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Golf: Kihanya and Mbuthia win Junior Coast Open

Jelani Kihanya and Antonia Mbuthia emerged  winners of Coast Junior Open golf championship at the Nyali Golf and Country Club in Mombasa County.

Kihanya from the Limuru Golf Club was the Overall winner with a total score of 240 from  84 in the first round, 78 in the second round and an identical 78 again in the final round. Antonia Mbuthia finished second on the leaderboard, but was the girls’ winner with a score of 257 from 90 in the first round, 81 in the second round and 86 in the third round.

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Third on the leaderboard was Fidel Wasike from Kericho Golf Club with a score of 258 which earned him the 16-18 year-old boys winner’s trophy.

Muthaiga Golf Club’s Hazel Kuria finished fourth on the leaderboard with a score of 265, emerging the best girl in the 16-18 year olds category. Justine Ngeera and Tatiana Genevieve tied for fifth on the leaderboard with a score of 269.

Jelani Kihanya was consistent in all three rounds, starting off in third position in round one before taking the lead after the second round.

“Round one was a bit of a struggle because I was still getting used to the course, still warming up because it was my second time playing here. I came with no expectations in round two and round three I started shaky with a bogey then a triple bogey. I got back slowly and realised it is just a game of golf,” explained Kihanya.

“The closing stretch was much easier for me knowing that I had performed well in the previous rounds. So no much stress coming into the last nine,” he added.

For Antonia she says she settled after the second round and knew what to do in the final round.

“It started hot in the morning and I took a while to warm up. The first nine I had a few mistakes here and there, missing a few putts. I just tried to keep my cool and play safe. At the turning, still the same (a few mistakes), but it was all worth it,” she said.

A total of 40 players took part in the junior championship.

“We created this event for the coast juniors to participate and also encourage local sports tourism for parents and the juniors,” said the Junior Golf Foundation Coast representative, Mary Mariga.

They are now planning to take the juniors to Nairobi for other open tournaments in Nairobi at least to experience a different course and also to interact with other juniors and to see how the game is perfected in Nairobi and other regions.

The Junior Golf Foundation will have six tournaments at the coast region during the US Kids Local Tour starting in August. There will be two in Nyali, two in Vipingo, and two at Leisure Diamo

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