Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Magical Kenya Open Tips 2021

Get Paul's previews as soon as they're published @golfbetting Follow Now

 

Chris Paisley hung on for a slice of the each-way action for us last week with a tie for 7th at 66/1, which could have been a little more save for a late 3-putt from the Englishman. Antoine Rozner grabbed his second win in relatively quick succession with a monumental putt on the final hole to reward his backers, well done if you were on him at around the 22/1 mark.

We head from Qatar to Kenya for another same course double-header, with Karen Country Club also hosting next week’s Kenya Savannah Classic which starts NEXT TUESDAY, so if you’re intending to bet on that event then make sure you’re prepared for the unusual start. This week is normal though with a Thursday start so no immediate panic required.

With the Qatar Masters in the rear-view mirror, it’s well worth checking out our latest best golf additional each-way places analysis to make sure you have all the golf additional each-way angles covered. It has to be said that Boylesports are dominating in 2021 and this week again offer 7 places each-way at 1/5 odds at the Magical Kenya Open as part of their ‘Road to Augusta’ promotion.

boylesports Magical Kenya Open – Featured Bookmaker:

Boylesports are leading the way for this week’s Magical Kenya Open, and across European Tour in general, offering a huge 7 places each-way at 1/5 odds. They are now a must for golf punters who want maximum each-way return opportunities. If you haven’t already got a Boylesports account then new customers, both sides of the Irish Sea, can access their specific new customer offer using the links below:

✅ Bet £10 Get £10 for new mobile customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Boylesports sign up offer page
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to 8 places each-way in 2021
✅ Offered 10 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship, US Open & Masters

Boylesports UK New Customer Offer: 18+. Mobile exclusive. Min stake £10. Min odds Evs. First bet only. 30 days to qualify. Free bets expire in 7 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. UK customers (Excluding NI) only. One Free Bet offer per customer, household and IP Address only. T&Cs apply. #Ad

✅ Bet €10 get €40 in bonuses for new Irish customers using this qualifying link
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to 8 places each-way in 2021
✅ Offered 10 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship, US Open & Masters

New Customer Offer. €/£40 in free bets credited as €/£30 in sports bets & a €/£10 casino bonus. Min stake €/€10. Min odds Evens. First bet only. Free bets expire in 7 days. 14 days to accept €/£ 10 Casino Bonus. Casino bonus requires 5x wagering requirement & max win cap €/£50. Once accepted it is active for 3 days. Cashed out bets won’t apply. Payment method restrictions. Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland customers only. 30 days to qualify for €/£40 in Free Bets. 18+ T&Cs apply. #Ad

A full field of 156 greets us this week with a number of those players with partial or no European Tour playing rights making up the numbers. A few late withdrawals including Adri Arnaus and Antoine Rozner has left Kurt Kitayama as the 18/1 favourite, with the likes of Kalle Samooja, George Coetzee and Matthias Schwab all around the 22/1 to 25/1 mark.

Karen CC. Designer: Remy Martin, 1937; Course Type: Classical; Par: 71; Length: 6,921 yards; Water Hazards: 8; Fairways: Kikuyu; Rough: Kikuyu mix; Greens: Bentgrass, 12’5″ on the stimp.

Course Overview. Karen CC hosted the Kenya Open on the Challenge Tour between 2004-2008 and 2013-2016, plus it also played host to the Karen Masters on the Sunshine Tour in 2018 and 2019, as well as being the venue for this event when it made its debut on Tour in 2019.

Winning scores have ranged from -10 to -26 over this time, however the course will play as a par-71 this week with the 3rd playing as a long par-4, so superficially the scoring could appear to be a little tougher than some of the 2nd tier events. Guido Migliozzi’s total when triumphing here 2 years ago was -16 on that par-71 format.

The 6,921 yard layout, which sits 10 miles outside of Nairobi, is classical in style with tree-lined holes and relatively narrow fairways, however the trees aren’t tight to the fairways in general and this is more Italian Open style than Valderrama in terms of playability. The small, undulating greens were re-laid with Bentgrass in 2015, replacing the tired Bermudagrass putting surfaces, and 6 years down the road they will play true and fast with stimp speeds expected to get to over 12 this week.

