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Kenya Open To Become First Closed Doors Sporting Event In The Country

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UPDATE Thursday September 10: The Kenya Open Golf Limited on Thursday September 10 announced the 2020 Magical Kenya Open golf championship will be pushed to 2021.

This is the second time the event, which is part of the European Tour, has been postponed.

The Open had been initially scheduled for March 12 to 15 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then pushed to November 12 to 15 at Karen Country Club.

A golfer in action during the 2019 Magical Kenya Open. Source: Twitter

The European Tour had already included the tournament in the schedule of the 2020 second half. The Open was to go on at the same time with the US Masters at Augusta USA.

Kenya’s golf fans will for the first time miss the opportunity of physically watching and following their favourite professionals during the 2020 Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.

The golf tournament has now been scheduled for November 12 to 15 at the par 72 Karen Country Club course.

Kenya Open tournament director Patrick Obath confirmed to Nation Sport that the Magical Kenya Open just like the rest of the European Tour events, will be a closed event.

“I can confirm that it will be a closed event with no public. The Magical Kenya Open being a European Tour event, is similar to the events being held in the United Kingdom and the USA,’’ said Obath on Monday July 20.

South Korean professional golfer Ho-sung (second left) shows Kenya Golf Union Chairman Lucas Maranga (left), Standard Group Chief Executive Officer Orlando Lyomu (second right) and Vincent Ragwa how to play his unorthodox golf swing in 2019 at Karen Golf & Country Club

In the current events being played in the USA and Europe, only the media, and scorers and other staff but no spectators are allowed. Obath added the organizing committee plans to have caddies available during the Kenya Open, but those will be caddies who will have been cleared by the Covid-19 protocols that have been jointly agreed by the European Tour and the Ministry of Health.

“This will be a delicate balance, but it is what is happening everywhere else,” added Obath who promised to brief the public in a series of press briefings from the first week of August.

The Magical Kenya Open had been scheduled to take place from March 12 to 15 at Karen, but had to be postponed following a government directive cancelling or postponing all social and sports activities because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the Kenya Open Golf Limited and the European Tour agreed to have the event in November as part of the 2020 European Tour’s “Race to Dubai’’ series second half which started this month with the Austrian Open on July 9 to 12 and won by Scotland’s Marc Warren on 13 under par 275.

Action during the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championships at Karen Golf and Country Club in Nairobi in March 2019. Source: Sportpesa

A total of 10 events in the European Tour had already been played before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. They included the Commercial Bank of Qatar Masters held on March 5 to 8 and which was to be followed a week later by the Magical Kenya Open.

A total of 144 players including 12 local and regional players as well as six amateurs will take part in the Magical Kenya Open which will be taking place for the second year as part of the European Tour and where at stake will be Ksh123 million (1 million Euros).

The 12 pros include nine Kenyans, one each from Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Uganda while the six amateurs namely Samuel Njoroge (Railway), Paul Muchangi(Limuru), Daniel Nduva(Nyali), Mutahi Kibugu, and Taimur Malik (Muthaiga) and Victor Joseph from Tanzania.

The regional players will be Abdrew Oche Odoh of Nigeria, Robson Chinhoi of Zimbabwe and Uganda’s Philip Kasozi. Leading the locals, will be the long hitting Dismas Indiza while others will include Simon Ngige, Greg Snow, Erick Ooko, David Wakhu, John Wangai, Riz Charania, Justus Madoya, and Kopan Timbe.

Meanwhile back at the European Tour, action continues this week with the Beltrend British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood in Newcastle UK this week after last week’s Euram Bank Open held in Austria where Frenchman Joel Stalter fired 14 under par 266 to claim the title.

The Beltrend whose first round is on Wednesday begins the six “UK Swing’’ events which will end with the UK Championship at the Belfrey from August 27 before the tour moves to other countries.

Race to Dubai champion Jon Rahm beat Shane Lowry to be named as the European Tour’s Golfer of the Year for 2019.

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