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Tuesday, 12 March 2019
Haydn Porteous  (Getty Images)
Haydn Porteous (Getty Images)

Haydn Porteous is back at the same venue that provided his maiden professional victory as the European Tour stages the first edition of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.

The South African won the 2015 Kenya Open at Karen Country Club on the European Challenge Tour.

And the 24-year-old returns to the course this week when he will be looking to gain his third victory on the European Tour.

"Obviously, coming back to the place where I had my first win as a professional, I've always got sweet memories here," Porteous said.

"I feel as if I'm back home in Africa. Same altitude, same grass, hopefully the same result. It's good to be back."

"I feel as I grew as a player, as a golfer, and it gave me the confidence to move on to the European Tour." - Haydn Porteous

Porteous kickstarted his professional career with victory in Nairobi four years ago, since when he has moved on to the European Tour and won the 2016 Joburg Open and the following year's D+D REAL Czech Masters.

He believes those last two successes may not have happened had he not secured his maiden victory in his home continent.

"It was important for me to not only win as a professional but to win against some of Europe's best," he said.

"I feel as I grew as a player, as a golfer, and it gave me the confidence to move on to the European Tour. I'd probably give (the win in Kenya) a lot of the credit for why I'm a multiple winner on the European Tour."

This week's tournament marks the European Tour's first event in Kenya, adding to the three tournaments in South Africa, the Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita and the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco that are already staged in Africa.

Porteous added: "I think there's lots of space for Africa to grow as a golfing continent. I don't think it's quite got there yet.

"It's definitely growing within the continent. I think it's quite exciting for Africa, getting a European Tour event in Kenya is important for golf. Hopefully we can carry on and some other countries within Africa can be a part of it."

Porteous finished in the top ten the last time the European Tour was in Africa - at December's South African Open - but he has struggled since then and missed the cut at last week's Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. 

He said: "I don't think I played that badly in Doha. The conditions were tough.

"I managed to hit 16 greens on each round of golf, just didn't manage to hit close enough to make birdies.

"I finished a couple over with only three birdies on the card for two rounds of golf so it wasn't all that bad. If I had managed to hit it just slightly closer, things might have changed."

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