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Playing catch up

By Lynette Matheka
Friday, November 6th, 2020
Samuel Njoroge follows his tee shot during the third leg of the Safari Tour Series at royal Nairobi Club. Photo/PD/ALEX NJUE
In summary

Railways’ professional golfer Samuel Njoroge believes his seventy per cent score in the Safari Tour series so far will eventually be enough to win him a slot at next year’s Magical Kenya Open.

Njoroge, barely two months into playing as a professional, began the series on a disadvantage as most of his competitors had a 30 per cent head start from the 2018/19, 2019/20 seasons which will account for 10 percent and 20 percent of the final points tally respectively.

For the two seasons, Njoroge had qualified for the Open but as an amateur and did not participate in the Safari Tour series.

Additionally, being an amateur at the time, his participation would not have won him any points as the Tour awards points only to professional golfers.

“It is a bit unfair that I have had to play catch up from the beginning. It is not my fault that I just turned pro but the explanation given was that the organisers were out to reward those who had taken part in the Tour before and those who had qualified for the 2020 Open that was cancelled.

However, I did not dwell on that and I am working hard to play better in the remaining six events.

My 70 percent from this season’s series will be enough to hand me the slot to play in the Open, “ said the former GOTY champion.

The 25 year old began the series on a high, giving the big boys a run for their money in the series opening leg played at Limuru as he finished tied second on two over par 290.

This is after he carded 76,68,74 and 72 in the four rounds of the leg to bag 46.5 points.

Njoroge followed his pro debut performance with another second place finish at Royal Nairobi where he leveled the course after returning scores of 72, 71, 69 and 76 in the four rounds, picking 48 points.

He carded four over par 292 at the third leg played at the par 72 Vet Lab golf club and a similar score at Sigona to finish tied fourth and fifth respectively and pick 80.6 points from the two legs.

“I am working on bettering my game as I intend to play better in the remaining six events. Before we head to Uganda, I am working to improve my shot.

If I could win at least two legs I will be safe and I am tirelessly working towards that,” added Njoroge.

Meanwhile, tournament director, Vincent Wang’ombe, defended the points awarding criteria arguing that they are trying to align with world practices while ensuring golfers who had already qualified for the Open do not feel disenfranchised.

He added that picking percentages from the last two seasons is giving an equaitable chance to players who have been playing well.

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