Lynette Matheka @PeopleSports11
On-form home golfer Chris Kiai beat a record field of 272 golfers at the par-72 Ruiru Sports Club course to win the first leg of the KCB Road To The Masters series at the weekend.
The handicap 16 golfer was among six players who chalked up automatic tickets to play in the KCB Karen Masters Pro-am slated for July at the Karen Country Club.
Others who secured Karen Masters Pro-am slots after the start of the all-new series were men’s nearest to the pin winner Ben Njuguna, who becomes the first beneficiary of the wildcard slot, guest winner playing off scratch handicap George Felix, staff winner Benard Kotonya, lady winner Veronica Mwaura who is also the lady captain and men’s winner Michael Chege.
Kiai racked up an impressive 40 points made up of 19 in the first nine and 21 at the back nine to vanquish men’s winner Michael Chege on count back.
“I’m overly excited to have won the first qualifier of KCB Karen Masters and I wish to thank my four ball for the good company and play.
When we teed off for this event I didn’t image I would beat such big field and it only came as a pleasant surprise when results were posted,’’ Kiai said after receiving his prize from KCB Group head of corporate and regulatory affairs Judith Sidi Odhiambo.
Clinching the men’s title was handicap 21 Chege who shot 19 in the first nine and 21 in the back nine for a total of 40 stableford points. First nine winner with a score of 22 points was handicap eight Frank Munyua. Second nine winner Linus Wachira was on a score of 20 points.
Nearest to the pin lady winner was Susan Kanyora who incidentally was the ladies runner up. Lady winner was Veronica Mwaura, who while playing off hands 31, shot 19 in the first nine and 18 at the back nine for a total of 37 points. Lady runners up Kanyora paying off handicap 14, carded (17,18) 35 points while nearest to the pin men’s honours went to Ben Njuguna.
Longest drive men’s winner was Francis Nzwili. The second round of the Road To The Masters series will be played at Limuru Country Club on May 26 followed by the third event at Eldoret Club on June 16, Mombasa on June 30 and the last qualifier at Muthaiga Golf Club on July 7.