Safaricom’s mobile money service, M-PESA, has announced a Ksh26.8 million sponsorship for the third edition of the Magical Kenya Ladies Golf Open.
The Magical Kenya Ladies Open remains the only event of its kind and the highest ranked professional ladies’ tournament across the continent providing a unique opportunity for the development of upcoming female golfers in the region.
The tournament will be the first in a series of 39 golf events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar. The event is set to take place from 2nd to 5th February at Vipingo Ridge, Baobab Course in Kilifi County, with 96 players from across the world expected to take to the course in a 72-stroke competition.
Peter Ndegwa, the Safaricom CEO said they 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.”
Safaricom will further sponsor all participating Kenyan players providing both additional financial support and kitting. 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. 100 junior golfers are also set to benefit from a full-day clinic with coaching from the professional golfers.
The Kenyan team will be led by Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy star Naomi Wafula, VetLab’s Mercy Nyanchama and 16-year-old Chanelle Wangari, and Golf Park’s Nancy Wairimu. The quartet will take the course under the amateur category.
Among international golfers scheduled to participate in the tournament is defending champion, German lady professional Esther Henseleit who is back hoping to retain her Magical Kenya Ladies Open title for the third time. However, Henseleit is expected to face stiff competition from Marta Sanz Barrio of Spain and Linnea Strom of Sweden who finished second and third respectively in last year’s competition. 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.
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.