Big names assemble at Karen for Kenya Open

Big names assemble at Karen for Kenya Open

Big names assemble at Karen for Kenya Open

Karen Country Club will once again play host to the great and good of the European Challenge Tour as the next generation of golfing superstars prepare to tee it up in the longest-running event on the circuit, the Barclays Kenya Open.

One of the names on many people’s lips ahead of this campaign would be England’s Max Orrin, thanks in part to his victory in the penultimate event of last season at the National Bank of Oman Golf Classic.

The former amateur star will headline a field chocked full of talent, including Belgium’s Pierre Relecom, Englishman William Harrold and Thomas Linard of France. They will be joined by Ricardo Gouveia, who not only won the first tournament of his professional career at last October’s EMC Golf Challenge Open, but has gone on to collect two victories already this season in his native Portugal.

Those results will give him great confidence for his first full campaign on the second tier, and he will look to cash in on the promise he has already shown by claiming a place among the top 15 who will graduate from the season-long Rankings come November.

Cyril Bouniol and Lasse Jensen both came close to earning their place among the elite last season, before putting their narrow miss to one side and earn European Tour cards through the Qualifying School Final Stage soon after. The latter has also shown an affinity for the African nation, finishing runner-up in Kenya last year and in 2012.

Spain’s Borja Virto Astudillo also gained a place on The European Tour this season at PGA Catalunya Resort last November, and he will tee it up on the Challenge Tour this week looking to build some momentum.

Inaugural Graduate of the Year Justin Walters will be in Nairobi looking to regain the form that earned him a 64th place finish on The Race to Dubai in 2013. The South African will hope to kick-start his campaign in the style of compatriot Jake Roos 12 months ago, when he edged a tight encounter in Kenya’s capital.

Lukas and Tobias Nemecz will also tee it up at Karen Country Club hoping to emulate another pair of golfing brothers – the Molinaris – after Edoardo took the title in Kenya back in 2007.

The tournament is always well supported by the local community, and that is sure to continue this year with more than 20 local players in the field. Last year Greg Snow was the highest placed Kenyan, finishing tied tenth after briefly being in contention on the final day.

-courtesy of the European Challenge

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