Challenge Tour resumes in Kenya

The Tusker Kenyan Open begins tomorrow with a few familair names appearing

Wed, 8 Mar 2000
Challenge Tour resumes in Kenya

The European Challenge Tour resumes this week when it makes its annual safari to Africa for the Tusker Kenya Open.

The Kenya Open is the oldest tournament on the European Challenge Tour schedule. It dates back to 1967 when the late Guy Wolstenholme won the title while it roll of honour contains other illustrious names such as Seve Ballesteros, Brian Barnes and Ian Woosnam.

Five previous champions will be in action when the Championship gets underway at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, its regular home, tomorrow. Scotland's Garry Harvey lifted the trophy in 1985, Ulsterman David Jones, now a regular on the European Seniors Tour, won in 1989, another Scot, Craig Maltman, was victorious in 1993, James Lee from Wales in 1995, while a third Scot, Mike Miller, finished in the top four years ago.

Last year, Dutchman Maarten Lafeber came out on top with a closing round of 64 for a 19-under-par aggregate of 265. That left him three strokes clear of Sweden's Erik Andersson and five ahead of Sammy Daniels from South Africa, who finished with a blistering 61, which sliced three strokes off the course record. Daniels is not in the 156-strong field this time but South Africa is well represented by the likes of Justin Hobday and Trevor Immelman.

They face stern opposition at Muthaiga, not least from the likes of José Manuel Lara of Spain and fellow Swedes Klas Eriksson and Henrik Stenson, three others to miss their cards narrowly in 1999. Then there are former European Tour regulars Steven Bottomley, Carl Watts and Stuart Cage, all of whom have lost their cards.

Also chasing a slice of the £70,000 prize money - up £5,000 from last year - are three members of the 1999 triumphant Walker Cup team, who turned professional after their thrilling 15-9 victory over the United States at Nairn. Yorkshire's Simon Dyson and Scots Lorne Kelly and Graham Rankin will be looking to get their new careers off to a solid start.