One-under opening round leaves Lawlor in third at G4D Magical Kenya Open

Mark McGowan

Brendan Lawlor (Photo by Alex Burstow/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Brendan Lawlor’s first competitive start of 2024 sees the Dundalk man in third place after day one of the G4D Tour @ Magical Kenya Open event at Nairobi’s Muthaiga Golf Club.

One birdie and one bogey on the opening nine was a solid start, and he added another of each on the back nine before arriving at the par-5 closing hole at level-par for the day. A birdie-four at the last saw him post a one-under 70 to sit tied for third alongside Spaniard Juan Postigo Arce, two behind Australian Lachlan Wood in second with world number one Kipp Popert two further ahead at -5.

It was an impressive start to the season for Lawlor whose preparation for the event was far from ideal, given that it is played at elevation meaning the ball goes much further thanks to the thin air and higher temperatures.

“Yeah, preparing for this tournament was pretty tough because I was at home in Ireland,” he explained. “I didn’t do any warm weather practice this winter.

“So there was a lot of indoor stuff and, whenever the weather was decent, that’s when I can get onto the course.

“I played quite well today so I was really happy, even though I didn’t hit it the best. I was a wee bit ropey, probably just not playing tournaments and that sort of stuff. But I putted and chipped quite well and that saved me a wee bit today and took my chances when I could.”

At almost 2,000 metres above sea level, the challenge is quite different as Lawlor points out.

“The ball is going miles,” he said. “When you see a 490-yard par-4 and you’re hitting 8-iron in, it doesn’t make sense. So it’s very different, but it’s great here and the course is in great condition.”

Despite being four back, Lawlor doesn’t plan any change of tactic in the second and final round.

“No, I think I’m gonna do my own thing tomorrow,” he said. “There’s many birdies [to be made] out here and there’s also holes where you can make a lot of mistakes.

“So I know I have to go out and shoot a low enough number, but I don’t have to go out and chase. So hopefully I can go out and shoot maybe two or three-under, put a bit of pressure on and wee, can the leaders fall back to me a bit.”


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