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Magical Kenya Ladies tees off with a Pro-Am event at the Kenya's PGA Baobab Course in Kilifi

Golf
 Last year’s third placed April Angurasaranne from Thailand.[Maarufu Mohamed,Standard]

Home Club’s Naomi Wafula will be among the Local talent to watch in this year’s Magical Kenya Ladies Open Golf Tournament that tees off this morning (Wednesday) with a Pro-Am event at the Kenya Coast’s 18-hole Baobab Course in Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County.

Wafula who made history in the Ladies European Tour (LET) last year as the first Kenyan to make the cut will be joined by colleagues Channele Wangare, Mercy Nyanchama, Jacqueline Walter, and Kellie Gachaga among others.

The amateurs have been preparing for the LET season-opener, aiming to leave a mark this time by making the cut in this only women's professional golf tournament in East Africa

The event that has attracted a field of 108 golfers from around the globe will also feature local ladies in the Pro-Am namely Margaret Njoki, Vivian Adhiambo, Asha Duba, Betty Gacheru and Mary Kandu, Rosemary Mkok among others.

Among the Men line up for the Pro-Am includes the Kenya Golf Union Chairman Philip Ochola, Mohamed Taib, Aamil Mughal, Omar Lewa, Prof.Njuguna Ndungu, Jeff Kubwa, Polycarp Onyango, Caleb Kositany and Louis Otieno.

According to the programe, the real action starts on Thursday 8th, February and Friday 9th, February for the main event where the talented Ladies will compete to make the cut.

Those who make the Cut will battle it out for two rounds on Saturday 10th, February and Sunday 11th, February with the reduced field.

The event will conclude on Sunday in the afternoon with a closing ceremony crowning the first champion of the 2024 LET season.

Vipingo Ridge Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Alex Horsey said yesterday that they are delighted to welcome back the Ladies European Tour with all preparations ready for the event and invites spectators to join and cheer their favorable players.

“The Magical Kenya Ladies Open is a highlight in the Vipingo Ridge calendar, a world-class international event at our unique venue. We are looking forward to a wonderful week of golf and welcome the LET players, teams and sponsors, “said Horsey.

U.COM Event Organizer’s Managing Director Dirk Glittenberg said they are thrilled about the return of the tournament, and the heightened level of competition is truly promising, considering the exceptional talents it attracts and expressed enthusiasm, highlighting the expected high levels of competition fueled by the exceptional talents the event has consistently attracted.

“With an expanded field size of 108 golfers, up from 96 in the previous edition, we anticipate another year of outstanding competition, building on the high standards set last year .This year's edition is poised to shine in the LET season, spotlighting world-class talent against the stunning backdrop of Vipingo Ridge, “said Glittenberg.

Supporters of the tourney are among others Ministry of Youth Affairs, Creative Economy and Sports, Talanta Hela, Huawi, Mpesa, Kilifi County Government, Johnie Walker, ABSA, U.Com, Vipingo Ridge, and LET.

Entries for the tournament opened on the 1st, of January with a field of 108 players expected to compete over the four days for a share of the €300,000 (KSh.51, 600,000) in prize money, consistent with the previous editions.

This tournament that continues to attract top talent from the LET, including rookies, past champions, and emerging stars, follows the success of the 2023 edition, where Aditi Ashok from India secured her victory with a remarkable nine-shot lead.

Among the notable participants who have already signed up for the tournament are, German’s Alexandra Försterling who won the 2023 VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open and the 2023 Mallorca Ladies Open,the 2023 Amundi German Masters champion Kristýna Napoleaová from Czech Republic, 2023 MKLO runner-up Alice Hewson from England, third-place finisher April Angurasaranee from Thailand and last year's hole-in-one sensation, Swedish Lisa Pettersson among others.

The Magical Kenya Ladies Open will be the first in a series of 31 events across 20 Countries Worldwide on the Ladies European Tour 2024 calendar, the most fixtures ever held on the Tour.

After Kenya, the tour goes to Saudi Arabia and then visiting Morocco for the Lalla Meryem Cup and in March, before the Ladies travels to the United States for the Aramco Team Series Presented by PIF.

Later in March, the prestigious Magenta Shores Golf and Country Club will host the New South Wales Open for the first time, followed by the Australian Women’s Classic at Bonville Golf Resort as part of a fortnight down under.

Other venues will be in South Africa, Korea, and the Amundi German Masters in Europe, France, Sweden, London, France, Holland, Scotland, Spain, Asia and Riyadh among others.

In total 25 events will be televised, either via highlights packages or with a full live world feed during the season that concludes with a fortnight in Spain, starting at the Mallorca Ladies Golf Open before rounding out the year at the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España for the fifth year in a row.

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