Phillip Kasozi is living the real life of a professional golfer. He will this afternoon step onto the par-71 course at Karen Country Club in Nairobi for his second appearance on the PGA European Tour via the Magical Kenya Open.
The showpiece set out in a bubble format because of the coronavirus restrictions but it presents Kasozi with an opportunity to jostle for part of the $1.3m (Shs4.7b) money purse.
“I am up to the task,” the Uganda Golf Club member said early this week. Kasozi is the only Ugandan pro to ever reach the PGA European Tour stage, which explains why bookmakers have his odds to win the event at 1000.
The former banker first played on the Tour in 2019 when Kenya Open joined the lucrative golf circuit but the 2012 Uganda Amateur Open champion missed the cut with +6 after rounds of 77 and 71.
He eventually tied in 115th place and his debut at the Kenya Open came in 2015 when it was still on the European Challenge Tour, tying 109th after rounds of 72 and 76 for +4 (then).
Now with a second shot on European Tour with a third attempt coming up at the new Kenya Savannah Classic at Karen too next week, Kasozi wants to leave a mark for Uganda.
“I am ready to break the jinx and open doors for others, God willing,” he said. While Kasozi has been at Karen several times including finishing 19th at the Karen Masters on February 24.
However, the Kenya Open presents a totally different atmosphere and Kasozi must break some mental barriers when the man, ranked 1820th globally, tees-off at noon in company of Finn Kalle Samooja and German Marcel Schneider at par-4 Hole No.1. Kasozi had a feel of Karen after passing his Covid-19 test on Tuesday. “I did nine holes on Tuesday and I was interrupted by the rain.”
Italian Guido Migliozzi won the event in 2019 with an aggregate total of 16-under and he is back in Nairobi to defend his title. He will face a test from Americans in-form Kurt Kitayama and Johannes Veerman, South African Daniel van Tonder who is dominating the Sunshine Tour and Frenchman Romain Langasque.
PGA European tour
Events: Kenya Open & Kenya Savannah Classic
Dates: March 18-21 (Open) & March 23-26 (Classic)
Prize Money: $1.3m (4.7b) each
Venue: Karen Country Club
12.20pm: Kasozi (UGA), K. Samooja (FIN), M. Schneider (GER)
(LIVE SS 233 GOLF, 1PM)