It's time for the start of the 2023 LET season which kicks off at the iconic Magical Kenya Ladies Open

The Ladies European Tour (LET) season gets underway this week marking the start of the 2023 Race to Costa del Sol with the Magical Kenya Ladies Open taking place at Vipingo Ridge.

The Race to Costa del Sol, which is the official LET ranking, offers a €250,000 bonus pool to the top three finishers. The Race begins in Kenya with the first of 30 LET tournaments spanning 21 countries in a record-breaking 2023 LET schedule and concludes with the Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España in Spain in late November.

Linn Grant was crowned winner of the third edition of the Race to Costa del Sol following in the footsteps of Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen. In her rookie season on Tour, the 23-year-old clinched four titles and only finished outside the top 10 in individual events on four occasions.

Grant became the fifth player to win both the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season, while she also voted Players’ Player of the Year and climbed to a career-high of 24 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Defending Champion Henseleit trying to make it three in a row in Kenya

Grant won't be teeing it up this week but Esther Henseleit has returned to the scene of her two Ladies European Tour (LET) victories and is looking forward to the 2023 Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

The German secured a one-shot victory back in 2019 at Vipingo Ridge with a final round of 64 to secure the Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles.

While she enjoyed another visit at the start of 2022 winning again by one-shot as she successfully defended her title.

And the 24-year-old is aiming to replicate that success once again as she takes on the Baobab Course in Kenya.

Esther Henseleit
Esther Henseleit - image credit Mark Runnacles/LET

“It’s great to be back, I have many great memories here,” she said. “The first year was pretty special winning the Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles here.

“Then coming back and defending my title was pretty cool. Of course, I came here to defend my title again, there’s no reason why I can’t.”

The defending champion will tee it up at 13.20 local time in round one alongside Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson and Austria’s Christine Wolf.

Henseleit finished 44th in the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol and continues to split her time between playing on the LET and in the United States.

But what makes Vipingo Ridge and Kenya so special and somewhere the two-time LET winner feels as home?

She explained: “I think it’s just a really nice atmosphere, it almost feels a bit like a holiday when you come here. Everyone stays on the resort and it’s just a nice atmosphere.

“Plus, the course suits my game. You have to hit it pretty straight off the tee, which I do. You have to be precise with your irons which is a strength of mine. I guess it just suits my game.”

Winter preparation has gone well

With it being the first tournament back after the off-season, it is always difficult to know exactly where your game is at.

However, Henseleit believes she put in some good work over winter especially on her irons and hopes to find out more on the fairways this week.

She added: “I feel pretty good about my game. It’s always hard to say when it’s your first tournament in a couple of months but I’ve worked hard over the off-season.

“I think my irons are pretty good, I’ve done a lot of work with my coach on them, and they have been really good the last couple of weeks in practice, I’m looking forward to that. I don’t feel like there’s a weakness in my game at the moment. I’m sure we will find out.”

This week there will be 96 players taking part in a 72 holes, stroke play event with a cut to top-60 professionals and ties after 36 holes. The prize fund is €300,000.

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