In the absence of any strong Kenyan opposition in the recent past, the South Africans have been the thorny in the flesh of Europeans in 50 year old Barclays Kenya Open Golf championship.
Before the South Africans, and a few players from Argentina in South America, Europeans particularly from Great Britain had dominated the event which was formerly part of the Africa Safari Circuit before it became a European Challenge Tour sanction event. It was the South Americans who first halted the European dominance through Ricaldo Gonzalez in 1998 who won through a sudden death play-off against Kenya’s very own Jacob Okello.
Two years later, South Africa’s Trevor Immelmann claimed the Millennium event in 2000. Immelman went on to claim the prestigious US Masters at Augusta in 2008 after tying for 15th in the British Open Championship in 2005. Immelman, born on December 16, 1979 in Cape Town, also finished in 21st in the 2006 US Open. He has been featuring in the US PGA Tour, the European and his home country’s Sunshine Tour.
Daniel Vancsik then followed the footsteps of Gonzalez by claiming the Kenya Open title in 2005. The South Africans therefore claimed four titles in addition to Immelman’s triumph. These were Ashley Roestoff in 2001, Michiel Bothma in 2011, Jake Roos in 2014 and Haydn Porteous in 2015.
A number of South Africans have been featuring prominently in the Challenge Tour lately as well as in the European Tour, and with the prize money having been increased in this year’s Barclays Kenya Open. The South Africans are likely to provide a serious challenge the Europeans.
The 2018 Barclays Kenya Open will be held on March 22nd to March 25th 2018 at Muthaiga Golf Club.