Justin Harding Wins Kenya Open

Justin Harding Wins Kenya Open

Justin Harding Wins Kenya Open
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Justin Harding secured his second European Tour title at the Kenya Open, claiming a two-shot victory over American Kurt Kitayama.

Justin Harding Wins Kenya Open

Justin Harding had started his round as the overnight leader and sat two strokes ahead of nearest challengers Scott Hend, Kurt Kitayama and Johannes Veerman.

Related: 17 Things You Didn't Know About Kurt Kitayama

The South African was searching for his first victory since the 2019 Qatar Masters and started his final round with five consecutive pars to keep himself in the lead by two.

His first birdie of the day came at the par-5 sixth hole, with his nearest challenger, Kitayama, actually making eagle to close the gap to one.

A birdie at the seventh for Harding put his lead back to two, before an outstanding tee shot at the driveable par-4 ninth led to an eagle, and a four shot lead heading into the back nine.

See more

Kitayama wasn't giving in though, as a birdie at the 10th closed the gap momentarily, until a scrappy bogey at the next hole dropped him to four shots back once again.

Related: No Kenya Open TV Coverage Due To Logistical Difficulties

That lead was soon cut in half though, with the American carrying on his mixed start to the back nine with a chip-in eagle at the 12th hole.

Harding on the other hand remained consistent, making seven consecutive pars to start his back nine.

Trading birdies with Kitayama on the 17th hole, Harding would have a two shot lead heading down the last.

Justin Harding Wins Kenya Open

Kitayama was searching for his third European Tour victory. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Finding the right side of the fairway, the South African stuck his approach shot comfortably onto the green and two-putted for his second victory on the European Tour.

Speaking to Sky Sports after his round, an emotional Harding said: "It was a lot easier winning in 2019, I'm quite emotional now, but it was hard work, you know Kurt is a hell of a competitor and I got him back for Mauritius.

"I wasn't feeling good through 12, I made a mess of 11 and 12 and ultimately the way I played the 13th through to the 18th this week was a stressful time.

"I couldn't lay back on 17 cause I knew Kurt was going to bomb it so I had to go for it there. It's just nice to be back in the winner's circle."

The victory now moves Harding up to 14th in the Race to Dubai rankings and on the cusp of the top 100 in the world rankings.

Matt Cradock
Staff Writer

Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.

Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.

Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?

Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°

Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°

Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°

Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°

Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x