The Junior Golf Foundation (JGF) of Kenya has announced a provisional national squad of 22 junior golfers who will commence training next week in preparation for upcoming international competitions.

The team, comprising 12 boys and 10 girls, was selected based on their performances throughout the year, with the order of merit playing a critical role in the selection process.

Vincent Mukiri, a trustee of the JGF highlighted the significance of the order of merit in identifying the top players, stating, “From the provisional squad, we will have a team that can represent Kenya in the various junior competitions and some of these juniors can compete at select seniors’ competition. We already know who we can consider instead of just trying to get ready when the competition is about to begin.”

The final tournament of the NCBA US Kids Local Tour, held at the Muthaiga Golf Club, showcased the improving calibre of Kenya’s junior golfers.

Four players managed to score level par or better, demonstrating their growing prowess in the sport.

Notably, Kanana Muthomi emerged victorious in the girls' 11-12 years category, scoring an impressive three under par 69.

Kanana Muthomi with Cadie Robert Muthomi. PHOTO/COURTESY

Despite a challenging first nine holes, where she recorded one birdie and three bogeys, Kanana excelled in the back nine with three birdies and an eagle, achieving a remarkable five under par for that segment.

Reflecting on her performance, she remarked, “My putts weren’t sinking in the first nine and I made a lot of mistakes. But in the second nine, my course management and putting improved and I played some good golf.”

In other categories, Aryan Patel won the boys' six and under category with a score of -1.

Maahir Patel (boys 13-14 years), Ivan Ng’eno (boys 8 years), and Ashley Gachora (girls 9-10 years) all played level par.

Ashley, in particular, experienced a mix of emotions during her game, stating, “It was a game of crying and happiness. I had a bad double bogey at hole number 15 and I got very very angry, I think my mind was not in the game in that hole. But everything just turned around in the last hole where I got an eagle.”

The NCBA Group, driven by the success of the tournament, aims to broaden access to golf among children who may not have had the opportunity to engage with the sport.

Ashley Gachora and Aria Dodhia. PHOTO/COURTESY

NCBA Group Managing Director John Gachora emphasised their commitment to community development.

"When we started this journey, it was about the belief that we must give back to the community which we are in, and one of our ways of giving is to develop these junior golfers for the future development of golf for Kenyans. We have seen about 3000 kids playing across the country and now calling themselves golfers," Gachora stated.

Furthermore, ICEA Lion, a partner of the Junior Golf Foundation, expressed admiration for the maturity displayed by junior golfers, signaling a promising trajectory for the sport.

Diana Nyakio, representing ICEA Lion, highlighted the success stories of junior golfers securing scholarships, underscoring the global recognition garnered by Kenyan talent in the sport.

Girls 9-10 Years winners. PHOTO/NCBA

“The juniors are playing very mature golf. Last year we incorporated the amateur golfers with the junior golfers at our grand finale in Nyali and one of the winners was a junior golfer. This is where the future is and with two juniors getting scholarships, this takes our brand to a global level," Nyakio stated.

The recent tournament at Muthaiga Golf Club saw participation from 186 enthusiastic young golfers, reflecting the growing popularity and accessibility of the sport among Kenya's youth.

As the nation gears up to compete on the international stage, the selection camp promises to be a pivotal stepping stone in nurturing and refining the skills of Kenya's budding golfing talents.