The annual Kenya Open Golf tournament received a big boost when title sponsors Barclays Bank of Kenya extended its sponsorship for the tournament to run until 2015.

The tournament, regarded as Africa’s Premier event, will run between March 29 and April 1 at the par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club and the two-year extension will see the total sponsorship kitty by the bank shoot up from Sh44 million to Sh80 million, with additional opportunities in the sponsorship of golf clinics and other activities at hand.

Barclays Bank Managing Director of East and West Africa, Adan Mohamed

Barclays Bank Managing Director of East and West Africa, Adan Mohamed said they decided to extend the sponsorship that was initially supposed to run up to 2013, so that the bank can make a meaningful contribution to the development of golf in Kenya.

“Barclays has over the years demonstrated its commitment towards sports and we appreciate this opportunity to sponsor this premier golfing event in Kenya as an opportunity to further illustrate this commitment,” said Mohamed.

He added: “We will retain some of the activities that characterise the Barclays Kenya Open, including the longest drive competition; which features players from leading clubs Pro Am and the premier family event.”

Kenya Open Golf Limited (KOGL) chairman Peter Kanyago said the prize of the tournament will remain Sh22.2 million (200, 000 Euros) and that the event will bring together a total of 150 players.

Tournament director Patrick Obath said local professionals only had 26 slots that they will have to fight for competitively as the remaining slots would go to PGA players and invited players within Africa.

“PGA will be bringing in 100 players, the remaining 50 will be from invitations from South Africa and other African countries, while with local pros fighting for the available 26 slots. This is exclusive of the local amateurs,” said Obath who is a former Kenya Golf Union (KGU) chairman.

He added: “We want to improve the quality of the competition to reciprocate on the increase of sponsorship. The tournament is going to attract high level entries for sure and the course condition is currently very good,” said Obath.

Meanwhile, long hitting Mumias pro Dismas Indiza took an early lead in as the 2012 KCB Pro AM golf tour teed off at the Thika Sports Club on Thursday. Carding a four under par 68, Indiza took a two shot lead over his closest competitor Thika home professional Simon Ngigi.

Teeing off from the 10th tee, Indiza birdied the par five 10th and 15th holes but lost the advantage with two bogeys on the par three 16th hole and par four 17th hole to card a 36 total on his first nine.

The second nine played better for him starting off with an eagle on hole number one and birdies on the second, third and eighth holes. This impressive round was however dented on the par three fourth hole round with a bogey.

By JAMES WAINDI, The Standard

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