Kenya: Karanga leads local amateurs for Karen Challenge

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The hunt for points for the Kenya Amateur Golf Championship (KAGC) golf series and World Amateur Ranking points continues this weekend at the Karen Country Club, where the par 72 course hosts this year’s 54-hole Karen Challenge.

The KAGC series took a brief hiatus two weeks ago to give some of the elite amateur players the chance to represent their clubs in the 97th Tannahill Shield, won by the Muthaiga Golf Club favorites team.

A field of 81 players from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will come together in Karen on Saturday from 7am to be a match between Kenya’s junior golfers and the elite players.

Uganda will represent Ancel Tumwesigye, while Victor Joseph of Dar es Salaam will lead Gymkhana, who has been here since the Tannahill Shield to prepare for the Karen Challenge and other open KAGC tournaments.

However, the two are being challenged by Kenya’s top amateurs like Kenyan amateur match play champion John Lejirmah of Kenya Ralway Golf Club and Michael Karanga of Kiambu, who has dominated the KAGC series since it resumed three months ago.

Other leading players on the line-up include long hitter Adel Balala of Nyali Golf and Country Club, former Kenyan amateur match game master Issac Makokha of Vet Lab, Jay Sandhu of Royal Nairobi, Mutahi Kibugu of Muthaiga and a host of hot juniors by Vet Labs 17 year old Leo Zurovac, who did a double in the Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) series this week after winning both the Kenya Junior Stroke Play Championship and the Limuru Junior Open.

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At Karen, Zurovac will be dating Njoroge Kibugu and Taimur Malik of Muthaiga, Vet Labs Steve Orinda, Windsors Lee Kimathi and Royal Nairobis Wambugu Ikinu, who have all played well at both senior and junior events recently.

The tee for the opening round on Saturday is scheduled for 7 a.m., followed by the second round in the afternoon, while the event ends with the third round on Sunday morning.

However, the action at Karen begins with the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya event on Friday, which attracted over 200 players.

In the last 10 years the following winners of the Karen Challenge have emerged: 2010 – David Opati, 2011 – Robinson Owiti, 2012 – Nadeem Alibhai, 2013 – Francis Kimani, 2014 – Tony Omuli, 2015 – Anthony Kinuthia (Karen Staff), 2016 – John Karichu, 2017 – Paul Muchangi, 2018 – Samuel Njoroge, 2019 – Isaiah Otuke.

Last year’s event was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Away at the Sigona Golf Club, over 200 players were drawn for the Crown Paints tournament, in which there are a number of prizes to be won in the various categories.

At Ruiru Sports Club, the par 72 course will host the Tai Sacco golf tournament, and some of the women’s golfers will be at the Kenya Railway Golf Club for the Ladies Stableford tournament.

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