Thursday, April 09, 2015

Lima back on track in Kenya
There can be few finer ways to announce your return to competitive action than an eight under par round of 64, but that is exactly what two-time European Challenge Tour graduate José-Felipe Lima did on the opening day of the Barclays Kenya Open.
The 33 year old, who has finished runner-up on the second tier Rankings on two separate occasions – in both 2009 and 2013 – carded eight birdies on Thursday at Karen Country Club to carve out a narrow two stroke advantage after 18 holes.
Impressive in its own right, the French-born Portuguese golfer has even more reason to be delighted with his form in Nairobi thanks to the fact he has not played a tournament round for seven months, having undergone back surgery last September.
Ross Kellett and Peter Whiteford head the Scots challenge on the three-under-par 69 mark. David Law had a 70
It had initially been suggested to Lima that the issue could bring a premature end to his golfing career, but plenty of rehab and hard work on the range has clearly proved beneficial, and he was delighted to have signed for such a strong start to the week.
“It was a good one to start, and I had exactly the same score in the Pro-Am on Tuesday and won, so to have that score two times in a row on this course makes me very happy,” said the man with three Challenge Tour titles to his name.
"To have not played a tournament in seven months and come back with this round is great, and I am just enjoying being back on the course. When I was in hospital I was wondering if I would play golf again, so to come back and shoot 64 is fantastic.
“I took two months off after the surgery, but since then I have been to Morocco with my coach and I am swinging much better now. I was losing some power and flexibility last season with what was wrong with my back, but now it is sorted I am feeling very happy.
“I am just glad to be back and playing OK, but to win a tournament is very difficult, and if someone plays better than me this week that’s fine. I just want to play the course and enjoy it, and maybe I will be celebrating on Sunday.
“I feel better in my body and I know I have the potential to be on The European Tour. It is very difficult out here now though, so I will have to play very well all year to get back, but my goal is to graduate once again at the end of the season.”
There is a three-strong chasing pack just two strokes adrift of the leading Lima, one that includes Spain’s Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Haydn Porteous of South Africa and German Sebastian Heisele, who all carded rounds of 66 on day one.
The latter of those was the only one of the leading four players to have taken to the links in the morning half of the draw, but Heisele – raised in Dubai – was very pleased to have continued the form that saw him earn a place on the Challenge Tour this season through the satellite Pro Golf Tour.
Two wins and a raft of top tens on the northern European circuit saw him finish last season in second place on their Order of Merit, and four strong performances in Morocco earlier in the year have also seen him travel to Nairobi in buoyant mood.
“It was very steady today,” said the 26 year old, who graduated from the University of Colorado – Boulder with a Bachelor degree in Architecture back in 2011.
“It is a course that sets up well for me as you need to hit a lot of fairways and greens, and then get it as close to the hole. I was struggling with my consistency on the greens, but I made the best of it, which is a credit to my long game.
“My irons gave me a lot of close birdie attempts so it was a somewhat easy round, even if that does sound a little stupid, so hopefully I can go on from here.
“The big advantage I have here is that I studied in Colorado for four years, which is 1,600 metres up – compared to 1,800 here, so I knew what to expect once I arrived. There are three more days to go though, but it is a good position to be in ahead of tomorrow.”
Just one stroke further adrift in a tie for fifth are Dutchman Daan Huizing, Sweden’s Oscar Stark and the Swiss player Damian Ulrich, who all carded five under par rounds of 67 on day one to stay within touching distance of the leading Lima.
They are narrowly ahead of a host of top talent in a share of eighth spot, a group that includes England’s Steven Brown, Swede Jesper Billing, Cyril Bouniol of France, Portugal’s Joao Carlota, Dane Andreas Harto and Jaako Makitalo of Finland, all at four under.

