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Top lady golfers head to Mombasa’s Vipingo

Noemi Martin Jimenez
International golfer Noemi Martin Jimenez prepares to tee off during the Ladies Invitational Golf Tournament held at Vipingo Ridge in February. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT 

The Ladies European Tour (LET), one of the world’s leading golf tours for women, is coming to the Kenyan Coast. From December 5 to 8, and at the Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge, LET’s top 108 professional golfers will battle it out for a total prize kitty of over Sh33 million. The winner will take home about Sh5 million.

Entries for the championship closed this past week and 108 players have confirmed their participation. They include Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, who is currently ranked first on the LET Order of Merit. Skarpnord has had a mixed season; she was victorious at the Ladies Classic in Bonville, Australia, finished second at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Open in Abu Dhabi and at the Hero Women’s Indian Open. She has finished top-10 in another six events.

Esther Henseleit of Germany, who is second on the Order of Merit, has not tasted victory this season. She finished runner up at the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic, at the La Reserva De Sotogrande, the Ladies European Thailand Championship and at the Estrella Damm Ladies Open. She came up third at the Investec SA Women’s Open. Henseleit, who plays her golf at the Hamburger Golf Club, will be seeking to dethrone Skarpnord at the top of the LET Order of Merit.

Other top players making the trip to Vipingo Ridge include Christine Wolf of Austria, Meghan Maclaren of England, Olivia Cowan and Laura Fuenfstueck from Germany and Carly Booth from Scotland. They are ranked 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th respectively on the LET Order of Merit. Wolf, Booth and MacLaren have all been victorious this season.

African players who will be teeing it up in Vipingo include Nigeria’s Georgia Iziemgbe Oboh, Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini, Stacy Lee Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite from South Africa and Maha Haddioui from Morocco. Lakareber Abe, an American with roots in Uganda, will also be in the field.

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Kenyan players to the Magical Kenya Ladies Open are yet to be announced.

Action at Vipingo Ridge kicks off with the Pro-Am on Wednesday December 4. According to the organisers, the ProAm has already been sold out. The championship will run from December 5-8 and entry tickets are already on sale for Sh1,000 as a daily entry fee.

The Baobab Course at Vipingo Ridge was designed by renown golf course architect David Jones who curved it on a ridge overlooking a the Indian Ocean on one side and a huge dam on the other.

The Baobab, a par-72 18-hole course, is Africa's first and only PGA-accredited course.

See you in Vipingo!

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