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Magical Kenya Open: Trio tied at the top


Tappio Pulkanen,Connor Syme and Darius Van Driel tied top of the leaderboard as the Kenya Open Golf Championship entred the penultimate round at Muthaiga Golf Club,Nairobi.

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Dutchman Van Driel came into day two leading and followed up his opening 66 with a 69 to set the target at seven under.

He was joined at the summit by Pulkkanen after a birdie-birdie finish saw the Finn sign for a 68 and Scot Syme carded a 68 of his own, eagling the last to make it a three-way tie.

Spaniard Manuel Elvira, Scot Ewen Ferguson, Englishman Sam Hutsby and Italian Lorenzo Scalise were at six under, with 21 players within three shots of the lead.

Van Driel was out in the first group of the day from the tenth and dropped a shot on the 12th before birdieing the 17th and 18th and adding another gain on the fourth.

“It was a bit more difficult, more wind and it was a bit colder – but still a good score,” he said.

“I was (patient). I missed a couple of short putts for birdie though, but you know there are some chances out there and some tough holes as well. Overall, if you shoot a score under par, that’s good.

“I’ll stick to what I’m doing now and hopefully hole a few more putts.”

Pulkkanen was another to throw in an early bogey on the third but he hit back with birdies on the fourth and fifth to turn in 35.

A birdie on the 14th was given back on the 16th but a 12-footer on the 17th had him within touching distance before he took advantage of the par-five last.

“It was really important, especially from the first bogey I made on three, to get the round going and make two birdies after that,” he said.

“I played a lot of irons off the tee, same as yesterday. I think the course played similar to the first day: same wind direction, firm greens. I played well.”

Syme made a 12-footer on the first and played a beautiful bunker shot for an up-and down on the par-five fourth but gave the shots back on the second and fifth.

Another birdie from 15 feet followed on the seventh before he broke a run of ten pars by putting his second at the last to five feet to set up his big finish.

“Pretty pleased,” he said. “Actually didn’t putt as well as I did yesterday but I felt like I played a little bit better today. It was nice to get a bonus eagle at the last to cap off a solid round of golf.

“I drove it pretty well and gave myself chances to get it close to some of the pins. I scrambled well when I needed to, there were a couple on the back nine where I kept momentum going to give me an opportunity to do that one on the last.”

Hutsby had shared the lead after five birdies but bogeyed the seventh in a 67, a score matched by Ferguson, while Elvira signed for a 66 and Scalise cared a 68.

English pair Joe Dean and Tom Lewis, South African duo Louis de Jager and Deon Germishuys, Scotsman Craig Howie, France’s Frederic Lacroix, Swede Jesper Svensson and Spaniard Lucas Vacarisas were two off the lead.






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