Nyali Golf and Country Club pro golfer, Bhavi Shah, is set to headline the Kenyan contingent’s charge when the 2022 Magical Kenya Ladies Open tees off from the 10th to the 13th of February at the 18-hole PGA Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County.
Bhavi, who will be returning to the tournament having taken part in the event’s debut season in 2019, will be flying the Kenyan flag alongside four amateurs – Naomi Wafula, Mercy Nyanchama, Chanelle Wangari, and Faith Chemutai.
Naomi and Mercy will also be making their sophomore outings at the tournament, with Chanelle and Faith being debutants this year. Naomi finished the event as the highest-ranked Kenyan in 2019, having carded a total of 13-over par 157 after 36 holes to finish tied in 87th.
On her part, Bhavi ended her maiden Ladies European Tour (LET) campaign tied in 98th and will be looking for a more robust finish this year. Commenting on the forthcoming event, she said:
“I am very excited that the Magical Kenya Ladies Open is back after a two-year break. I would like to thank all the sponsors and the hosts, Vipingo Ridge, for making the event possible and extending a special invite. I started preparing for this event late last year – a structured gym routine, some range work, and sharpening the short game. It will be a very competitive event, and being the first event of the year will set a tone for the tour. I am looking forward to our beautiful country being showcased and the local talent getting a chance to put our game to the test too.”
Bhavi, who for the second time will be the only Kenyan pro golfer at the event, will be hoping to floor a host of other participants drawn from different countries, including Germany, Spain, India, France, Finland, England, South Africa, among others.
Naomi – a former Kenya National Ladies Golf champion – is savouring the challenge ahead: “I am glad that I will be participating and competing amongst some of the top female golfers in the world at a Ladies European Tour event. I am currently down at Vipingo practising for the event, and I am ready and looking forward to it. I thank Vipingo Ridge, Kenya Ladies Golf Union, the Government, Magical Kenya, and all the sponsors for making this happen and for all the support,” she said.
15-year-old Chanelle will be looking to carry her recent top form into the event, having been crowned the 2021 Ladies Amateur Match Play Champion in September at an event held at her home club, Vet Lab Sports Club in Nairobi. The win came on the backdrop of yet another triumph in February that year when she was crowned the Kabete Ladies Open.
Naomi, Chanelle, Faith and Mercy have all been receiving support from Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy with custom club fittings as well as coaching of swing mechanics using the Academy’s high-tech launch monitor as part of a program with the Kenya Ladies Golf Union to support Kenya’s homegrown talent.
A field of 96 players will take to the course for a chance to be crowned the LET 2022 season opener winner at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. Golf fans and enthusiasts will follow their favourite golfers at the course, following consultations with both the Kenyan Government and the LET – under which the tournament is organised.
Spectators can purchase tickets to the four-day tournament, the only women’s professional golf competition in the East African region. Tickets are available online on ticketsasa.com and are retailing for KES 500 per day.
COVID-19 protocols that govern public events in Kenya will be strictly applied for the safety and health of fans and players. Only fully vaccinated spectators will be allowed to access the venue