At Vipingo Ridge
India’s Aditi Ashok grabbed an early first round lead in the 2023 Magical Kenya Ladies Open at the now par 73 Vipingo Ridge Golf Resort’s Baobab course, after firing six under par 67 in an interesting round which saw the 24-year-old Indian professional golfer from Bangalore lead by four shots.
What a beautiful day it was for Ashok, who made her Olympic Games debut at the 2016 Rio Olympics and went on to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics representing India where she finished fourth.
She begun the opening round of this year’s Magical Kenya Ladies Open with birdies on holes two, five and six, eagled the par five-seventh and wound up the front nine with a birdie three at the ninth, recovering from an earlier bogey at the third and later on at the 11th. Birdies at the 11th and 13th and pars for the remaining holes of the back nine, was all she needed to open the four-shot lead from Thailand’s April Angurasaranee.
The Thai player who started from the 10th tee, birdied the 10th, 11th, and 15th, bogeyed the 14th, then at the front nine, she managed to collect birdies from the second, seventh and eighth though with a double bogey six at the fifth hole.
Meanwhile Italy’s Virginia Elena Carta and five other players were also on two under par 71. Carta’s round included four birdies at the front nine and two at the back nine. Two double-bogeys at the 14th and 16th denied the Italian a possible better score.
The others with 71 were Ana Pelaez Trivino of Spain, Kyle Henry from Scotland, Isabella Deilert of Sweden and Smilla Tarning of Denmark.
It was however a tough day for defending champion Germany’s Esther Henseleit who tied for 41st place with among others Kenya’s Channelle Wangari on four over par 77. The defending champion made only two birdies at the second and 11th holes, dropping shots thereafter at the ninth, 14th and 15th, a double at the 16th and a single one at the 17th.
Wangari on the other hand, started the day well rolling in birdies at the second, seventh and ninth though it was at the back nine particularly the last three holes where Wangari bogeyed the last three holes for her 77. The other leading Kenyan amateur Naomi Wafula was on 79.
“I started the day well, but the last three holes were not very impressive, though I am happy for this opportunity and I must thank Safaricom for supporting us play in this tournament. I hope to try and better my scores in the second round tomorrow,’’ said the 16-year-old Wangari.