The Golf Park’s Erick Ooko and Kenya Railway Golf Club’s Samuel Njoroge were two under par on the first day of the Road to Magical Kenya Open golf championship at Limuru Country Club’s par-72 course on Sunday.
Ooko, one of the top pros in the country, threw an early shot on the par 4 second hole and par 3 fifth hole whose pin position denied many players birdie opportunities, but managed to nine after birdies over the third Balancing par 5 and short par four ninth.
He then played a stable, bogey-free back nine that included two birdies on the 14th and 18th.
“I was destined for a clear five under or better for the two shots I took on the front nine. The pin positions, especially the 5th and 12th, were definitely illegal pin positions and it’s really discouraging when you play well and then drop a few shots because of such bad pin positions,” said Ooko.
Njoroge, on the other hand, dropped a shot at fourth place but birdied through first, ninth and 13th to take an early lead before being joined by Ooko at the top at the end of the day.
The two leaders were just a shot better than Uganda Open champion Justus Madoya and Windsor’s Riz Charania.
Madoya, who said he has been shooting under par since returning from Entebbe Uganda, bogeyed two holes on the front nine against a similar number of birdies over the sixth and ninth and two more birdies on the 14th and 18th with a bogey on the 15th .Denying him a clean back nine.
“My approach shots have been my strongest in my game just like during the Uganda Open and although I dropped some shorts it’s still possible to shoot 12 or so under par which will give me a big boost when I find myself preparing for the Magical Kenya Open. said Madoya of the Great Rift Golf Resort in Naivasha.
A total of 73 players had appeared at Limuru, although 10 players were eliminated in the first round, five of them had shot more than 85, while two others, David Odhiambo and Boniface Koskei, were disqualified for playing wrong balls while three others were withdrawn for various reasons.
But close behind the leaders were Greg Snow and Edwin Mudanyi, who landed on level par 72s, while four others, led by South African resident Daniel Nduva, were on a par 73+.
The second round starts on Monday at 7.30 a.m.
Samuel Njoroge 70
Eric Oko 70
Justus Madoya 71
Riz Charania 71
Gregory Snow 72
Robinson Owiti 73
Mutahi Kibugu 73
John Kariuki (A) 73.