As well as reducing the par to 71 for this event back in 2019, the routing was also changed since the Challenge Tour events which made for an exciting event. In particular the stretch from holes 6-12 was very scoreable, starting with a 552 yard par-5 and ending with back-to-back par-5s, with four sub-400 yard par-4s wedged in-between.

kenya open tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Kenya Open that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well on this course. Stats also include last year’s Karen Masters: Current Form | Course Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.

Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.

Course Winners. Karen Masters, 2019: Toto Thimba Jr; Magic Kenya Open, 2019: Guido Migliozzi, 200/1; Karen Masters, 2018: Michael Palmer; Kenya Open, 2016: Sebastian Soderberg; 2015: Haydn Porteous; 2014: Jake Roos; 2013: Jordi Garcia-Pinto; 2008: Iain Pyman; 2007: Edoardo Molinari; 2006: Johan Axgren; 2005: Daniel Vancsik; 2004: Marc Cayeux.

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the Nairobi region is here. The weather looks very consistent for the 4 days with sunny conditions and temperatures reaching the low-80s Fahrenheit each day. The breeze will pick up to around 15mph each afternoon so the best scoring conditions may well be in the morning.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

Analysis the winners for the last 3 events held here at Karen CC gives us a little insight into the requirements for this week’s task:

  • 2019 Karen Masters: Toto Thimba Jr. 308.3 Yards (12th), 53.6% fairways (12th), 75.0% greens in regulation (8th), 72.2% scrambling (3rd), 1.54 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2019 Kenya Open: Guido Migliozzi. 308.1 Yards (30th), 42.9% fairways (33rd), 69.5% greens in regulation (5th), 68.2% scrambling (11th), 1.66 putts per GIR (17th).
  • 2018 Karen Masters: Michael Palmer. 46.4% fairways (21st), 81.9% greens in regulation (1st), 61.5% scrambling (14th), 1.73 putts per GIR (18th).

The first thing you’ll notice from the stats above is that driving accuracy figures are low, however GIR figures are still reasonably high, and this follows for those who also contended for each of the titles as well as the eventual winners.

Hitting fairways is tough here, however the penalty for missing the straight and narrow isn’t huge and players who are comfortable at finding greens from off of the fairways should prosper.

Maximising GIR is key then from wherever drives land, and in scoreable conditions taking advantage of the par 5s is also critical. Michael Palmer (-13) and Toto Thimba (-14) both scored heavily on the par 5s and even Guido Migliozzi (-8) was amongst the best for Par-5 scoring on the week on the revised par 71 setup 2 years ago.

Incoming Form. A seriously mixed bag in terms of incoming form for all winners here at Karen CC going back to 2004. Guido Migliozzi’s recent form was poor, although he had won on the Alps Tour 8 starts prior, whereas Michael Palmer had missed 8 cuts on the trot before winning here in 2018:

  • 2019: Toto Thimba Jr: MC/138/MC/MC/60/22/2/31
  • 2019: Guido Migliozzi: 1/MC/MC/56/MC/MC/63/MC
  • 2018: Michael Palmer: MC/MC/MC/MC/MC/MC/MC/MC
  • 2016: Sebastian Soderberg: 42/3/15/40/20/40/4/23
  • 2015: Haydn Porteous: 26/35/MC/MC/24/MC/MC/25
  • 2014: Jake Roos: 36/MC/MC/23/MC/MC/35/15
  • 2013: Jordi Garcia-Pinto: 65/WD/31/25/3/MC/MC/62
  • 2008: Iain Pyman: 11/7/18/21/MC/MC/14/MC
  • 2007: Edoardo Molinari: MC/66/MC/49/8/1/7/MC
  • 2006: Johan Axgren: 4/63/MC/13/10/4/1/25
  • 2005: Daniel Vancsik: MC/WD/58/MC/40/31/3
  • 2004: Marc Cayeux: MC/MC/14/45/5/15/7/8

