The Junior Golf Foundation US Kids Local Tour teed off at the VetLab Sports Club with an impressive 162 junior golfers taking part in the first tournament of the year.

It was a day of frustration for many of the players as they struggled through the hard course occasioned by the long El Nino rains in December 2023 and January 2024.

JGF President Regina Gachora acknowledges that the juniors did struggle on the course, this being the first tournament since taking a break in December 2023.

“We gave the players a holiday and they took it. They are rusty, and this is expected at the beginning of the season. The roughs are unforgiving because of the long rains,” she explained.

20 elite squad players missed the first tournament as they are in camp for the All Africa junior championships.

“Most of them came through the US Kids golf model,  so we expect that the players will play much better. Most of them are actually playing off scratch” (they have a handicap of zero or better, meaning they play level par or better in any tournament they play).

Despite missing the elite squad, the turnout was good with most of those joining also targeting the national team.

“So the 20 have to play harder, play better, and they know that there are a lot of juniors waiting behind them trying to take their spot.

In the next two to three years, we are going to see a much much better group of players because all these juniors want to one day play for the national team and go to the Olympic Games,” said Gachora.

In some of the results from Vetlab, Ameliah Sheikh had a good start in the new season winning the girls 13-14 years with a score of 14 over par 86.

She was one stroke better than Sophia Nesbitt in second, with Yolanda Yu finishing third with a score of 21 over par 93.

In the boys 13-14 years, Yuvraj Rajput emerged the winner with an impressive score of seven over par 79. Tsorav Soni was four strokes behind in second with Justin Ngeera a further three strokes behind.

The boys 10 years category was the only one decided via a playoff. Ishaan Samani and Niam Shah were tied for plus 6, forcing the playoff. They were still tied after the first playoff, then Ishaan Patel won in the second playoff.

The players will have a two week break before resuming the US Kids local tour series with the second tournament at the Limuru Country club on the 18th of February.

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