Scores after round one:
64 J Lima  (Por)
66 S Heisele (Ger) , E Cuartero Blanco  (Esp) , H Porteous (RSA)
67 D Huizing (Ned) , D Ulrich (Sui) , O Stark (Swe) ,
68 J Makitalo  (Fin) , S Brown (Eng) , C Bouniol (Fra) , J Fahrbring (Swe) , A Hartø  (Den) , J Carlota (Por) , J Billing (Swe)
69 B Virto Astudillo (Esp) , S Walker (Eng) , J Stalter (Fra) , K Subregis  (Fra) , J Harrison (Eng) , J Legarrea (Esp) , J Heath  (Eng) , R Kellett (Sco) , R McGee (Irl) , L De Jager  (RSA) , A Marshall (Eng) , P Whiteford (Sco) , B Stone (RSA) , D Indiza Anyonyi (Ken) , B Etchart  (Esp) , J Winther (Den) , V Riu  (Fra) ,
70 S Manley (Wal) , S Griffiths (Eng) , D Law (Sco) , M Southgate  (Eng) , J Elson  (Eng) , P Widegren  (Swe) , J Dantorp (Swe) , J Senior (Eng) , G Woolgar (Eng) , C Brazillier  (Fra) , P Relecom  (Bel) , O Bekker (RSA) , L Nemecz (Aut) , R Gouveia (Por) , M Søgaard  (Den) , S Echikson  (Bel) , R Enoch  (Wal) , J Hansen  (Den) , A Nandwa (am) (Ken) ,
71 M Lafeber (Ned) , N Ravano (Ita) , M Rominger  (Sui) , M Delpodio  (Ita) , A Rota (Ita) , W Besseling  (Ned) , J Walters (RSA) , S Jeppesen  (Swe) , K Benz (Sui) , M Orrin (Eng) , P Howard  (Eng) , D Løkke (Den) , E Bertheussen (Nor) , D Frittelli (RSA) , M Omondi (Ken) , C Hanson (Eng) , D Stewart (Sco) , C Berardo (Fra) , A Shah  (Ken) , C Gloet  (Den) , N Quintarelli (Ita) , R Coles (Eng) ,
72 C Russo (Fra) , N Ngugi (Ken) , J Hakizimana (Rwa) , L Jensen (Den) , G Boyd  (Eng) , M Röhrig (Ger) , P Dwyer (Eng) , E Goya (Arg) , J McLeary  (Sco) , P Kasozi (Uga) , P Tarver-Jones (Eng) , J Glennemo (Swe) , C Ford (Eng) , A Bruschi  (Ita) , M Dobias  (Sui) , N Kimsey (Eng) , B Simwa (Ken) , P Archer (Eng) , S Soderberg (Swe) , B Ritthammer (Ger) , F Calmels  (Fra) , N Kearney (Irl) ,
73 S Einhaus (Ger) , N Geyger (Chi) , E Ooko Obura (Ken) , D Kemmer (USA) , S Tiley (Eng) , F Matilo (Ken) , E Dubois (Fra) , P Figueiredo  (Por) , D Coupland (Eng) , P Price (Wal) ,
74 T Elissalde  (Fra) , D Wakhu  (Ken) , S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) , A Bernadet  (Fra) , C Aguilar  (Esp) , J Kunzenbacher (Ger) , H Joannes  (Bel) , W Harrold (Eng) , B Njoroge  (Ken) , G Snow  (Ken) , M Kramer  (Ger) , S Wakefield (Eng) , J Doherty  (Sco) , A Odoh (Ngr) ,
75 D Opati (Ken) , J Maurer  (Aut) , T Sluiter  (Ned) , M Wiegele  (Aut) , J Karanja  (Ken) , S Engell Andersen  (Ken) , T Omuli (Ken) , J Muigai (Ken) , H Bacher (Aut) , G Porteous (Eng) , A Gee  (Eng) , S Ngige (Ken)
76 T Nemecz (Aut) , D Odhiambo  (Ken) , C Mivis  (Bel) , R Charania (Ken) , C Wangai (Ken) , J Okello (Ken) , S Fallon (Eng) , T Tree (Eng) , Z Lombard  (RSA) , N Rokoine  (Ken) , W Booth  (Sco) , B Koskei (am) (Ken) ,
77 H Casey (Eng) , K Timbe  (Ken) ,
78 N Chaudhuri  (Eng) , H Kutwa (Ken) , R Owiti (am) (Ken) , N Simwa (am) (Ken) ,
79 A Shah (Ken) , K Abuto  (Ken) ,
81 N Mudanyi (Ken) , S Muthugia (Ken) , M Wahome (am) (Ken) , J Karichu (am) (Ken) ,
84 J Lorum  (Ken)




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