German holds nerve to claim title at Vipingo Ridge

Wednesday March 18 2020
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Germany's Esther Henseleit poses with the trophy after winning the 2019 Magical Kenya Ladies Open title at the par-72 PGA Baobab course on December 8, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT |

By LARRY NGALA

Germany's Esther Henseleit produced course record score of eight under par 64 in a hotly contested final round, to claim the 2019 Magical Kenya Ladies Open title at the par-72 PGA Baobab course on Sunday.

It was a brilliant performance by the German, who not only claimed the first pay cheque of Sh5 million and a beautiful trophy, but also emerged the winner of the 2019 Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit.

"I am overwhelmed. I just do not have enough words to express my happiness. I real wanted to win but also winning the Order of Merit for the season, is more than one can even imagine,'' said thrilled Henseleit.

She said she had known that she needed to pile up as many birdies as possible in order to recover the seven shots the leader Julia Engstrom had established over her to win.

"I need to make as many birdies in order to catch, and I am really happy that I hit excellent iron shots in addition to my take off from the tee,'' said Henseleit.

She took off well, firing birdies on the first, fourth, sixth, seventh andf ninth holes which gave her the confidence and hope as the leader then Engstrom dropped a shot after the other.

At the back nine, the 20 year old Henseleit made birdies at the 11th, 13th and 15th for a bogey free eight under par which gave her a total of 14 under par 274.

"After the first nine, I knew I had a good chance if I stayed firm and the three back nine birdies actual made me have the confidence in need,'' added Henseleit, who beat hot-charging Aditi Ashok of India by the narrow margin of shot.

Ashok made birdies on the first, second, fifth and sixth with a temporary set back caused by an awful triple bogey at the par three-eighth.

She made a birdie at the last hole of the opening nine, and set off for the back nine with a birdie at the 10th though it was the eagle at the 11th hole which re-stored a resolve to go for the title though she managed to make only two more birdies at the 16th and 18th, for the day's seven under par 65 and a four rounds total of 13 under par.

But what a devastating day it was for Julia Engstrom who had led from day one, and starting the final round with a seven shots lead. She started with an early birdie at the second, but dropped shot after shot starting with the third hole and later on at the 10th, 13th, abd 17th with only a second birdie at the 15th hole.

She eventually finished in third place with a total of 11 under 277 after her final round two over par 74, with an earning of Euro 18,000 (about Sh 2 million) while the Indian girl Ashok took home Euro 27,000 (about Sh 3million).

America's Cheyenne Woods put up a brave fight, firing four under par 68 with five birdies and one bogey, for a total of six under par 282.

A total of 70 players had made the second round cut out of the field of 106 players in the event sponsored by Magical Kenya, Safaricom's Mpesa, KCB, EABL, Capital FM, Aquamist, Turkish Airlines, Vipingo Development, KPA and Wilken.