20th July 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Kenyan homecoming for Italian-Belgian Geerts
It seems a little odd to see an Italian flag on the scoreboard behind the name of Phillip Geerts after he shot a solid opening round of four-under-par 68 in the KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country Club in Kenya on Thursday.
“I was actually born here in Nairobi to an Italian mother and Belgian father,” said Geerts elaborating on his roots. “I was born and grew up here in Africa. Italy is home to me, but I can gladly call this a second home. I live in South Africa mainly for golf and I have lived there for seven years. We have a house over there and my family is over there,” he added.
Geerts’ start of the R2-million tournament was impressive with five birdies on the second, 13th, 14th, 15th and the 18th. He dropped just a single shot at the par-four eighth.
“I played pretty solid all the way. I made a few mistakes. So, it is definitely a great start around this golf course,” he said after he found himself three shots behind the first-round leader Merrick Bremner.
The 24-year-old fell in love with the sport not far from the course which is over eight decades old. “I must have played the course when I was three or four years old,” he said. “I actually started at a golf course around the corner, well not really around the corner, but the other side of Nairobi in Limu. I definitely did not remember Karen when I got here this week. I was actually very surprised. It is in amazing condition and it is a beautiful design.”
The rookie would want to continue his good performance as he tees it up for the second round today and to make his second cut after five tournaments.
Geerts missed the cut at the Zanaco Masters and Mopani Redpath Zambia Open and failed to qualify for the Lombard Insurance Classic. He was much improved at the Sun City Challenge where he finished tied 18th on five-over-par 221 after rounds of 74, 76 and 71.