darcy all have four appearances to their names, while Irish golf legend Christy O’Connor Jnr has teed it up for Europe twice. Edoardo Molinari and Brian Waites made their solitary Ryder Cup appearances in 2010 and 1983 respectively.

Seve Ballesteros

41 – this year will be the 41st time that Muthaiga Golf Club has held the Kenya Open.

9 – the number of times that neighbouring Karen Golf Club has hosted the Kenya Open.

64 – the course record at Karen Golf Club, shot by France’s Joël Stalter in 2016.

61 – the course record at Muthaiga Golf Club, achieved by home favourite Jacob Okello in the 2008 PGK Masters.

2nd – the best result by a Kenyan player in their home open. In 1998 Okello narrowly lost out in a three-hole play-off to eventual champion Ricardo Gonzalez, who made a par at the 13th hole at Muthaiga Golf Club, while Okello made bogey.

Jacob Okello

21Okello will also make history this year when he tees it up for the 21st in the Kenya Open – the most appearances by any player.

33 – the record number of Kenyan players competing in a single edition of their home open since it became a Challenge Tour event, a feat that was achieved in 2013.

24 – the difference between the highest and lowest winning scores in Kenya Open history. When Bembridge triumphed in 1968 a five over par score was good enough for victory, while in 2002 Lee James was an outstanding 19 under par when he won his second Challenge Tour title.

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