Kenya is setting the stage to welcome back the Magical Kenya Ladies Open slated for February 2023 as a season opener of the prestigious Ladies European Tour (LET).

Two-time champion, Germany’s Esther Henseleit, is set to return to Vipingo Ridge in Kilifi County, to defend her Magical Kenya Ladies Open title against 95 other professional players.

The game will act as head-start for the Race to Costa del Sol with organisers, U.COM and Vipingo, saying preparations for the spectacular event were well on course.

The February 2023 tournament will be the third time Kenya is hosting the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, which is the only women's professional golf competition in East Africa.

MKLO tournament is will be held on February 2-5 on the 18-hole Baobab Course, which is Africa’s only PGA-accredited golf course, and preceded by a Pro-Am on February 1, 2023.

Esther Henseleit celebrating her MKLO win in February 2022. PHOTO/IMG

The event was first held at the end of 2019 and a second one in February 2022 after a Covid-initiated break and the tournament will feature pro golfers from many different countries.

The participating players will include a selection of leading Kenyan golfers, at the invitation of the LET, and will include Vipingo Ridge’s PGA Academy star Naomi Wafula.

Naomi Wafula. PHOTO/MKLO

“I’m really looking forward to going back to Kenya and defending my title. It’s a special place for me because it’s where I won my first professional tournament and I’ve always found there’s a great atmosphere with many friendly faces. A great way to start the season!,” said Henseleit.

U.COM CEO Dirk Glittenberg expressed confidence Kenya will host a great tournament next year.

“Kenya is very special to us. To be able to secure the official kick-off season event in this incredible country once again is a fantastic opportunity. We are very excited to keep growing our enthusiastic family of sponsors and fans,” said Glittenberg.

Esther Henseleit receiving her MKLO trophy from then First lady Margaret Kenyatta. PHOTO/IMG

Vipingo Ridge’s Chairman Alastair Cavenagh intimated that the world-class course is looking forward to hosting the event.

“Kenya has proven that we can put on world-class golf events and I am delighted that Vipingo Ridge can play its part for a third time in hosting these talented sportswomen from so many countries. We know millions of fans will be watching the action in February and so we’ll be sure to put on a great show to ensure our magical destination gets the attention it deserves,” concluded Glittenberg.

On her part, LET CEO Alexandra Armas says the Magical Kenya Ladies Open offers the players a chance to kick-start the 2023 LET season, the first event on the Race to Costa del Sol.

Alexandra Armas. PHOTO/LET

“Our players love the magnificent Baobab Course and the unique safari-like atmosphere at Vipingo Ridge and many of our members will be returning for the third edition of the tournament. We can’t wait to start what will be a busy and exciting year on the LET,” she said.

The Magical Kenya Ladies Open will be the first in a series of 39 events on the Ladies European Tour 2023 calendar, which presents the most fixtures ever held on the Tour.