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Ngige leads the home brigade with an impressive 3 under par 68 to finish 13th

Singh, Jager rule day one

In Summary

•Englishman Jack Singh Brar picked up five shots in his last four holes to share the lead with Louis de Jager of South Africa after round one of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa.

Korea's Hu Sung Choi in action during the first round of action at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa
Korea's Hu Sung Choi in action during the first round of action at the 2019 Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa
Image: COURTESY

 Englishman Jack Singh Brar picked up five shots in his last four holes to share the lead with Louis de Jager of South Africa after round one of the Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa. The duo went to bed with an impressive round of 7 under par 64.

An eagle on the Par 5 sixth and back to back birdies in the 7th, 8th and 9th and 11th and 12th is all that Brar needed to taste the summit of the Kenya Open. Jager also made an eagle on the par 4 ninths and ended his day with seven birdies.

“The going was really good today. The eagle in the sixth hole really boosted my spirits and I’m glad the birdies were forthcoming thereafter,” said Brar who is playing in just his 15th European Tour event at Karen Country Club.

He carded his lowest round to date with a 64 to get to seven under, before De Jager birdied the last to join him at the summit. Englishman Brar is enjoying good form after turning professional in 2017 after taking three points from four in a losing Walker Cup effort and graduated from the European Challenge Tour last season with the help of a win at the Cordon Golf Open.

Starting on the tenth, Singh Brar birdied the 11th and 12th but then made 11 straight pars and was still three shots off the lead after 15 holes. An eagle on the par five-sixths ignited his round and when he made birdies on the seventh and eighth, he was one shot behind De Jager. Hoey—a five-time European Tour winner— bogeyed the seventh but made a hat-trick of gains from the ninth and then rattled off three more from the 16th in a big finish.

Italians Filippo Bergamaschi and Guido Migliozzi, South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, New Zealander Josh Geary, Scot Liam Johnston, Frenchman Romain Langasque and Chilean Hugo Leon were at four under.

India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar settled for third and was at six under after a bogey-free round, a shot clear of Spaniard Adri Arnaus and Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey. Meanwhile, Simon Ngige played his heart out on Day One, attributing his opening good score to focus and great birdie opportunities.

The Thika Sports Club professional led the home brigade with an impressive 3 under par 68 to finish 13th. He made six birdies on both nines to intensify his dogged campaign in search of the cut which will be decided in today’s round. Second among Kenyans and T14 was Dismas Indiza who savoured a round of 2 under par 68.

Ngige was all smiles: “I started off badly with two bogies on the first two holes. It was quite windy in the first hole. But after the shaky start, we decided with my caddie that we’ll hit the fairways and greens with precision, and make the putts which worked really well.

Tomorrow (today) I will tee off at 8.40am which will hand me quite an advantage as the greens will not be as hard in the morning as they were in the afternoon session. The strategy will be to keep in the fairway and have a great a short game.” Apart from Indiza and Ngige, locals struggled on Day One which technically placed them outside cut position.

DAY ONE LEADERBOARD 1. SINGH BRAR Jack (ENGLAND)-7 (64) 2. DE JAGER, Louis (SOUTH AFRICA) -7 (64) 3. BHULLAR, Gaganjeet (INDIA) -6 (65) T4 ARNAUS, Adri (SPAIN) -5 (66) T4 HOEY, Michael (N IRELAND) -5