- India’s Sharma leads heading into day three
- Kenya’s teen sensation Kibugu has made the cut for the final two days
- The winner of the DP Tour event will be crowned on Sunday
Indian pro golfer Shubhankar Sharma took the overnight Day Two lead at the Magical Kenya Open as he struck a superb total of 10 under par 132 at the Muthaiga Golf Club on Friday evening.
Sharma’s imperious rounds of 65 and 67 on both days saw him race ahead for the title with a one stroke lead ahead of Japanese Masahiro Kawamura and Scottish pro Ewen Ferguson who are both on nine under while Thriston Lawrence of South Africa is lying fourth on 7under.
The Indian had started slow off day one, but having mustered the green lawns at Muthaiga picked up his momentum on Day Two to finish top.
“I’m happy, whenever you finish with two birdies, you’re always happy. It was a good round for me today, it was quite a slow start for me starting on the back nine, not much was happening for me, but that eagle on the 18th really propelled me,” Sharma said at the end of an exciting second day in Muthaiga.
He added, “The front nine was great, missed birdie opportunities on both the par fives but came back strong on eight and nine with birdies and I’m really pleased with the score.”
Japanese Kawamura meanwhile was delighted with his output but stated he wants to step a foot higher on the third day on Saturday as he looks to secure his place in the money bracket.
“I’m happy, this was a good round and a nice finish. I missed some iron shots but my chipping and putting were good today.”
“A bogey free is great for me. It’s just Friday and I need to just keep going and hopefully I can keep playing this way at the weekend,” he said.
Kenya’s teenage sensation Njoroge Kibugu is tied for fifth on 6under with Svensson Jesper of Sweden, Angel Hidalgo of Spain, South African Dean Burmester, German Hurly Long and Jayden Schaper of South Africa.
Njoroge, 18, is the only home boy in the top 10 at the event and says he wants to ensure he does well enough to be on the same page come final day on Sunday.
“This good run won’t have been possible without the support of my father, mother and my caddy Bo Ciera who is a former Kenya amateur national team captain. So the experience from Ciera was really key and I was able to put the ball on the fairway,” said Kibugu, who has been golfing at Muthaiga since he was six years old.
“I also had a wonderful company in our game which we joked and made fun as we tackled the course,” Kibugu said.
Kibugu played in the company of South African Jayden Schaper of Eboste Golf Estate and German Max Schmitt.
His performance was a shining light on a day when most Kenyan top golfers failed to sparkled.
Usual favourite Dismas Indiza had a disappointing Day Two. Indiza was left to rue his tee-shots and putts, saying it was a bad day at the office.
“I was not spot on off the tee. I tried but many of my tee-shots went off the fairway. I struggled with the put despite an eagle on hole 10. It happens, sometimes you play well, others you lose, that’s golf.” Said Indiza who played 1 over par 72 on Friday and 5 over par 76 on Thursday.
Samuel Njoroge of Railways kissed the event goodbye with a two day total of +2 with only a solitary birdie for the day.
The regional pros from Safari Tour Paul Chidale of Malawi, Robson Chinhoi of Zimbabwe and Ronald Rugumayo of Uganda also missed the cut with a two day total of +3.
Daniel Nduva posted a disappointing+14 for two days to exit the show which is part of the DP World Tour.
DAY TWO LEADERBOARD
1 SHARMA, Shubhankar (India)-10
T2 KAWAMURA, Masahiro (Japan)-9
T2 FERGUSON, Ewen (Scotland)-9
4 LAWRENCE, Thriston (RSA) -7
T5 SVENSSON, Jesper (SWE) -6
T5 KIBUGU, Njoroge (AM-KEN) -6
T5 HIDALGO, Angel (ESP)-6
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