Hole-in-one a sign of better prospects in KCB Karen Masters, says Wangai

In Summary

• Wangai racked up the first two Road to Masters tournaments at Nyali and Thika legs.

• How I wish this had happened on hole 5 tomorrow.

CJ Wangai during a recent championship
CJ Wangai during a recent championship

As the four-day KCB Karen Masters gets underway today, Kenya’s CJ Wangai thinks better things are in the offing for his spirited Sunshine Tour campaign.

The Sigona resident professional, who skipped the recent Sun City Sunshine Tour round due to pressing commitments, also believes he is getting stronger with every tournament, thanks to his fifth career hole-in-one that he sunk at the Par-3 11th hole yesterday.

Wangai’s hole-in-one antics was no doubt the highlight of the Pro-Am, traditionally used as a warm-up to action proper.

Following his stellar shot, Wangai said he will attempt a repeat performance this week on the par 3 fifth which is incidentally the designated hole for the Sh6.5 million Toyota Rav4 prize, courtesy of Toyota Kenya.

“How I wish this had happened on hole 5 tomorrow,” he said, adding: “The hole-in-one is definitely a sign of better things to come this week. I have won two tournaments in the KCB Road To Masters and topped the Order of Merit qualification. The hole-in-one couldn’t have come at a better time when we all have our eyes firmly set on the Sunshine Tour tomorrow (today).”

Wangai racked up the first two Road to Masters tournaments at Nyali and Thika legs. He achieved yesterday’s feat upon hitting the target from 141 yards with a 52 gap wedge.

“I was honestly not going for a hole-in-one. I was just playing my game and when I hit the ball with my wedge into the hole I was over the moon,” said Wangai, who has had four more hole-in-ones in his career.

This year’s event will feature a large field of 156 golfers, 100 of whom will be from the Sunshine Tour. Kenya has 30 professionals and four single-handicapped amateurs with the rest of the pros drawn from Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Last year’s hole in one star Ryan Cairns of Zimbabwe is back as is defending champion Michael Palmer and runner up Merrick Bremner.

The top 60 golfers, depending on the cut, will proceed to the last two rounds after tomorrow’s round.

Last year, Kenya had three pros Dismas Indiza, Mohit Medirrta and Rizwan Charani making the cut. In the inaugural edition in 2017, Greg Snow finished fourth overall.