Most of the top seeds made it to the last eight of the ongoing Kenya Amateur Match Play Championship at Royal Nairobi Golf Club the only surprise result being the early elimination of defending champion John Lejirma.
Despite sitting out of the game for more than six months, Adel Balala is still on course to clinch his maiden match play title after putting in an impressive performance in the knockout stages. The Nyali golfer had to dig deep to defeat Joseph Gathumbi in a sudden death shoot out on the 19th hole in a hotly contested round of 32 match. He went on to defeat James Kamenchu 3/2 to set up a quarter final date with Fidelis Kimanzi of Kenya Railway. It will be a tough test for Kimanzi who has enjoyed a smooth ride so far after stopping Peter Macharia 6/5 in the round of 32 before registering another convincing 7/6 victory over Kitale Club’s Philip Shiharsy.
Former Kenya Amateur Stroke Play champion Jay Sandhu remained well on course for a double after beating compatriot Willy Mastamet 4/3 before dispatching Michael Kihara with an identical score line to set up a quarter final date with last year’s runner-up Vetlab’s Ebill Omollo. The Vetlab player earned his ticket after stopping home player Kevin Juma 5/3 before securing a 2/1 victory Uganda’s Ibrahim Bagalana.
Another tournament favourite Muthaiga’s Njoroge Kibugu had a relatively easy ride today winning 8/7 in his opening match against Amos Odongo before beating compatriot B Chandaria 4/3. Njoroge will play E Brian who defeated Taimur Malik in the round of 16.
Limuru’s Dennis Maara maintained his good form with victories over Carl Wambasi and Paul Muchangi and will play Ugandan Joseph Cwinyaai tomorrow. The Ugandan, a regular contender in Kenya Amateur Golf Championship, had a good day registering convincing victories over Joo Lee and countryman Michael Alunga.
The four-day five-round knockout tournament attracted a total of 84 players with a handicap index of 10.8 and better. The winner will earn a ticket to the Magical Kenya 2023.