Kenya’s biggest golf event takes place in March each year, usually in the same week as the prestigious Players Championship on the PGA Tour. Founded in 1967, the tournament first featured on the Far East Circuit, before progressing to the Safari Circuit and on to the Challenge Tour between the years of 1991 and 2018. That steadily increasing profile culminated in a promotion to the European Tour proper in 2019.
The tournament has always taken place on one of the two main Nairobi courses, alternating between the Karen Country Club and Muthaiga Golf Club. The Muthaiga course places a strong emphasis on accuracy from the tee and is regarded as the trickier of the two venues.
A whole host of famous names have strutted their stuff around here over the years, with the list of previous winners including the legendary Seve Ballesteros, Masters champ Trevor Immelman, and Ian Woosnam. The name of England’s Maurice Bembridge may not be quite as recognisable as the aforementioned trio, but it was he who became the first three-time winner of the event – claiming top spot in 1967, ‘68, and ‘79.
|2022||Muthaiga Golf Club||Ashun Wu|
2022: Ashun Wu
If you only looked at the leaderboard for the 2022 Magical Kenya Open after the tournament ended you might well have thought that Ashun Wu cruised to victory. The 36 year old won finished four shots better than the three players tied for second place – Thriston Lawrence, Hurly Long and Aaron Cockerill – at Muthaiga Golf Club but his position was nowhere near as strong heading into the final round.
Scotland’s Ewen Ferguson held a commanding lead at the 54 hole stage. Rounds of 66, 67 and 66 gave Ferguson his own four-shot lead at the start of play on Sunday. The challenge of seeing that position out for a maiden win on the DP World Tour proved too much for him though. Ferguson’s closing round of 76 opened the door for his opponents and it was Wu who stepped through.
Wu is experienced enough to not take early setbacks too hard. So when he went through the first three holes at +1 for his final round he did not panic. His next seven holes yielded five birdies to put him in command and he then played par golf from holes 11 to 16 before finishing with a birdie-birdie flourish.