At least 30 visiting lady professionals will be in action Wednesday morning at Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Baobab Course, Kilifi as the historical Magical Kenya Ladies European Tour open tournament week kicks with the Pro-Am event.
Among the visiting pros who will test the challenging Baobab course in a competitive atmosphere will be America’s Cheyenne Woods, a niece to the world’s most known professional golfer, Tiger Woods.
The young Woods, who will be playing in Kenya and probably Africa for the first time, is drawn last at 10.05 am on the first tee, with Martha Vincent and Lawrence Kimathi of Karen and Muthaiga’s Jean Ngengi.
And being a ladies Open event and the first one of its kind in Kenya and East Africa, Wednesday’s event has attracted more lady amateurs than men.
None, however, of the five Kenyans who are participating in the main event have been included in the Pro-Am, hence they will have to wait until Thursday’s opening round where they will the chance of the taking on Europe and some of America’s leading women professionals.
That will be after the flight of another American pro of Ugandan parents Lakareber Abe, a niece of Uganda Golf Club member Dr Luka Abe, who is paired with amateurs Kevin Aruasa, Laban Gichuki and Irene Onyango. Abe is in Kenya through a special invite by Ladies European Tour (LET) organizers U.Com.
Like the other Americans, Abe, is also playing in Kenya for the first time and it will be interesting to see how she performs on the great Baobab course this week.
A member of Alabama Women’s (Crimson Tide) golf team, Abe is being accompanied by her coach and caddie Dustin Poynter.
Her and the other players like Woods, Nigeria’s Georgia Oboh as well as Morocco’s Maha Haddioui is a great inspiration to Kenya’s young female golfers such as Channelle Wangari and Belinda Wanjiru, who have both featured in many kids tournament in different parts of the world.
Among the lady amateurs drawn include Kenya Ladies Golf Union chairman Phylis Kimbo, who will be in the team of Morocco’s Haddioui and other amateurs Sarah Hoare and Liz Gitobu.
Teeing off first on the first tee will be France’s Astrid Vayson de Pradenna with Kenya Open Golf Limited tournament director Patrick Obath, his wife Terry Obath and another Kenya Open director Francis Okwara at 7.45am.
The par 72 course, which is hosting its first major pro event since it was official opened over a decade ago, has been prepared well for the Pro-Am and the main event, where at stake for the field of 106 players will be Euro 300,000 (Sh30 million), where the winner on Sunday will take home Sh5 million.