Juniors Soni, Mengi shine as Kericho look up to better Golf times ahead

Juniors Soni, Mengi shine as Kericho look up to better Golf times ahead
Part of the junior action during the Safaricom Junior golf clinic in Kericho

The Kericho Golf Club was started in 1927 and Munga Marisoi is the oldest member of the club having started playing there in 1950. He says, “I started playing here when it was just a small course with forests all around us, that was in 1950.”

The Safaricom Junior Golf program is living up to its billing of reaching out to support dreams and aspirations of juniors across the country.

Last weekend, The Kericho’ tournament saw 61 junior golfers from the region and its environs drawn to the tournament with 67 aspiring junior golfers showing up for the golf clinic that involved training at the facility.

In Kericho, Tsevi Soni and Aana Mengi beat a huge field of 61 junior golfers as they clinched the overall titles at the Kericho leg of the Safaricom Golf Tour junior category over the weekend.

Windsor club’s Soni, a Grade Eight pupil at Premier Academy produced an impressive 91 gross to lead his group and claim the overall best boy title in the Under-11 category.

Mengi, a Grade Three student at Montessori, emerged the best girl after posting 47 points ahead of Lynnet Zawadi in the under-8 years category.

“This is my first time to play in Kericho and my fourth time to participate in the Safaricom Golf Tour, which is a great platform for the juniors across the country. The course was quite tough compared to my home club Windsor, but I am glad I managed to play my long drives well, which enabled me to beat other young golfers and emerge the winner,” said Soni.

Meanwhile, Graffin Kiplangat clinched the lead in the 13-14 years boys’ category with a score of 123 points while Lucas Nyambogo clinched the title in the 15years and over category with a gross score of 91.

Stacy Cherono emerged top in the girls’ 15 and above category beating her closest challenger Daivy Chelangat with 144 points.

Claiming the girls’ 11-12 category title was Imani Njoki with gross 104 points ahead of Venessa Sharley who garnered 114 points while Fabian Julias on 129 clinched the boys’ category.

At the same time, 67 aspiring junior golfers from Kericho and its environs were taken through beginners sessions by trainers from the Junior Golf Foundation. Held in conjunction with the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF), the Junior Golf series targets to reach out to over 3000 young golfers by the end of the tour with three of the events on the calendar running as part of the US Kids Golf Local Tour.

Reflecting on the journey of the Kericho Golf Club, 88-year-old Munga Marisoi notes how the junior golf is a blessing towards supporting the club to achieve its desired dream of producing more pros.

The Kericho Golf Club was started in 1927 and Munga Marisoi is the oldest member of the club having started playing there in 1950. He says, “I started playing here when it was just a small course with forests all around us, that was in 1950.”

“Over time, things have changed. You know for many years and according to the cultural history, golf has been known to be a game of the elites and the old in our communities, but I must thank Safaricom for this noble step towards changing the narrative.”

Marisoi highlights that, “Here at Kericho golf club, most of us come to play for fun and to keep ourselves fit, not to become pros. But looking at our field full of young enthusiastic kids today, they are starting to learn this game at such an age. There is hope that in the coming years, Kericho will produce internationally acclaimed Stars and for that, we thank Safaricom.”

Marisoi adds that, “Most of the players here start to play when they are already mature for different reasons but none of those is to become professional. But for juniors this is the right age to help them with progressive development, I am confident soon enough Kericho will have a different narartive.”

After the Kericho leg, The Safaricom Golf Series now moves to Western Region, at Kitale Golf Club on 11th June for its 10th leg. The tour has so far drawn over 4,800 golfers who have taken part in the tournaments, junior clinics and outreach programmes.