Why Safari Tour is a blessing for local players

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Greg Snow displays his trophy after winning the 11th leg of the 2019/20 Safari Tour golf series at Karen Country Club on February 26, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Courtesy of the Kenya Open Golf Limited-owned and run Safari Tour golf series, Kenyans and other golfers from elsewhere in the region can now play in a European Tour tournament without having to qualify from either the European Challenge Tour, or going to the European Tour School.

And as the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) captain John Wangai said during the grand finale of the 2019/2020 edition last week, the tournament has been a blessing for local golfers.

“The Safari Tour is a blessing not just to the local professionals, but also to those from elsewhere in Africa. It has given us a great opportunity and a rare chance of holding a European Tour card should any of us play well and win the Magical Kenya Open,’’ said Wangai.

Wangai’s comments hold water, although players coming from Europe and elsewhere in the world stand a better chance of winning the tournament because of their experience, and the kind of high-level events they play in.

But that is not to say that a Kenyan or the other players from elsewhere in Africa are not able to win the Magical Kenya Open. To borrow the legendary Eliud Kipchoge’s phrase, “No Human is limited.’’

A Kenyan can claim the top prize of Sh20 million at Karen Club next week. “The door is wide open for us to make our way to the European Tour if we stay focus at Karen. I believe the Safari Tour has adequately prepared us for the event particularly with the local fans behind us,’’ Wangai, one of the eight Kenyan players who will take on opponents from the rest of the world on March 12, added.

A win for a Kenyan could easily land them into the European Tour, popularly known as the “Road to Dubai’’ series.

The Safari Tour, which was launched in 2018, started with seven events while the just-concluded 2019/2020 series featured a total of 11 tournaments and attracted players from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Malawi.

And with the 2020/2021 series likely to have more money and more events, the competition is likely to be stiffer for locals, but it comes with invaluable experience for them. Players from South African have won the Kenya Open many times since 2000

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