Friday, 23 March 2018
Kristian K Johannessen (pic by Simon Jensen) ()
Kristian K Johannessen (pic by Simon Jensen) ()

Kristian Krogh Johannessen set the pace on the second day of action at the Barclays Kenya Open at the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Norwegian had a scintillating start on his front nine after shooting eagle-par-birdie-birdie for the opening four holes to take control at the top of the leaderboard.

Teeing off in near-darkness the 23 year old put the pressure on the overnight leaders Max Orrin and Ross Kellett by lighting up the course to take the lead.

Johannessen went out in 30 and managed to maintain his cool on the way in, even when the conditions started to deteriorate, to finish eight under.

“It was definitely a round of two halves,” he said. “I teed off really early this morning so I was playing my first couple of shots in the dark, but that seemed to work well as I managed to eagle my first hole.”

“I could barely see the ball – maybe I should play more in the dark!

“I kept that momentum going throughout my first nine but I did find it a lot tougher over the next nine. There was a break of about 20 minutes between each nine holes where I did lose a bit of rhythm.

“The conditions got tougher as the day went on. During our first nine it was very still but as towards the end of the round it did pick up which definitely proved to be a factor.”

The Barclays Kenya Open is the first European Challenge Tour event of the 2018 season, but also the most lucrative event of the year. After winning on the Nordic Golf League three weeks ago, Johannessen is looking to maintain his positive start to 2018 by winning big in Kenya.

“This is a huge week, with it being the biggest event on the Challenge Tour, so it is really important to play well,” he said. “If you win here you take a huge step towards the European Tour, so I am really pleased with how well I have played.

“Although I could see my name at the top of the leaderboard I didn’t let it affect me. I just tried to focus on each shot and not let it get to my head.

“It is great to get going again after a long off-season and I am excited for the weekend.”

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