Lead professional golfer Jean Baptiste Hakizimana leads Rwanda’s assault as he goes for a stab at the Barclays Kenya Open Golf championship which starts on Thursday at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi.
Hakizimana has spent the last two weeks training at the Karen Country club greens and even participated in the Jamil PGK tournament where he finished tenth.
“I have tried to get familiar with the greens and I am hopeful on staging a good performance in this year’s tournament. There is a good turn-out of professional players in this tournament but am focused on making the cut,” Hakizimana told Times Sport on Tuesday.
“If I can make the cut, I will try to achieve my targets of at least making it into the top ten. I just hope I can keep playing like I did last year and play well out here. The guys out here are really good so I have to play well,” he added.
The Nyarutarama-based golfer has gained vast experience after spending three months in Mena Tour last year and he hopes to use the experience gained to dislodge favourites Kenya and British hopefuls.
Last year, Emmanuel Ruterana, Rwanda’s number two, was the only country’s representative at the tournament but never made the cut.
Hakizimana missed the tournament but took part in the KCB Golf Tour Grand Finale where he finished ninth.
During the KCB Grand Finale, he hit a 16 over par 304 to finish ninth, tied with David Odhiambo from Kenya ahead of another Kenyan David Opati, who finished tenth as he prepared for Mena Tour.
Kenya Open which is part of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) tour has attracted a total of 156 players with the host entering 22.
This year’s prize money is €200,000 (Rwf183.7m) with the winner set to pocket €32,000 (Rwf.29.8m).
Spaniard Garcia Pinto will be defending the title as Kenyans Greg Snow, Timbe Kopan, David Odhiambo, Ngugi Njuguna and Brian Njoroge will be looking to have a successful outing.