Nineteen-year-old Shannon Tan from Singapore carded a final round of 3 under par 70 for a total score of 12 under par 280 to win the 2024 Magical Kenya Ladies Open at Vipingo Ridge,Kilifi County.
The competition was the first leg of the elife Ladies European Tour,LET.
Shannon,edged out her closest challenger, Alessandra Fanali from Italy, by four shots to seal her fantastic debut win on the Tour and become Singapore’s first LET winner.
She had a hot start to her final round, holing three birdies in the first five holes before dropping a shot at the par-five sixth. She immediately recovered that shot in the par-5 seventh with a birdie, before dropping another short at the par-3 eighth to card a total of 35 on the first nine. She played bogey-free on the back nine, holing a birdie at the par-5 11th for a total of 35.
Shannon, who came to Kenya ladies Open being the first player from Singapore to secure a full LET card, went to the Lalla Aicha Q-School in Morocco in December last year for the experience but ended up finishing in the top 20, securing her full LET card and thereafter making the decision to turn pro.
Speaking after the round, she said:
“It was close until hole 16 where it was like a one-shot difference… but I stuck to my own game plan just trying to hit every fairway and every green I can. So, basically, that was my game plan throughout the whole day today.”
Commenting on her decision to turn pro golfer just before this event, she said:
“It was a tough decision to begin with, but I made the decision.”
Commenting on becoming the first winner from Singapore on the LET, she said:
“I would say I am proud. Juniors back home [now] know that it is possible, and they know anything is possible and I guess it [will] kind of push them a little bit and inspire them.”
Commenting on her next steps, she said:
“I will I go into every event with the same mindset and target; just trying to do my best and control what can be controlled; so, I will just try and stick to my game plan throughout the whole season.”
For her outstanding performance in Vipingo, Shannon received KES 7.9 million (€45,000), earn 500 LET order of merit points, and qualify to play at next week’s prestigious Saudi Ladies International.
Second place finisher 24-year-old Alessandra Fanali played level par 37 on the first nine courtesy of birdies at the second and the seventh holes and bogeys at the fifth and the eighth. She made a steady start to the back nine, playing bogey-free through the first five holes before holing a birdie at the par-5 15th. She, however, dropped consecutive shots at the 16th and 17th holes for a score of 1-over par 74 for the day; taking her total for the tournament to 8-under par 284.
Alessandra was awarded KES 4.7 million (€27,000) and earn 320 order of merit points and will also take part at next week’s Saudi Ladies tournament.
Speaking after the round, Alessandra – who has five previous top-ten finishes in the Tour – said:
“It has been a very good week for me. I am very proud of myself, honestly, I came into this week, as I said before, just to try and test my game and see where I was so, I am very happy about it. I tried it, I gave myself a chance, but my putts didn’t really want to go in so, it’s okay. Next week is another week and we’ll see what’s going to happen in the next few weeks.
“I think just a couple of more putts would have dropped and it was going to be a lot easier for me to catch up some shots in the last holes but, it is what it is, and probably it wasn’t meant for me, but it’s fine.
“I am very proud, as I said, of my game: I am hitting shots very well, irons off the tee, my short game is very good, my putting is very good so, I am just very happy about it. A good week for the start of the season.”
There was a five-way share for third place featuring Belgium’s Manon De Roey, Spain’s Ana Pelaez Trivino, England’s Alice Hewson, Chiara Tamburlini from Switszerland and Nataliya Guseva – who all ended their challenge in Vipingo with scores of 4-under par 288 to complete the podium places.
A total of 108 players including six kenyans took part in the fourth edition of the event.