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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Magical Kenya Open (2024)

It’s time for one of my favorite events of not only the DP World Tour, but the entire golfing world in the Magical Kenya Open.

Following a week off, the DP World Tour turns its attention to the Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi, Kenya for the first of three stops in Africa to complete the International Swing.

This event has been in existence since 1967. It was a mainstay of the Challenge Tour beginning in 1991.

The Magical Kenya Open has now been a part of the DP World Tour since 2019 as this year marks the fifth playing, as the 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.

The first two installments of this event were played at the Karen Golf Course, also in Nairobi, before moving to its new home at the Muthaiga Golf Club in 2022. This will be the third consecutive year the event is to be played at Muthaiga.

The Field

Although following an off week, many of the DP World Tour’s top names will be opting to sit this one out after a long stay in the Middle East.

That doesn’t mean the field this week doesn’t include some of the big guns of the DP World Tour however.

Rikuya Hoshino comes into this week as the betting favorite, following his impressive victory at the Qatar Masters just two weeks ago.

He’ll be joined by the likes of Ewen Ferguson, Thriston Lawrence, Alex Fitzpatrick, Romain Langasque and Frederic Lacroix.

Jorge Campillo is the defending champion of this event but will not be teeing it up this week. He defeated Masahiro Kawamura by two strokes a season ago.

Ashun Wu won this event in 2022, during the first playing at Muthaiga Golf Club. Wu won by a staggering four strokes over the likes of Aaron Cockerill, Lawrence and Hurly Long, all of which are in this week’s field as well.

Justin Harding and Guido Migliozzi won this event in 2019 and 2021 respectively, although at the Karen Golf Course, but too will be in this week’s field. 

The Course

Muthaiga Golf Club sits to the north of Nairobi along the edge of the Karura Forest.

Throughout the playing, golfers will get the chance to be greeted by many of the surrounding wildlife that has, over the years, offered many iconic pictures.

It is a parkland style course that offers a different challenge than golfers on the DP World Tour are used to.

It plays at around 7,228 yards and is a par 71.

The front-nine, in comparison to the back-nine, plays much longer and is designed to test golfers right out of the gate. 

The front-nine is also laid out across undulating terrain as the back nine is routed around several man-made lakes.

There are four par fives on the course, so the opportunity to score low here is there. Since its move to the DP World Tour, the winning scores have been -16, -12, -16 and -18.

Like the Karen Country Club, the previous host of the event, altitude will be a big factor this week and must be taken into consideration. 

The course is tree lined and requires an accurate shot off the tee. The course too has water in play on multiple holes and features a large amount of bunkers.

Muthaiga Golf Club underwent a renovation in 2004-05 headed by Peter Matkovich where the greens were changed to the familiar bentgrass.

This is the year that the par three 13th, the signature hole of the course, was placed over water.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, there is a 35-percent chance of precipitation on Friday as the other three days appear to be clear. Each of the four days will be cloudy with temperatures ranging from 79-degree to 83-degrees. Winds also will seem to be a factor this week as Sunday currently calls for the lowest wind speeds at ten miles-per-hour. Winds will be at the highest on Thursday at 16 miles-per-hour and are set at 15 miles-per-hour for Friday and 14 miles-per-hour on Saturday.

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Driving Accuracy

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Scrambling

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

Betting Card

Rikuya Hoshino (+1200)

Fresh off hitting Hoshino at +4000 two weeks back at the Qatar Masters, I’m back on him this week. The Qatar Masters and the Doha Golf Club actually correlate nicely to this week’s event. Hoshino is currently third on Tour in SG: APP, ninth in both SG: TTG and scrambling, 17th in greens in regulation percentage, 21st in SG: PUTT and 27th in driving accuracy. Outside of his victory in his last outing, he also placed second at both the Australian Open and Australian PGA Championship and T12th at the Bahrain Championship on the season. He’s primed to be one of the best golfers the DP World Tour has to offer this season and what better way to cement that status than to go back-to-back? I’m playing two units on him this week!

Frederic LaCroix (+2200)

If you’ve followed my DP World Tour journey over the last year, you know I fall in love with golfers and ride them until the wheels fall off. We’ve seen it with the likes of Adrian Meronk, Yannik Paul, etc. but with both of those guys off the Tour, my new guy may just be LaCroix. It’s all for good reason though. He did miss the cut in his last outing at the Qatar Masters but prior to that placed T4th at the Bahrain Championship, third at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, T5th at the South African Open and T17th at the Joburg Open. He is also first on the entire Tour in SG: TTG, 11th in SG: APP, 14th in driving accuracy, 17th in GIR% and 25th in scrambling. His reg flag comes with the flat stick as he currently ranks 101st in SG: PUTT. Poor putting isn’t a death sentence this week so I can hope he can get them rolling on the greens in his favor. I’m playing a unit on him.

Shubhankar Sharma (+5500)

Sharma hasn’t won on the DP World Tour since 2018 at the Maybank Championship and isn’t in some crazy form coming into this week. What he does do is line up well statically to this course. He is currently eighth on Tour in GIR%, 16th in SG: APP, 29th in driving accuracy, 38th in SG: PUTT, 70th in SG: TTG and 96th in scrambling. He’s average or above average in five-of-six statistical categories I took into consideration this week. He too missed the cut in his last outing at the Qatar Masters but did make the cut in his four other appearances on the season, highlighted by a T16th at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic in a field littered with both DP World Tour and PGA Tour stars. I’m playing a unit on him as well.

Alexander Levy (+7500)

We haven’t seen Levy on the DP World Tour since December at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open where he placed T29th as he has spent the last month competing on the Challenge Tour. What I like about that is as most of the field has been grinding it out in the desert, Levy has been playing competitive golf in Africa - although South Africa. He also placed T8th at the Australian Open on the season and T32nd at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. Levy is also 12th on Tour in SG: APP, 20th in scrambling, 26th in driving accuracy, 28th in GIR%, 51st in SG: TTG and 69th in SG: PUTT. In other words, he’s average or above average in each of the six statistical categories I took into consideration this week. I’m playing a unit on him.

Thomas Aiken (+11000)

Did someone say strong iron play and accuracy off the tee? That’s Aiken’s game. He is currently first on Tour in driving accuracy, fourth in SG: APP, 11th in SG: TTG, 12th in scrambling, 16th in GIR% and 75th in SG: PUTT. Aiken is currently top 16 in five of the statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Like Levy, Aiken has spent the last month playing in Africa on the Challenge Tour. In his last appearance on the DP World Tour he placed T7th at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. He also placed T17th at the Joburg Open earlier this season. I’m playing a unit on him.

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