American Raider Favourite for Kenya Mission

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Kurt Kitayama has found some form ahead of the Kenya Open but some of the European Tour's young guns look primed to challenge.

US golfer Kurt Kitayama

Kurt Kitayama has impressed in the Middle East on the European Tour of late, finishing 20th in the Dubai Desert Classic, 12th in the Saudi International and ninth in the Qatar Masters, and the American goes into this week’s Kenya Open as 16/1 favourite.

Kitayama, a 28-year-old Californian, made his European Tour breakthrough in the 2019 Mauritius Open, before following up three months later in the Oman Open.

At the end of January last year, Kitayama was 66th in the world rankings and threatening to become a member of the elite, but he has struggled since and was close to dropping outside the top 150 before this spurt of form in the Gulf.

Can he complete a European Tour hat-trick on Sunday and propel himself back into the world’s top 100? The powerhouse will have to overcome a lack of course experience if he is to do so, as he is making his debut at Karen Country Club.

Defending Champion Could Be Set for Repeat

Guido Migliozzi won the last Kenya Open – at Karen Country Club two years ago – and the Italian may have found his A-game at the perfect time to retain the trophy.

A final-round 65 in the Qatar Masters on Sunday meant a tie for second place at Education City Golf Club and Migliozzi has been slowly but surely improving this year.

Given how well he took to Karen CC on his last visit, it is reasonable to expect Migliozzi to hit the ground running this time, and plenty of punters will be sniffing around the 20/1 quotes.

He is a two-time European Tour champion, who was a prolific winner on the Alps Tour prior to making it on to the main circuit, and the 24-year-old will be fancying his chances of success in Nairobi this week.

South African Should Be Comfortable in Conditions

Garrick Higgo is one of the most promising players on the European Tour and the 21-year-old South African left-hander could further enhance his career by winning the Kenya Open.

The 33/1 available about Higgo will be of interest to many punters, as he is competing in his home continent this week and will be comfortable in the conditions, able to handle the kikuyu grass which unsettles many overseas raiders.

Higgo has won twice on the Sunshine Tour in his homeland, as well as once on the European Tour – a brave breakthrough triumph in the Open de Portugal last summer. Higgo carded a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to win in Portugal, underlining his potential and class, and another low-grade European Tour title looks well within his compass this week.

The sweet-swinger has course experience – he finished fifth in the 2019 Karen Masters on the Sunshine Tour at this venue – so should be able to hit the ground running.

Over the previous fortnight, Higgo has finished 11th in the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am and 19th in the Qatar Masters, building form nicely for his Kenya mission.

*All odds correct at time of writing.

A single-handicapper, James always offers an interesting insight to the world of golf, with extensive knowledge of both the US and European Tours. James also has a wealth of information about the domestic and international football scene.

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