Five Kenyan amateur golfers are set to represent the country at the fourth edition of the Magical Kenya Ladies Open (MKLO), scheduled for February 8th to 11th, 2024 at the 18-hole PGA Baobab Course in Vipingo Ridge, Kilifi County.
The quintet, comprising Naomi Wafula, Mercy Nyanchama, Channelle Wangari, Jacqueline Walter, and Kellie Gachaga will compete in a field of 108 golfers from around the world in the only women’s professional golf tournament in East Africa.
Naomi from Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy has a rich history at the MKLO, as this marks her fourth appearance, having previously featured in 2019, 2022, and 2023. Last year, she became the first Kenyan to make the cut at the Ladies European Tour event.
Naomi finished 56th with 18 over par 310. Her performance 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.
Mercy 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, Mercy’s notable victories include the 2022 Kenya Amateur Match Play tournament and the 2023 KAREN LADIES OPEN. Hailing from the Rose Naliaka Golf Academy, Mercy is a testament to the flourishing golf talent emerging from Kenya.
Seventeen-year-old Channelle is also from VetLab Sports Club and will be making her third appearance at the tournament, having featured in 2022 and 2023. A rising star in Kenyan golf, Channelle’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 Jacqueline will also be returning for her second appearance at the tournament. As a resident golfer, Jacqueline’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 Kellie 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.