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Magical Kenya Open

After a swing of tournaments in the Middle East, the DP World Tour ventures to their second preview of Africa for the Magical Kenya Open. This tournament is always a lot of fun and has produced some thrilling finishes. Much of that comes down to the golf course, as we preview the Magical Kenya Open host Muthaiga Golf Club.

Muthaiga Golf Club host our Magical Kenya Open Preview

The difference between Muthaiga and the PGA Tour Mexico Open venue this week, Vidanta Vallarta, are that they are as polar opposite to each other as they are geographically. This got me thinking about many of the DP World Tour players who have made their way to Mexico this week. Someone like Bjork could be much more suited to the course in Kenya than the one he will face this week.

Perhaps we will see a trend develop in time, with those who hold duel access selecting where they play more on the venue than which Tour is on first glance seemingly paying the most money. It is certainly interesting times we are living in for those of us in the golf industry.

Dial-in on H2H Match-ups this week

The specific nature of the course this week can produce wonderful opportunities for mismatches in rounds 3 and 4 matchups, where you can get two golfers with quite different player profiles who have achieved their score via different means. Keep an eye on the WinDaily Premium Discord for opportunities as we spot them!

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Magical Kenya Open Preview Muthaiga Course Analysis

Onto a preview of the golf course then, where the Magical Kenya Open returns once again to Muthaiga Golf Club.

It is very important to note to use course history this week. Despite hosting events in Kenya since 1967, the event has alternated between Muthaiga and Karen Country Club. 2022 and 2023 were both held at the current venue, as were 2017 and 2018 on the Challenge Tour. 2019 and 2021 were played at Karen CC, as were Challenge Tour events from 2013-2016. You get the idea. Although I wouldn’t totally discount form at Karen, this is quite a different test.

I’ll note the Seve factor as well. How often do you see a winning Spanish golfer commenting how “Seve Ballesteros won at this course” and that provided inspiration for them? The effect is real and provides such huge emotional motivation for Spanish players. Seve won this event back in 1978 at Muthaiga and we have seen other Spaniards play well here since. This includes last year’s winner, Jorge Campillo.

Although on paper the golf course looks long enough at 7,228 yards for a par 71, bear in mind that Nairobi is at an altitude of 6,000 feet. That sees the golf ball travel quite significantly further in the air. In fact, the distance increase is up to 20% in the modern age of golf ball technology.

Driving Accuracy the Key to Success

Where Muthaiga gets it’s defense is in the extremely narrow nature of the course. There is barely in runout from the fairway before you are in the towering trees.

Past champion Jeremy Robinson said: “Muthaiga is a narrow course – I think they’ve changed a few of the holes but I remember that being the overriding factor, it being narrow. You had to drive the ball straight because the rough was pretty thick and it wasn’t a long course, even in those days. Hit the ball straight, get used to the grain on the greens, the different grasses, and it’s more of a thinker’s course, unlike a lot of the courses today that favour longer hitters.”

Robinson went on to note how the unique grass types and nature of the course would prove difficult on debut; a sentiment I largely agree with.

It is no wonder then that we have seen some of the straightest hitters on tour find success here. Other links can be found in those who have played well at altitude previously. Perhaps the ability to best adjust to yardages plays a factor there. Greens are very small and scoring should not get out of control.

Muthaiga Golf Club Course Comps

Strangely enough, one of the better course comps for our Magical Kenya Open preview comes from the Swiss Alps. Crans-sur-Sierre is of course also played at altitude, but is a narrow course emphasising driving accuracy and small greens. Soderberg has found success on both courses, with Thriston Lawrence winning at Crans and runner-up at Muthaiga both on debut.

Valderrama is a very narrow, tree-lined test that has favoured the accurate drivers with sharp approach play. Players such as Kinhult link the two, finishing 8th at Muthaiga and 6th at Valderrama later that year. Catlin finished 15th on debut appearance at Muthaiga, a fine performance for a first start, and holds a record at Valderrama of W-11-11.

Le Golf National asks similar questions, but in a different way. The penalty at the Open de France host for a wayward driver is often a watery end. Again, greens are small with penalty severe for a miss. Kinhult also has a 5th there. He may well have made the Magical Kenya Open preview betting card had he shown any glimpse of form in the last 6 months. Julien Brun has gone 13-7 at Muthaiga and 13-6 at Le Golf National. It should provide a fascinating host course for the 2024 Paris Olympics, but is a handy guide for our Magical Kenya Open preview.

Weather

High winds are forecast for Nairobi to begin the week. Wind gusts above 30mph are no joke, even with some protection from the tall trees on this property.

Some rain is set to develop on Friday afternoon. As long as this does not become too severe this could prove beneficial in softening the greens, which can play pretty fast at times. If the rain becomes heavy in conjunction with the wind, it could become very difficult.

As the winds are quite consistent all day, I don’t think a substantial weather edge will develop for week long. You may see a small edge for those playing Thursday AM/Friday PM if light rain softens and slows greens. The caveat for that will come from the level of rain experienced Friday afternoon. For DFS purposes, I think a case could be made for building a number of line-ups in each direction to provide protection and leverage on the field.

Magical Kenya Open Preview Golf Betting Tips

If you would like to read my golf betting tips for the Magical Kenya Open, you can preview these in this article here in the WinDaily Premium Discord here.

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