Kenya Open 2019: ‘Unfancied’ Madoya, Ngige prove doubters wrong

The date is February 28th, the stage is Karen Golf and Country Club and it is the final leg of the Safari Tour – the qualification series for Kenyan players.

Present, as chief guest, is Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala; his business to unveil the Kenyan team for the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Championship.

As the list of names is handed over to him alongisde the brief about the team’s chances there is little mention of Jastus Madoya or Simon Ngige beyond just reading their names as part of the team.

Tourism & Wildlife Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala (Centre) and Sports, Culture & Heritage Chief Administrative Secretary, Noor Hassan Noor unveil the pro and elite amateur golfers who will represent Kenya at this year’s Kenya OPen. PHOTO/COURTESY

The reason is simple – they did not show any stellar performance during the qualification series and therefore there would be no good reason to focus so much on them.

Maybe there was good reason to believe in them but perhaps it is a different feeling for the corporates behind them as sponsors – Barclays Kenya (now known as Absa) for Madoya and Brinks Security, Ngige’s sponsors.

Absa, also the sponsors of the event, must have been careful in their confidence but they offered extra incentive for their six pro golfers – KSh50,000 bonus for making the cut and a further similar amount should one finish in the top 10.

Madoya, based at Great Rift Club, must have been more inspired by the incentive as evidenced by his performance that saw him finish tied 72nd after carding five over.

For Ngige, his sponsors must be proud of his exploits and they would be lining a big bash for him after this. He returned five under to finish tied at position 25.

Simon Ngige hits fourth shot off the 18th green bunker on round three of the 2019 Magical Kenya Open Golf Championship. PHOTO/COURTESY

He has etched his name in the history books, being the first Kenyan to finish the top 30 places of a European Tour event.

Ngige, 35, is likely to be pestered with calls of corporate executives who want him to sign up with their companies.

Is it a case of the stone that the builders rejected?

The most important story for him, he has earned a cool KSh1.25 million and he would be enjoying his stardom while it lasts.


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