David Ndolo and Matthew Ndungu @peoplesport11
Former president and Kenya Golf Union (KGU) Patron Mwai Kibaki and former Central Bank of Kenya Governor Duncan Ndegwa are among 12 individuals inducted into the Kenya Open Golf Limited Hall of Fame for their significant contribution to the tournament and golf in the country.
The Hall of Famers who were honoured during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Kenya Open Golf Championship were awarded for their individual and collective efforts through the years that have led to the growth and development of the tournament.
The 12 include former KOGL chairmen –Ngugi Kiuna, Sam Kamau and Richard Kemoli, current chairman Peter Kanyago and long serving KOGL finance director Joe Wangai. Others feted included the former Kenya Open tournament directors – Inder Talwar and Peter Coombes, veteran Kenyan Amateur Golfer and the Kenya Open’s Most Successful Amateur Player – David Farrar, Former East African Breweries Ltd chairman Jeremiah Kiereini and veteran journalist, Larry Ngala.
The Hall of Fame Award is the highest honour in golf and is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves over a period of time in their service to the sport. The Kenya Open Golf Championship is this year marking its 50th anniversary since inception in 1967 (and having not been held in 1976 and 2003). Over the years the tournament has hosted some of the biggest names in golf.
These include Severiano Ballesteros who won in 1978, 1986 winner Ian Woosnam and Vijay Singh who played in the 1989 edition. All went on to hold the title of World number 1 at different times in their careers. Locally, the tournament has provided a great hunting ground for the amateurs while providing a perfect opportunity for professionals to hone their skills.
Throughout the history of the tournament, a Kenyan has lifted the Silver Salver 26 times, with veteran golfer, David Farrar, winning the title seven times between 1968 and 1990. Kenya’s best chance of winning the overall title of the tournament came in 1998 when Jacob Okello lost to Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez in a sudden-death playoff.
Earlier in the day, Thika’s Ndiga Kithae emerged the overall winner of the Kenya Open @50 golf tournament with a score of 39 points, beating Muthaiga’s Kairu Bachia on countback. Former KGU chairman Parshu Hirani was third on 38 points, beating former KLGU Chairlady Jane Waweru on countback. KTB’s Jonathan Mbiyu was Men Third with 38 points whilst former KGU chairman Anthony Muhoro was Men Fourth with 36 points.
Lady Captain Grace Ngamau handicap 25 emerged as the overall winner of the final leg of the Barclays Bank of Kenya golf series held in Thika on Saturday with a score of 41 points registering 20 points on the first 9 and 21 on the last 9 to clinch the regional title and a Pro-am slot at the Barclays Kenya Open 2018 to be held in Nairobi next month at the Muthaiga Golf Club.