The first leg of the 2019/20 Safari Tour Golf series set to tee off this Saturday at the Nyali Golf and Country Club in Mombasa, has attracted an impressive field of over 40 professionals from around the region.
Among the notable names set to battle it out for a share of the the KES. 1 Million total Prize kitty, include defending series champion, Greg Snow, Golf Park's David Wakhu who won in Nyali last year, hard hitting Dismas Indiza and Windsor Golf Club's Riz Charania. Mohit Mediratta, who missed most of the Safari Tour action last season, makes a return to the tournament this. Weekend.
The field also includes entries from Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Among the regional players whose entries have been received by the tournament organizers, Kenya Open Golf Limited, include Tanzania's Nuru Mollel, Rajabu Pembe and Abdalla Yusuf; Uganda's Philip Kasozi, Mwanja Becca, Dennis Anguyo, Bagalana Abbey and Toolit Brian; and double Sunshine Tour champion from Zimbabwe, Charamba Tongoona.
The event also features entries from elite amateurs, notably Zayan Din from Nyali.
The four-day tournament will tee off with a Pro-Am event which will see the Professional golfers play with amateurs on Saturday, the 24th of August at the same venue, before the main competition which will be played from Sunday 25th to Wednesday 28th August. A golf clinic will be held tomorrow at the same venue featuring a section of professional players taking amateur and junior golfers through a golf basics course.
Speaking ahead of the Nyali leg, Safari Tour Golf Series Tournament Director, Patrick Obath
"We are delighted with the level on entries that we have received for this event as it confirms its importance to both our local anc regional pros as they work towards getting a slot in next year's Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship. We are particulalry glad to see entries from Zimbabwe as well as as increased number of players from both Uganda and Tanzania. As we move along, we hope to attract more regional professionals as the tour continues," he said.
"On behalf of KOGL, I would like to welcome our visiting pros and wish them an enjoyable stay in Kenya for the duration of the event and also wish them well on the course. I wish all golfers the best as they take on the Nyali course and look forward to seeing great results."
The Nyali leg will be the first in a series of 12 tournaments that will constitute the 2019/20 Safari Tour, that will see golfers play in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, culminating with the 2020 Magical Kenya Open set to be hosted at the Karen Country Club from the 12th 15th of March 2020.
After Nyali, the series will move to the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Club from the 10th to the 14th of September for the Uganda Open, then to the Royal Golf Club Nairobi from the 12th 16th of October.
Action will move back to Uganda, this time at the Entebbe Golf Club from the 30th of October to the 2nd of November. The series will then head to Rwanda, at the Kigali Golf Club from the 6th to the 9th of November, after which it will make stops at the Great Rift Valley and Muthaiga Golf Clubs before breaking for Christmas on the 18th of December.
Commenting on the 2019/2020 schedule, Patrick Obath, the Safari Tour Tournament Director, said that going into East African was part of the request from His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.
"When we mooted the idea of a Professional golf tour in Kenya, we were asked by President Uhuru Kenyatta to include our junior golfers of either gender, our elite amateur golfers and to ensure that we invite and include our brothers and sisters from the East African region. We have been in discussions with the golf leadership in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania and we are delighted to announce that the Safari Tour will now be played in those nations," he said.
In Uganda, the well-established Uganda Open, with a US$50,000 prize fund, will now be part of the Safari Tour as will the Entebbe Open and Kitante Open tournaments.
"The Uganda Open and the Rwanda Open will now be part of the Safari Tour and what this simply means is that Pros participating in those events will earn points on the Safari Tour ranking enabling them to qualify for the Magical Kenya Open in a fair and transparent manner. We are still in discussions with Tanzania on dates and venues for a leg of the Safari Tour there," Obath added.
The Nyali Golf and Country Club will once more host the first event of the Safari Tour season from the 24th to 28th of August 2019.
"Registration for membership of the Tour and for entry into the first event at Nyali is open on www.safaritour.golf and we invite all golf professionals across East Africa and across Africa to register and join us. We are also inviting the top junior and elite amateurs of either gender to register and join us, this Tour is keen to promote not only the Professional golfers but also our juniors and top amateurs who aspire to play Professional golf soon," Obath said.
From Nyali, the series will move to Uganda, for the Uganda Open at the Lake Victoria Serena Golf Club, on the 10th -14th of September. The Royal Nairobi Golf Club will host the third leg of the Tour on the 12th 16th of October, before heading back to Uganda for the fourth leg at the Entebbe Golf Club on the 30th October to 2nd of November.
There series will make its way across East Africa making stops at the Kigali Golf Club, Great Rift Valley Golf Club, Muthaiga Golf Club, Thika Greens, Sigona Golf Club, Uganda Golf Club and the Karen Country Club.
All legs of the Safari Tour will have a minimum total prize fund of US$10,000.