Kenya Open First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 50/1 to 80/1

Chinese golfer Ashun Wu
Ashun Wu can make another fast start

After landing a 28/1 winner with solo R1 leader Patrick Cantlay at Riviera last week, Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Muthaiga GC...

  • 50/151.00 Ashun Wu is course winner with recent FRL form

  • 80/181.00 Tom Vaillant has two first-round leads in six starts

  • 66/167.00 Ryan Van Velzen is an in-form straight hitter

  • Weather forecast for Thursday

    The early starters in Nairobi will feel wind speeds around 15mph and it picks up towards 18mph in the afternoon. Temperatures hit 70 degrees around 9am, rising towards a peak in the mid-to-high 80s in the afternoon.

    It's hard to see any real bias so we'll pick freely from the list of tee-times.

    Back Ashun Wu @ 50/151.00

    Ashun Wu was a first-round leader in the Qatar Masters on his latest start, eventually following his opening 67 with three solid rounds to finish ninth.

    That was a welcome return to form after a modest run but this is a course where he can continue that uptick.

    The Chinese golfer proved that in emphatic style when winning at this venue in 2022 when it staged the Kenya Open for the first time.

    Wu was fifth after day one before accelerating away on Sunday to win by four.

    Back at the scene of that win he's worth a go at 50/151.00 to burst out of the blocks and hopefully top the Thursday leaderboard. He heads out at 13.10 local.

    Back Ashun Wu each-way @ 50/151.00

    Bet here

    Back Tom Vaillant @ 80/181.00

    Tom Vaillant has enjoyed a rapid rise over the last couple of years, leaping from the Alps Tour to the Challenge Tour before enjoying a second promotion in successive years after finishing 12th in the final Road to Mallorca standings.

    He secured his DP World Tour card with second place in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in Spain, a tournament he led after both 18 and 36 holes.

    The Frenchman repeated his FRL trick by setting the pace in the Bahrain Championship on his latest start thanks to a 64.

    With two first-round leads in his last six starts, he automatically enters calculations and there's more hope to be found in his performance on this track 12 months ago.

    A tied 35th looks okayish but note that Vaillant closed with a 64 to prove he can go low here. Back him at 80s from his 12.10 tee time.

    Back Tom Vaillant each-way @ 80/181.00

    Bet here

    Back Ryan Van Velzen @ 66/167.00

    A quick bit of geography to help justify why Ryan Van Velzen may be a good addition to the staking plan.

    The 22-year-old South African hails from Benoni. A check of the map shows it's less than 20 miles east of Johannesburg and that, as we know, leads us to the 'a' word: altitude.

    Benoni is listed as 5,385 feet above sea level, not far off Nairobi's, 5,889, so Van Velzen should be at home in this setting.

    The youngster is an arrow-straight hitter, who finds a high number of greens in regulation (he's ranked in the top two for GIR in three of his last four events).

    On the South African Sunshine Tour, Van Velzen won last month's Mediclinic Invitational while he's added a second and a seventh in February.

    As for fast starts, he was third after round one of the Mediclinic and ninth after 18 holes and leader after 36 of the Cape Town Open two starts ago.

    He's another with an afternoon tee-time and heads off at 13.30.

    Back Ryan Van Velzen each-way @ 66/167.00

    Bet here

    Now read Steve Rawlings on the Kenya Open

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