Big win for women’s golf as Magical Kenya Ladies Open goes Kilifi
The third edition of the Magical Kenya Ladies Golf Open has received Kes26.8 million sponsorship from Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-PESA. Magical Kenya Ladies Golf Open is part part of the Ladies European Tour 2023.
The Magical Kenya Ladies Open is the highest-ranked professional ladies’ tournament across the continent providing a unique chance for the development of skills of upcoming female golfers in the East African region.
The tournament will be the first in a series of 39 golf events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar, bringing 96 golfers to the contest.
The event is set to take place from 2nd to 5th February at Vipingo Ridge, Baobab Course in Kilifi County, in a 72-stroke competition.
“We are delighted to sponsor the Magical Kenya Ladies Open yet again, for the third year in a row. This sponsorship highlights our strong commitment to supporting sports in the country and promoting Kenya as a premier sporting and tourist destination. The Ladies European Tour provides our young Kenyan lady golfers with an opportunity to learn and grow in the sport, which is in line with our goal of supporting talent through the spirit of Tuinuane,” said Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom.
Safaricom will also sponsor all participating Kenyan players with game kits.
As part of its ambition to develop talent, Safaricom will also fully sponsor four female junior golfers drawn from last year’s Safaricom Golf Tour who will be participating in the Pro-Am tournament on 1st February. About 100 junior golfers are also set to benefit from a full-day clinic with coaching from professional golfers.
The Kenyan team will be led by Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy star Naomi Wafula, VetLab’s Mercy Nyanchama, Chanelle Wangari (16), and Golf Park’s Nancy Wairimu. These four will play under the amateur category.
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German lady professional Esther Henseleit who is back hoping to retain her Magical Kenya Ladies Open title for the third time will be among international stars headlining the competition.
Henseleit is, however, expected to face stiff competition from Marta Sanz Barrio of Spain and Linnea Strom of Sweden who finished second and third respectively in the 2022 edition. There is a €300,000 cash prize for the winner.
The tournament is part of the Ladies European Tour, organised by U.COM Event. It will be preceded by the Pro-Am tournament set for February 1 at the same golf facility.
“It is a great honour for us to be hosting the European Ladies Tour for the third year. This is a spectacular global event that we feel proud about and preparations are in top gear. I want to thank Safaricom through M-PESA for their great support. They have walked with us throughout the journey since we first held our first regional tournament in 2019,” said Dirk Glittenberg, CEO, U.COM Event.
Safaricom has been the key sponsor of the event since 2019 when the tournament was first held in the country and the East African region. Last year, in the second edition, the telco offered sponsorship of Kes20 million.
Vipingo Ridge, Baobab Course in Kilifi County is a par 72 and an 18-hole Championship Golf Course. So far it is the only (UK) PGA-accredited golf course in Africa.
Since its formation in 1978, the Ladies European Tour has crowned more than 250 winners, with 700 championship trophies won by players from over 30 countries.