•Both Njoroge and Mutahi are aiming to improve on their impressive performance in their home club, Muthaiga, which will host the event from February 22–25.
•Other members of the Kenyan team include Dismas Indiza, winner of last week’s Safari Tour season closing event Karen, Greg Snow (Muthaiga), Mike Kisia (Vet Lab), Mohit Mediratta (Sigona), Samuel Njoroge (Railways) and Daniel Nduva (Mombasa).
Veteran pro-CJ Wangai has tipped Kibugu siblings Mutahi and Njoroge to shine at this year’s DP World Tour’s Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship.
Wangai, who is also the Professional Golfers of Kenya (PGK) chairman, said Mutahi and his younger sibling Njoroge possess the much-needed experience as professional golfers having posted good results in the just concluded 2023/24 Safari Tour Season Six.”
Mutahi and Njoroge have previously made the MKO cut. Njoroge did so as an amateur in 2022. Mutahi also made the cut in 2023 as a pro and was the sole Kenyan to do so then.
"In both years, they were the only Kenyans to make the cut. I believe with what they have already gathered at Safari Tour in terms of experience, we can only hope for the best,” Wangai said of the fast-rising pair
Both Njoroge and Mutahi are aiming to improve on their impressive performance in their home club, Muthaiga, which will host the event from February 22–25.
Njoroge and Mutahi are among the eight professional golfers who made the eight slots allocated for Kenyan professionals at the MKO and are hoping to make local knowledge count.
Other members of the Kenyan team include Dismas Indiza, winner of last week’s Safari Tour season closing event at Karen, Greg Snow (Muthaiga), Mike Kisia (Vet Lab), Mohit Mediratta (Sigona), Samuel Njoroge (Railways) and Daniel Nduva (Mombasa).
The eight were picked from the Safari Tour Order of Merit, where the top eight locals and two best regional players made slots for the MKO.
Representing the region will be Zimbabwean Visitor Mapwanya and Uganda’s Ronald Rugumayo.
‘The Safari Tour is growing bigger and better. The participation of regional professionals from as far afield as Nigeria, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe goes to show where we are headed as a Tour."
“There will be no changes to the team of eight Kenyan local pros and two regional players as we are going by the Order of Merit,” Safari Tour and MKO tournament director, Patrick Obath noted.
The 55th edition of Kenya Open will count towards the DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour.
Returning to the MKO for the umpteenth time, Njoroge hopes to showcase his talent once again, with plenty of fond memories and an increased belief in his ability after carding rounds of 70-66-73-77 to finish the 2022 MKO week as the best amateur.
Looking back, it was a surreal experience for Njoroge who has been tipped to replicate his fairytale 2022 feat as the sole Kenyan in the last two rounds.
Mutahi, who turned professional in 2021, missed out on the 2022 event and watched his brother make his mark.
In 2021, Mutahi Kibugu had qualified as the top junior in Kenya but his caddie tested positive for Covid-19 and since they had traveled in the same taxi from Muthaiga, he was not allowed to participate. Adel Balala was called upon to fill the void he left behind by Mutahi.
This year will be Mutahi’s second appearance at the MKO as a pro golfer.
He quipped: “The essence is to win and nothing else. It’s always a great pleasure to play together with my younger sibling.”
Meanwhile, Kenyan pros will practice on their own during the two weeks leading to the MKO.
Wangai said the course at Muthaiga is open to all the 10 qualifiers of the MKO event.
“After a prolonged period of Safari Tour, the pros will use the two-week window to familiarise themselves with the course,” Wangari said.
He added: “We are expecting big roars from the home crowds at Muthaiga. Our pros are well prepared for action and it’s all systems go.”