Course Form. Going all the way back to 2004, course form here at Karen CC has been pretty inconsequential for the eventual winner:

  • 2019: Toto Thimba Jr: 46
  • 2019: Guido Migliozzi: Debut
  • 2018: Michael Palmer: 19
  • 2016: Sebastian Soderberg: MC
  • 2015: Haydn Porteous: 48
  • 2014: Jake Roos: Debut
  • 2013: Jordi Garcia-Pinto: Debut
  • 2008: Iain Pyman: MC/49
  • 2007: Edoardo Molinari: Debut
  • 2006: Johan Axgren: 36
  • 2005: Daniel Vancsik: 50
  • 2004: Marc Cayeux: Debut

Current and course form give us few clues in truth, so any combination of in/out of form players and course experienced/debutants could feature. Those comfortable attacking pins from off the fairways could be a key factor, so to that end I’m not getting hung up on driving accuracy this week, however finding more than a fair share of greens looks favourable, as does par-5 scoring.

My selections are as follows:

Garrick Higgo 1.5pts EW 45/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

At 125th in the World Rankings, Kurt Kitayama rates as the bookies favourite this week, however sitting 19 places ahead of him in the OWGR, and at well over twice the odds, we find Garrick Higgo who kicks off this week’s team for me.

By my estimation, Higgo is the 5th highest ranked player in this week’s field, yet the 21 year-old sits around 20th in the betting which feels completely out of kilter, especially as he has 4 wins from just 41 professional starts and captured his maiden European Tour win in September at the Open de Portugal. Antoine Rozner became the latest name on the list of multiple post-lockdown European Tour winners last week in Qatar and seeing Higgo add his name to that tally wouldn’t remotely surprise.

Although that success was at a slightly lower level to this week’s affair as it was a co-sanctioned Challenge Tour/European Tour event, the manner in which the Joburg native won was impressive. A bogey-free final round of 65 and a birdie at the last to win by a stroke says a lot about Higgo’s ability and mentality and I suspect there’s plenty more to come from the young man.

5th here at the Karen Masters in 2019 on the Sunshine Tour came after Garrick had won his previous two starts, so he can be forgiven for not having converted 3 on the trot, however it was an impressive outing nonetheless. Further success followed at the Sunshine Tour’s Tour Championship where he held off former Karen CC winner Haydn Porteous with a strong display with his irons and since then he’s clearly become comfortable on the European Tour. 3rd at the Cyprus Open and 14th on his DP World Tour Championship debut reinforce that fact and 19th last week in Qatar could have been much better had he not struggled to a 77 in the wind on Saturday.

Higgo tends to have a strong differential between greens hit to fairways hit, meaning that he’s more accustomed than most to finding putting surfaces from off the straight and narrow, plus 17th for Par-5 scoring for the full 2020 season bodes well given what we’ve seen here in the past. RESULT: T16

✅ Up to £100 In Bet Credits for new customers
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship & US Open & Masters

bet365 New Customer Offer: Up to £100 in Bet Credits. New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code SPORT100 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Joachim B. Hansen 1.5pts EW 50/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

As players develop and mature, so as a golf punter my view and opinion of them needs to grow and embrace their journey, and sometimes that means a change of opinion. There was a time when I wouldn’t go near a bet on JB Hansen, however having hit the age of 30 in August, the Dane seems to have stepped up a gear and that makes him an interesting punt here this week.

7th at the BMW PGA Championship in October was the first real sign that he’d turned a corner, massively improving on 3 previous missed cuts at Wentworth to reward any each-way backers brave enough to chance him with extended each-way terms. 10th for SG Approach and 7th for SG Tee-to-Green that week was impressive and that clearly put a spring in his step as he won his first European Tour event 2 starts later on another tree-lined track with Bentgrass greens at the Joburg Open. 3 behind at the turn on Sunday, the big Dane wore down leader Wilco Nienaber to hold his nerve and win by 2 strokes.

