Wafula To Lead Kenyan Pack In Vipingo

Naomi Wafula at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open in Vipingo last year. PHOTO/ MKLO

VIPINGO, Kenya- Sensational Naomi Wafula is set to lead five Kenyans who will represent the country in the 2024 Magical Kenya Ladies Open (MKLO) scheduled for February 8- 11 at the 18-hole PGA Baobab Course in Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County.

Other players who are part of the quintet ready to battle other 108 participants from around the world in the only women’s professional golf tournament in East Africa are Mercy Nyanchama, Channelle Wangari, Jacqueline Walter, and Kellie Gachaga.

Wafula is hopeful to make the cut in the high-profile Ladies European Tour leg like she did last season, which made her the only Kenyan to have ever achieved the feat.

Kenya’s Jacqueline Walter going through her final preparations for the 2023 Magical Kenya Ladies Open at the Vipingo Ridge (Photo – Mark Runnacles LET)

“My other wish is for a respectable finish, if not lifting the trophy,” stated Wafula adding that she has prepared well and her body is in shape for the tournament.

The 26-year-old Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy golfer will be making her fourth appearance in the event, having previously featured in 2019, 2022, and 2023.

Naomi finished 56th overall last year on 18 over par 310, a performance which saw her earn an invite to play at the 2023 Amundi German Masters, a prestigious golf championship that is a part of the Ladies European Series. She also won the 2023 Kiambu Open, adding to her impressive record in 2023.

Channelle Wangari in action. PHOTO MKLO

Nyanchama, aged 28, from VetLab Sports Club will be making her fourth appearance at the tournament. With a stellar performance at the 2022 MKLO, where she emerged as the highest-ranked Kenyan, Nyanchama’s notable victories include the 2022 Kenya Amateur Match Play tournament and the 2023 Karen Ladies Open. Hailing from the Rose Naliaka Golf Academy, Nyanchama is a testament to the flourishing golf talent emerging from Kenya.

Seventeen-year-old Wangari, also from VetLab Sports Club will be making her third appearance at the tournament, having featured in 2022 and 2023. A rising star in Kenyan golf, Wangari’s accolades include securing victories at the Kenya Ladies Open Amateur Championship in 2022 and the Faldo Series Kenya Championship. She also represented Kenya at the 2018 All-Africa Junior Challenge in Morocco and earned qualification for the R&A Junior in England.

Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy golfer Walter will also be returning for her second appearance at the tournament. As a resident golfer, Walter’s enjoys familiarity with the Baobab Course and will be hoping to capitalize on it.  

Completing the Kenyan line-up will be 23-year-old Gachaga from Muthaiga Golf Club will be making her first maiden appearance. She won the Kenya Ladies Open Strokeplay and Matchplay in 2016 at only 16 years of age.

The tournament has also attracted top golfers in the Ladies European Tour including German Alexandra Försterling who won the 2023 VP Bank Swiss Ladies Open and the 2023 Mallorca Ladies Open, the 2023 Amundi German Masters champion Kristýna Napoleaová from Czech Republic, 2023 MKLO runner-up Alice Hewson from England, third-place finisher April Angurasaranee from Thailand and last year’s hole-in-one sensation, Swedish Lisa Pettersson.

The Magical Kenya Ladies Open will be the first in a series of 39 events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar – the most fixtures ever held on the Tour.

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