Two British players tied at the top of the leader board at the close of the opening round 2018 Barclays Kenya Open at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf club course on Thursday.
Ross Kellett of Scotland was the first on the leaderboard with an impressive six under par 65 despite the course playing long. He was later joined by 23 year-old Englishman Max Orrin also 65 at the close of a stiff competition which saw over 72 players firing level par and better, meaning today’s cut could easily be on under par scores.
Kellett, 30, got off with a birdie at the par four-first, birdied the third hole before picking up an eagle at the fourth. He dropped one shot at the sixth, but an eagle at the 10th and birdies on the 11th and 18th holes was good enough for Kellett who remained at the top on his own until Orrin also finished on 65 after rolling in a total of seven birdies with only one bogey.
“Everything I was doing seemed to be working,” he said. “I got off to a really good start. I made birdies at the second and third and then I chipped in on the fourth – so before I knew it I was four under. I picked up a couple more around the turn. I eagled the tenth after holing one from about 20 feet and then I chipped in again at 11 – so them I’m six under,” said Kellet before adding; “I was really straight off of the tee today, I holed a few chips – which you don’t do very often – and I also holed some really nice putts. The greens this week are in great shape and although they are slightly slow they are rolling well.
“It has been a long off-season. I didn’t do much before Christmas but since the first of January I have been away preparing for this year. I managed to win last week in Egypt where I played some really lovely golf against a very strong field. Coming here I felt very strong and it is really nice to have carried that feeling on from last week.” added Kellet who is from Glasgow.
Behind the two leaders were Michael Hoey of North Ireland, Sweden’s Simon Forssttom and South Africa’s jaco Ahlers on five under par 66, while nine others were on four under par 67.
It was not a bright start for the Kenyans where only Mohit Mediratta and Stefan Andersen were on under par scores. Mediratta who at one time was firing with three under par with seven holes to go eventually finished on two under 69 and Andersen who is chasing his first cut since 2012, shot one under par 70.
Windsor pro Riz Charania, one of the three players who made cut in the 2017 event, finished on level par 71. This was a shot better than Alfred Nandwa, Erick ooko, Greg Snow, Simon Ngige, and Brian Njoroge. One of Kenya’s hopes Dismas Indiza had it rough as he dropped shots also from the word go to eventually finish on five over par 76. Top amateur Daniel Nduva was also on 76 at the close of the day.