German professional golfer Esther Henseleit is relaxed and ready to defend her title at the 2022 Magical Kenya Ladies Open Golf tournament that tees off at the par-72 PGA Baobab course at Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi County.
Helseleit, who is a member of the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour, says she is happy to be in the country for the second time.
“It’s been two years since I last played. I am not under any pressure, I hope to enjoy myself in this beautiful weather and course to bring good results,” said Henseleit.
Unfortunately, Kenya’s amateur Channele Wangari has pulled out with an injury at the last minute, while USA’s lady professional Cheyenne Woods will also not be participating in this year’s tournament due to unknown reasons.
But Kenyan amateurs Naomi Wafula, Mercy Nyanchama and Faith Chemutai who have been camping at Vipingo for over a week have vowed to give their best and at least make the cut.
“We have been here for a week training hard and our main prayer is to make the cut and fight to the last day on Sunday. We urge Kenyans to pray for us as struggle with the world’s best lady golfers in the tournament,” said the team.
The four-day event that has brought together 96 world-class lady golfers tees off today (Feb 10-13).
The tournament started yesterday with a Pro-Am tourney curtain-raiser. The professional golfers begin their action this morning (7.45am) with Kenyan amateur team led by Faith Chemutai and India’s professional Amandeep Drall.
The only Kenyan lady professional Bhavi Shah teams up with Italy’s Lucrezia Colombo at the same time from the tenth tee.
Country colleague amateur Mercy Nyanchama will team up professionals Heather Macrea from Scotland and Patricia Sanz Barrio (Espania) from the first tee at 11.57am while defending champion Esther Henseleit (Germany) tees off from the first tee at 12.52pm alongside South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and Finland’s Nuria Iturrioz.
The last group to tee at 13.14pm will be the team of Norway’s Madelene Stavnar, Espiania’s Elia Folch and Germany’s Helen Tamy Kreuzer.
Magical Kenya is the main title sponsors supported by Huawei, Mpesa, U.Com Event, Vipingo Ridge, Centum and Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) through its premium spirit brand, Johnnie Walker.
KBL announced a Sh25.5 million sponsorship towards the event.
KBL Managing Director John Musunga said the partnership with the tournament is to support women in sports.
The event that will be beamed live to an estimated 270 million viewers across 69 countries in the world has drawn participants from different countries.
This is the season opener in the European Ladies Open (LET) 2022 calendars and the only in Africa Golf with a prize money set at Shs 38.8 million.
And for Vipingo Ridge Chairman Alastair Cavanagh, they are happy to have the golfers back to their spectacular destination and promise a fun day out for all.