Kenya will be represented by five players at Ladies European Tour’s Magical Kenya Ladies Open scheduled for December 5 to 8 at Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Baobab course.
This is following the addition of former Kenya ladies champion Naomi Wafula. The rest of the players are Nyali-based pro Bhavi Shah, Agnes Nyakio and Mercy Nyanchama from Vet Lab and Golf Park’s Margaret Njoki.
Fresh from playing in the Safari Tour’s sixth leg at the Great Rift Valley Golf Resort, Wafula now based at Golf Park, expressed her delight in getting the opportunity to play at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. “It is a great feeling to be invited to play at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. It will be a great learning opportunity as I look to turn Pro in the near future.”
Speaking on her preparations, Wafula said: “I am just back from playing in the Safari Tour at the Great Rift Valley Lodge & Golf Resort. I’m currently working on my short game and look forward to a great showing at Vipingo Ridge.”
Vet Lab’s Mercy Nyanchama said: “I am proud to represent Kenya in the competition and I look forward to playing alongside professionals from all over the world.”
“With the Ladies KGU calendar done for the year, I have been playing in several captain prize tournaments as well as getting several training rounds at my club in preparation for the Open. I am hoping to play well and looking to learn from the professionals as much as I can,” she added.
Joining the Kenyans and those coming from Europe and elsewhere, will be other African golfers including, Nigeria’s Georgia Iziemgbe Oboh, Swaziland player Nobuhle Dlamini, Stacy Lee Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite from South Africa and Maha Haddioui from Morocco, and Lakareber Abe, an American with roots in Uganda.
The format of the tournament will be 72-hole stroke play; running over four days -Thursday to Sunday – and being preceded by a Pro-Am on Wednesday. It is estimated that the tournament will be watched by over 270 million people worldwide as it will be broadcasted live across the four days to local and global audiences; showcasing Kenya as an ideal destination not just for sporting events but for holidays and leisure as well.
Besides Magical Kenya which is the title sponsor and the presenting partner M-Pesa, the Open has also attracted other corporate organizations.
The other sponsors in this event which is taking place in Kenya and East Africa for the first time, will be Capital FM, KCB, Aquamist, East Africa Breweries, Turkish Airlines, Vipingo Development, Kenya Ports Authority, and Wilken Kenya.
All of them have made contributed into the prize fund and other logistical arrangements to make sure that the event which profiles women in golf, helping to promote gender equality in sport, and motivating the next generation of Kenyans to take up the game, is successful.
The event whose total prize fund is 300,000 Euros (Sh33 million) had by this week attracted a field of 108 players drawn from Europe, America and Africa.