Rwanda’s number one professional golfer Jean Baptiste Hakizimana has set his sights on the forthcoming prestigious Barclays Kenya Open set to be held on March 17- 19 at Karen country Golf Club, Nairobi.
The annual tournament, which was first staged in 1967, has been an event on the European Challenge Tour schedule since 1991. This year’s edition is expected to attract a total of 156 golfers from across the world.
According to the tournament organizers, 100 of those will be professionals from the European Challenge Tour while Kenya Open Golf Limited will invite the remaining 56 golfers with Rwanda having been given two slots.
Jean Baptiste Hakizimana and Emmanuel Ruterana will carry Rwanda’s flag.
Speaking to Times Sport ahead of the biggest golf event in the region, Hakizimana, who will be making his fourth consecutive appearance, said he and his colleague (Ruterana) have been training intensively for the past two weeks at Kigali golf club in Nyarutama.
“My target is to qualify for the European tour which can only be achieved when you win this Open (Kenya), yes I know it is tough but I hope to put on a good fight,” said Hakizimana.
Last year, Hakizimana shot 72 on the first day and 73 on day two before missing a cut by four shots.
The 29-year-old Hakizimana added, “I have devoted much of my training on improving my short game because last year I missed cut mainly because of a poor short game, and am sure by the time the open starts, I will be at a good level.”
Meanwhile, this year, the tournament will feature two foreign amateurs for the first time and these will be Ronald Otile from Uganda and Romain Langasque from France.
South African, Haydn Porteous is the defending champion.