Kenya Open Each-Way Tips: Kenya comeback on cards for 40/1 Catlin

Golfer John Catlin
The American John Catlin has been in fine form in Asia

The DP World Tour returns to Africa for the Kenya Open at Muthaiga GC. Thriston Lawrence is among the favourites but Matt Cooper looks elsewhere for his three selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

  • Three-time winner John Catlin can step up again

  • Jacques Kruyswijk has course form

  • Matthias Schwab is also seeking a revival

  • After a short break the DP World Tour returns to action with a journey that starts at the Magical Kenya Open before taking in a fortnight in South Africa.

    The host venue is, for the third year in a row, Muthaiga Golf Club on the outskirts of Nairobi.

    I recently found myself watching a television documentary about the Happy Valley set who frequented the club in the 1920s and 30s.

    They were an extraordinary bunch, many of them aristocrats with significantly tarnished reputations but more than sufficient money to forget, in outlandishly decadent fashion, any lingering scandal in the old country.

    They boozed heavily, gambled freely, philandered widely, and shot anything that moved (including, at times, each other).

    The national championship has been played since 1967 and Muthaiga has hosted most of them with nearby Karen Country Club an occasional replacement.

    Seve Ballesteros won at Muthaiga in 1978, collecting £4,800.

    Last year another Spaniard, Jorge Campillo, triumphed and he earned €321,247 which is all the more remarkable for being about as low a main tour first prize as can be pocketed in these giddy, head-spinning times.

    Talking of head-spinning, Nairobi is 1,975 metres above sea level so the ball flies further through the thin air than it does normally.

    It is similar to the high veldt around Johannesburg, South Africa (which sits at 1,753m) in that respect and other regular tour venues to consider as comparisons are Crans Montana at 1,495m, Madrid courses at 650m, Eichenried in Munich at 470m, Albatross in the Czech Republic at 420m, Adamstal in Austria at 470m and Tahoe Mountain in California at 1,773m.

    Main Bet: John Catlin 1pt each-way @ 40/1

    A few years ago the lanky American John Catlin found himself in a rich vein of form on the Asian Tour and rode the wave right on to the DP World Tour.

    That run peaked with a trio of victories in just 13 starts either side of New Year 2021 and all three were when up against fields of this kind of quality in the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama, the Irish Open at Galgorm Castle and the Austrian Open at Diamond CC.

    The first two of those read well for this week because both are tree-lined tracks, as Muthaiga is.

    Moreover, Catlin carded a 64 in the first round of last year's Kenya Open to tie the early lead on his way to finishing T15th.

    A lot of his efforts at altitude have tended to promise more they've delivered - he opened 66-66 at Adamstal to be in the mix at halfway in 2020, he was two off the 54-hole lead at Crans in 2021, and played well only after slow starts at Crans and Albatross last summer.

    Muthaiga Golf Club.jpg

    Crucially, he is also trending in the right direction.

    He started this stretch by managing one low score a week, notably when carding a 63 in last October's Qatar Masters.

    Then he started the new season with a pair of top 40s in Australia followed by 10th in the Mauritius Open.

    In-between those results he was sixth in the Thailand Open, he was sixth again after 36 holes in the Boonchu Ruangkit Championship last month before illness forced a withdrawal and was back on the horse with third place last time out in the Malaysian Open.

    He can push on this week.

    Back John Catlin each-way @ 40/141.00

    Bet now

    Next Best: Jacques Kruyswijk 1pt each-way @ 70/1

    Like so many of his compatriots South Africa's Jacques Kruyswijk has plenty of experience of playing at this sort of height.

    He's played well on the high veldt on the Sunshine Tour and in co-sanctioned events too. These included fourth at the 2017 Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg, fourth in the South African Open at Glendower, two top 10s at Steyn City in the Jonsson Workwear Open and fourth in last December's South African Open at Houghton.

    He's also finished top 20 at altitude in Europe at Centro Nacional in Madrid, twice at Albatross near Prague and also at Eichenried in Munich (a top 20 at Wentworth is also a reminder that he likes old courses with trees).

    Back in early 2020 he notched back to back fifth places in Nairobi at Karen CC and in 2017 he was seventh in this event at Muthaiga.

    Last August he landed a first win outside Africa in the Challenge Tour's Dormy Open on a short course in Sweden (this week plays short, of course, because of the thin air).

    An added bonus is that his last two wins on the Sunshine Tour have been on Peter Matkovich designs - and Matkovich was responsible for the renovation of Muthaiga.

    Back Jacques Kruyswijk each-way @ 70/171.00

    Bet now

    Final Bet: Matthias Schwab 1pt each-way @ 125/1

    Japan's Masahiro Kawamura and China's Ashun Wu both had appeal as the final pick, but in the end the Austrian Matthias Schwab gets the nod.

    He's shown little in recent times but the tempter is that he is back on this side of the Atlantic where, at his best, he was a regular presence on the first page of scoring and he has played well at altitude.

    The clincher is that we can get three figures.

    It feels a little like the case of Dylan Frittelli - let's just hope this is Schwab's week and the column is not on him a fortnight early as we were with Frittelli.

    At altitude Schwab has been third at Eichenried, fifth at Albatross, eighth at Crans and third at Tahoe Mountain.

    On the short and tree-lined Hong Hong GC he's been ninth.

    He finished seventh at Karen CC in 2021 and eighth at Muthaiga in 2018 - that was an especially fine effort after he carded a 76 in round one to lie T134th before rebounding with laps of 66-65-69.

    Back Matthias Schwab each-way @ 125/1126.00

    Bet now

    Now read Steve Rawlings on the Kenya Open.

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