Gavins takes overnight lead as Kenyans struggle at Magical Kenya Open

Gavins takes overnight lead as Kenyans struggle at Magical Kenya Open
Daniel Gavins

Beginning on the back nine, Gavins took advantage of the par-five 10th and responded to back-to-back bogeys from the 13th by making six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn.

Daniel Gavins took the early lead as the Magical Kenya Open teed off at Muthaiga on Thursday 3 March 2022.

The Englishman, winner of the ISPS Handa World Invitational last July, mixed nine birdies with two bogeys on his way to a seven-under 64 at Muthaiga Golf Club.

Beginning on the back nine, Gavins took advantage of the par-five 10th and responded to back-to-back bogeys from the 13th by making six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn.

Gavins then picked up the seventh and holed a 70-footer at the ninth to set a clubhouse target that could not be matched, with Shubhankar Sharma and Johannes Veerman a shot off the pace in tied-second.

"It was pretty rusty to start with, I hadn't played for a couple of weeks but I just started holing a few putts," Gavins said. "My second shot at the ninth (his last) hit the flag and it knocked it 60 or 70 feet back down the green.

"Obviously I holed the 70-footer which was a bit surprising, but it was nice to finish with a birdie. My swing has been a bit off at the start of the year and I've been struggling a little bit with finding the feeling, but today I felt a few things that were nice and it was positive really."

Johanees Veerman also got to seven under until a penultimate-hole bogey dropped him back alongside Sharma, who made a bogey-free start, while Lee Slattery sits two strokes back in a share of fourth with Scotland's Ewen Ferguson.

Kenyan players had a tough outing on day one with only amateur golfer Njoroge Kibugu- posting an under par round.

 Kibugu, playing at Kenya Open for the first time, exhibited courage and confidence to return a one under par 70 score headlined by three birdies on number three, four and 18. Greg Snow carded level par, one shot better than another amateur Adel Balala.

The home players have a mountain to climb tomorrow as they will have to fight to make the cut.