Phillip Kasozi is a happy man after earning a place at the PGA European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open which comes March 18-21 at the Karen Country Club in Nairobi.
The Uganda Golf Club pro will be in the fray for the $1.3m (Shs4.7b) kitty for a second time after taking the last and third available place for non-foreigners via the 2020-2021 Safari Tour Series.
By making the cut to finish 19th at the Karen Masters on Wednesday, Kasozi had scored a vital 19 points to finish with a collated 105.8 Tour points.
“It was too tough. The final field had over 80 players from all over and you had to be in top 20 to make it since it had more points,” he told this paper this week.
The Safari Tour final points’ tally had 30 percent contribution from the combined total scored in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 seasons while the nine events of the 2020-2021 took up 70 percent.
“It’s never easy, sometimes you can take things for granted but I will tell you hard work is better than talent. I just tried to stay patient,” the former banker said.
By qualifying with 12 Kenyan, Zimbabwean Robson Chinhoi and Nigerian Andrew Odoh, Kasozi also became the first Ugandan to qualify directly for two PGA European Tour events.
He will also feature at the Kenya Savannah Classic, a newly added event to the European Tour, that will also be played at Karen from March 23-26 with a similar purse of $1.3m (Shs4.7b).
Savannah Classic will be followed by the year’s first golf Major - the Masters - at the Augusta National in the USA.
“I am not thinking about that, I am thinking about getting in to get results,” he says. It is a big achievement though, I insist.
“It is, but personally have not even looked at it that way,” the 2012 Uganda Amateur Open champion replied.
Digging deeper into his response, Kasozi is worried about the looming financial burden he will have to face if he is to play both tournaments next month.
The two events will be played in a bubble format where players, upon coronavirus testing by the European Tour officials, will be put in a hotel with their caddies at their cost for 12 days near Karen.
“It’s a rough road. Training I will have time but will I get the finance? There is qualifying and then you don’t play,” he pondered.
On calculating the cost, Kasozi would have to part with $4200 (Shs15.4m) in case he is to comfortably fit the bill for entry fees $1000 (Shs3.65m), caddie costs as well as accommodation as a result of the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions.
“This time, qualification was a small fish in the lake, the uphill tasks are ahead.
“Chances of playing are slim, so each tournament goes for a minimum $2000 (Shs7.3m) although the last person who makes the cut makes $3200 (Shs 11.7m). It is always shoestring budgets that make us play bad, period,” Kasozi stated.
“This time, qualification was a small fish in the lake, the uphill tasks are ahead. I just want to come back and apply to the Uganda Golf Union and see whether they can help,” he added.
Meanwhile, Daily Monitor has learnt that Kasozi could be joined by counterpart two-time Uganda Professionals Open champion Deo Akope for both events via a wildcard entry after the latter missed the cut yet Odoh came fourth at Karen this week.
Upcoming Events: Kenya Open & Kenya Savannah Classic
Circuit: PGA European Tour
Dates: March 18-21 (Open) & March 23-26 (Classic)
Prize money: $1.3m (4.7b) each
Venue: Karen Country Club
Confirmed Ugandan: Phillip Kasozi