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Simon Ngige lines up for glory

By Lynette Matheka
Thursday, March 5th, 2020
Thika Golf Club’s Simon Ngige follows his shot in the final round of the 2020 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship qualifier. Photo/PD/DAVID NDOLO

After finishing as the best placed Kenyan at T25 with a five under par 279 as Kenya hosted her first ever European Tour golf event, Simon Ngige is looking to do better when the annual golf bonanza, Magical Kenya Open tees off next week.

 The four-day event teeing off at Karen Country Club on March 12-15 will see hard hitting Dismas Indiza and Thika Golf Club’s Ngige lead a Kenyan contingent of eight professionals in the search for the ever elusive title.

 Ngige finished second to Indiza, in the tournament’s qualifying Safari Tour. Local professional golfers battled it out in 11 events that culminated on February 26 at Karen with Greg Snow winning the Karen event.

Ngige missed two of the 11 events, Entebbe Open played on October30 to November 2 which was won by Jastas Madoya and Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort Open played on November 6 to 9 won by Indiza.

 “Safari Tour was a good place for us to prepare and the increase in number of tournaments we played was also good.

We culminated the Tour at Karen Country Club where we got a chance to have a feel of the course and I am confident of bettering last year’s performance.

I am going in with the top prize in mind but a top 10 finish will be welcome,” said the 35 year old.

 Despite the home players having an advantage of playing the course before-hand, they have come short in the quest for the coveted trophy.

Jacob Okello’s second place finish in 1998, at Muthaiga when the tournament was still a Challenge Tour event, is the closest a Kenyan has ever come to winning the event.

 “The course is changed when the tournament is nearing thus spending time at the course before the changes are effected may not really help or be enough to beat the best.

We had a feel of the course last week and I plan to play another round early next week as part of my final preparations.

Currently, I am working on a few things that were not going very well last week after which I believe I will be ready to go,” added Ngige.

 Ngige had planned to play several tournaments outside the continent in preparation for this year’s x However, lack of funding grounded him within the continent.

 “The course last year was dry but this time it is different. The greens are also softer and that calls for a change in the way we putt at the greens and hitting off the tees.

The wind is blowing just like last year and with the current Nairobi weather patterns, rains could present a much difficult competition,” said the father of two.