- Henseleit had trailed overnight leader Linnea Strom heading to Sunday
- She has now won back to back titles at Vipingo
- The Magical Kenya Ladies Open is part of the European Tour
Germany’s Esther Henseleit put up a remarkable comeback on the final day of competition to retain her Magical Kenya Ladies Open title at the Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi on Sunday.
Henseleit had come into the final round placed third after Saturday’s tee, but she put up a superb display to clinch the title for a second consecutive time.
She carded a round of 70 to end her campaign at the event with a 2-under par 286 score to claim the championship.
The final day turned out to be dramatic as the German international who was trailing Sweden’s Linnea Strom for the better part of the day rallied her shots to close the gap and claim the prestigious title.
She carded a round of 33 in the first nine and 37 in the second to finish the day with a total of 70, adding to her 74, 73 and 69 rounds in the first three rounds respectively to finish with 286.
Henseleit, who won the inaugural Magical Kenya Ladies Open tournament in 2019, takes home 45,000 Euros (Sh5.8mn) for her efforts. The tournament was the season opener for the 2022 Ladies European Tour, with a total prize purse of €300,000 (Sh38mn).
“At the first, I just put my drive a little bit left and was blocked to the green. I hit a good shot into the green but couldn’t make a par putt. Then I played pretty well and holed some good long putts and kept it together. In the end, it was a bit of a struggle, but I made it, and I am pretty proud of my last few holes. I have been struggling with the putter a lot over the last one and a half. Years so it’s pretty cool that held the last one,” she said after the win.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, who graced the event’s final day, noted the tournament plays a crucial role in developing golf in the country.
“It is an honour for Kenya to be hosting this prestigious Ladies Open after a two-year interruption following the Covid-19 Pandemic. We are proud that in 2020, Kenya was voted as the best golf destination in Africa at the World Golf Awards. This tournament, therefore, is another indication of Kenya’s diligence and commitment to hosting world-class sporting events,” she said.
On her part, Sports Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed hinted at considerations to increase the tournament’s prize money to raise its profile on the global scene.
“I urge all sponsors of this tournament to up this figure because it is essential that we appreciate the international golfers who come to play here. As the government and title sponsors of the tournament, we shall continue to support this tournament and pledge also to increase our money for this event,” said Amina.
Tourism & Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala urged the Ladies European Tour to make the tournament a permanent feature, noting that it plays a key role in positioning the country as a top golfing and tourism destination.
“We want this event to be an annual event that continues even beyond this government. We have laid the foundation, and I urge that the funding is raised so that the tournament can attract more international players golfers to come and play.”