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Talking points from a historic and inspiring week at the Magical Kenya Open

Talking points from a historic and inspiring week at the Magical Kenya Open

History was made on the DP World Tour, a new first-time winner was crowned and a part-time supermarket delivery driver was counting his rewards. Here is everything you need to know from the Magical Kenya Open.

Ugandan Rugumayo makes DP World Tour history

Ronald Rugumayo. Little known to most before last week, he will now forever have his place in golf's history books.

With a birdie putt on the ninth green - his final hole in the second round - the 31-year-old became the first ever golfer from Uganda to make the cut on the DP World Tour.

As Zimbabwe's Tony Johnstone, a six-time winner on Tour, put it on commentary, this really was 'just brilliant'.

It was a priceless moment that transcended the sport and is hoped can serve as a source of inspiration to youngsters from across Africa to pick up the game.

“There are no words that I can use to express how I feel,” said Rugumayo, who went on to card rounds of 71 and 73 over the weekend.

“I’m so grateful for Kenyans, my fellow Ugandans who flew all the way (to watch me). Honestly, it’s not about me as a player, it’s not about Uganda, it’s about East Africa. Everything I’m doing, I’m doing for East Africa."

Van Driel's dream comes true in Kenya

It is not often that our first talking point is not focused on the event winner. The fact it is this week does not in any way diminish the significance of Darius van Driel's maiden DP World Tour title.

On a nip-and-tuck afternoon at Muthaiga Golf Club, the Dutchman made an eagle at the tenth to emerge from a four-way tie for the lead, before he bounced back from a bogey at the par-three 11th to card birdies at the the 12th and finally the 18th to seal a two-shot victory.

The 34-year-old's golfing journey has been a remarkable one, with him giving up the game for a number of years after breaking his hand in a banana boat accident, but he decided to turn professional after finishing second at the 2015 Alps Tour Q-School.

He has since finished runner-up twice on the DP World Tour and while he lost his card last season, he regained it at the Qualifying School and is now a winner in his 112th appearance, ending a six-year long wait for a Dutch winner on the DP World Tour.

"As a kid you dream on the putting green…’this is for a win on the Challenge Tour’ or ‘this is for a win on the DP World Tour’," said an emotional Van Driel.

"Now it’s finally there, it’s what you always dream of. I was calm, but once the last put went in I felt the emotions. I never thought it would hit that hard but it did."

Morrisons delivery driver hails 'life-changing' week

Do stay with us if you're new to the back story of Joe Dean.

Like Van Driel, the 29-year-old Englishman is a graduate of the Qualifying School but he was only making his second appearance of the DP World Tour campaign compared with his Dutch counterpart having already competed in five prior events.

Why, might many ask? Well, he did not have the finances to support the travel, accommodation and other costs that come with playing around the world.

Only last week, he was working as a delivery driver for UK supermarket chain Morrisons, having taken up the job after losing his love for the game following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But after finishing in a tie for second, following a closing 67 on Sunday, he was left to reflect on a "life-changing" performance and a cheque for just under 200,000 euros.

"I’ve never been one of the most over-confident people," added Dean, who has climbed from 2930th to 671st on the Official World Golf Ranking. "Coming into this week was a bit daunting. Second event, you don’t really feel like you belong and feel like you’re trying to prove something."

Elvira brothers' delight in their success

Success is best when it's shared, right? That was certainly the sentiment among the Elvira brothers.

Having graduated from the European Challenge Tour at the end of last season, Manuel was in the hunt to join older brother Nacho as a winner on the DP World Tour before settling for a share of fourth place after a closing 70.

Nacho, meanwhile, who won the Cazoo Open supported by Gareth Bale at Celtic Manor in 2021, finished one shot better off as a final-round 70 earned him a tie for second alongside Dean.

While it wasn't to be on this occasion, there is every reason to believe Manuel has both the temperament and talent to win and make it a fifth pair of brothers to win on the DP World Tour, joining Antonio and German Garrido, Seve and Manuel Ballesteros, Edoardo and Francesco Molinari and Rasmus and Nicolai Højgaard.

Speaking after the final round, Manuel said of Nacho: "He's played a massive role. He's been helping me ever since he started pretty much, he's been my role model, my guide."

Nacho, himself, added: "We haven’t been able to play together for a very long time because we are ten years apart. Now we are playing together and it seems our names are close together every week. Hopefully we can copy and paste this for future tournaments and maybe finish one and two in a different one."

G4D Tour stars make visit to a Cerebral Palsy Unit at local school

It really was a truly inspiring week both on and off the course in Kenya.

In conjunction with the G4D Tour's first ever visit to the continent of Africa, Kipp Popert and Chris Biggins took time out to visit a Cerebral Palsy Unit at Parklands Primary School in Nairobi.

More than 100 children attend the centre which is served by specialist teachers, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

As part of the first touch session, both golfers, who were born with the disability, demonstrated the wide-reaching benefits of playing golf, including how it can be a therapeutic and rehabilitative tool.

Popert, who won his ninth G4D Tour title at Muthaiga Golf Club, said: “For everyone in that room you could see how you can adapt golf to suit everyone’s needs."

The World Number One added: “To see how excited they were over such small things. It is quite inspiring when you see how happy they are.”

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