2023 Magical Kenya Open Preview, Picks & Analysis
ASHUN WU of China returns to Nairobi to defend his Magical Kenya Open title. He won 12 months ago after a closing 65 gave him a four-shot win.
Scotland's Ewen Ferguson entered the final day with a four-shot lead of his own but finished with a 76 and a tie for eighth, It was Wu’s fourth DP World Tour title.
He bogeyed the second but birdied the fourth and another at the seventh started a run of four birdies in a row.
That gave him a two-shot advantage and with nearest challengers Aaron Cockerill, Thriston Lawrence and Hurly Long completing their rounds at 12 under, Wu knew exactly what he needed to do over the closing holes, with birdies on the 17th and 18th merely putting gloss on his victory as he finished at 16 under.
"It's a very, very good feeling to win this championship. It was very tough today, I played very, very well today and made seven birdies," Wu said.
Wu did not start playing golf until he was 17 and learned the game from his brother, a single-digit handicapper.
He was the first Chinese player to win DP World Tour event on home soil when he captured the 2015 Volvo China Open. Since his maiden triumph, he has collected wins at the 2016 Lyoness Open and the 2018 KLM Open, which made him the first Chinese player to win three times on the DP World Tour.
He loves basketball and was a good player in high school, but stopped playing because he believed he was not tall enough.
He will be back to defend his title after a decent start to the season.
(Marcus Armitage in The Field - Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)
Oliver Bekker is a man who may feel that he has a point to prove this season. Last year he was in the field for the inaugural LIV Golf event in England, finishing sixth and picking up £666,000, the biggest prize of his career. But he was then cast aside and has rejoined the DP World Tour as a full playing member.
Although he is still looking for his maiden DP World Tour title, Bekker did win the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour earlier this month with rounds of 67, 68, 64 and 68. He finished 13th at the Joburg Open, fourth at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and seventh at the Mauritius Open at the end of 2022. So this is a man in form.
Bekker is a seven-time winner on the South African Sunshine Tour, including three victories in 2017 where he finished fourth on the Order of Merit. He earned promotion to the DP World Tour for 2022 after finishing seventh on the season-long Road to Mallorca Rankings, recording two runner-up and two third place finishes on the Challenge Tour in 2021.
The inaugural event was won in 2019 by Guido Migliozzi, in 2021 by Justin Harding and last year by Shun Wu. There was no event in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Muthaiga Golf Club, located outside Nairobi, is a par 72 measuring 7,228 yards. It is tree-lined, calling for straight hitting, and features several water hazards and plenty of bunkers. Expect to hear Sky Golf commentator Tony Johnstone salivating about the wildlife.
Oliver Bekker. Underrated
Thriston Lawrence. A proven winner
Five to Follow:
Oliver Bekker. Possesses a great touch on the greens
Thriston Lawrence. Has few weaknesses
Antoine Rozner. Enjoyed a great season
Justin Harding. Consistent performer
Joost Luiten. Finally showing good form again
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