6th for SG Approach and 4th for SG Tee-to-Green was the key to success that week and it was interesting to see him find his form with his irons again in Qatar last week after a quiet spell, ranking 4th for SG Approach and topping Greens In Regulation on his way to a 9th place finish. In tough conditions, that effort was worthy of another note against his name where in days gone past he’d have likely been blown off of the leaderboard at the first sign of trouble. The putter was cold last week, however we know with JB that form with the flat stick is never too far away and with better scoring conditions expected this week, a strong improvement over his 19th place finish here on the Challenge Tour back in 2015 is very much a possibility. RESULT: T41

✅ Up to £100 In Bet Credits for new customers
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship & US Open & Masters

bet365 New Customer Offer: Up to £100 in Bet Credits. New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code SPORT100 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Gaganjeet Bhullar 1pt EW 80/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

As fairly obvious picks go, Gaganjeet Bhullar is at an attractive price this week.

I say obvious in the sense that course and current form students will instantly spot that the Indian star finished in a tie for 2nd last week in Qatar and was 5th here at the 2019 edition when Karen CC hosted the Magical Kenya Open for the first time.

Looking at last week’s effort first and the 32 year-old made back the strokes he lost from off the tee by ranking 15th for SG Approach, 10th for SG Tee-to-Green, 9th for SG Putting and 2nd for SG Around the Green. If the last time we visited Karen County Club is anything to go by, a combination like that may well be the winning one, given the relative lack of penalty from missing fairways and the fact that literally everyone is missing more than normal.

His 2019 effort saw him rank 12th for SG Tee-to-Green and 3rd for SG Approach, so that extra bit of form we saw on and around the greens last week could well be the missing ingredient that gives him an even better chance of winning here 2 years on.

10 PGTI wins over the course of his career and 9 Asian Tour successes – one of which was co-sanctioned with the European Tour in Fiji in 2018 – singles Bhullar out as a player who can convert an opportunity to win and his latest success at the PGTI Tour Championship in December is another case in point where his 24-under total was good enough to take the spoils.

Further success at European Tour level is more than possible in my view and while his form ebbs and flows, jumping on board while his stock is high may pay dividends. RESULT: T16

✅ Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses & £10 casino bonus for new customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Unibet sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Strong odds on First Round Leader market

Unibet New Customer Offer: 18+ begambleaware.org. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

Ondrej Lieser 1pt EW 125/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Finally, I’m going to take a chance on Ondrej Lieser being able to step up a level having taken the Challenge Tour by storm last year.

The Czech star has won 4 of his last 27 starts – impressive enough in its own right, however all at a lower level than this of course. It’s his rapid progression that’s peaked my interest though and we have first-hand evidence from Guido Migliozzi’s win here 2 years ago that winning form at a lower level shouldn’t be dismissed given that the Italian had won 3 times on the Alps Tour before breaking through at European Tour level here at Karen CC.

2 wins for Ondrej on the Pro Golf Tour gave him the opportunity to test himself on the European Tour’s second tier last year, and the 29 year-old became the first Czech golfer to win at Challenge Tour level when he beat Richard Mansell by 2 strokes at the Challenge de Espana last November. More accolades were achieved a fortnight later when he became the first Czech to gain a full European Tour card by winning the Challenge Tour Grand Final and he makes his debut as a fully-fledged European Tour player this week in Kenya in a field that’s hardly the strongest he’ll face.

The Prague native does have some practical experience at this level, despite this being his first outing as a card-holder on the European Tour. 44th at the Austrian Open after lockdown eased last year was solid enough and he followed that up the week after with a tie for 13th at the Euram Bank Open where only a 2nd round 73 prevented him from a much loftier finish. 2 wins under his belt since that point has got to lift his hopes of being able to improve on that effort in the very near future. RESULT: T33

✅ Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses & £10 casino bonus for new customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Unibet sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Strong odds on First Round Leader market

Unibet New Customer Offer: 18+ begambleaware.org. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:30GMT 15.3.21 but naturally subject to fluctuation.