Nineteen year old Shannon Tan wins her first professional title at the 2024 Magical Kenya Ladies Open
Shannon Tan created history at the 2024 Magical Kenya Ladies Open becoming first Singaporean to win on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
The 19-year-old started the day in a share of the lead alongside Italy’s Alessandra Fanali on nine-under-par at Vipingo Ridge.
Tan rolled in birdies on holes two, three and five to put herself in pole position before dropping a shot on the sixth.
However, she made another birdie on seven before making a bogey on the eighth and her final birdie came on 11 for a round of 70 (-3) to seal a four-shot victory with a total of 12-under-par.
“It was quite close between us until hole 16, there was only one or two shots difference the whole time,” said Tan. “It was a good battle she gave me.
“I still stuck to my gameplan throughout. I just tried to hit every fairway and every green I can – that was my gameplan throughout the whole day and that’s how it stayed.”
Excellent start for the LET rookie
The teenager secured her full LET card at Lalla Aicha Q-School in December while still an amateur and was making her first start on the LET as a pro.
In the build up to this week, Tan had been in Australia, where she finished second at the Jan 18-21 Webex Players Series’ Murray River in New South Wales in January and eighth last week's Vic Open in Victoria.
It is the second professional victory for Tan in her career, after she won the Singapore Ladies Masters on the China LPGA Tour in July 2023, but her first since turning professional.
She explained: “It was a tough decision to begin with but I’m glad I made it now! It’s a good thing because juniors back home know it’s possible and that anything is possible, and it can push them a little bit and inspire them.
“I will go into every event with the same mindset and target and just trying to do my best and just control the controllables. I can’t control what other people do, but just what I can do. I will just try to stick to my gameplan throughout the season.”
Alessandra Fanali takes second place
Italy’s Alessandra Fanali finished in second place in the season-opener having produced a round of 74 (+1) on the final day.
The Italian started with a birdie on the second but soon made a bogey on the fifth, she then went birdie-bogey on holes seven and eight.
Fanali made another birdie on 15 but back-to-back bogeys on 16 and 17 put an end to her hopes of a first LET victory.
“It’s been a very good week for me, I’m very proud of myself,” said Fanali. “I came into this week just trying to test my game and see where I was.
“I tried. I gave myself a chance but my putts didn’t really want to go in. It’s okay, next week is another week, and we will see what’s going to happen.
“A couple more putts would have dropped and it would have been a lot easier to catch up some shots on the last holes, but it is what it is. It probably was meant to be for me, but it’s fine.
“I’m very proud of my game, I’m hitting shots very well. My irons, off the tee, my short game was very good and putting was very good as well. I’m very happy, it was a good week to start the season and we will keep it for the next couple of weeks on the road.”
The rest of the field
Five players ended the week in a share of third place with Manon De Roey, Ana Peláez Trivino, Alice Hewson, Nataliya Guseva and Chiara Tamburlini all on four-under-par.
It was an emotional day for Tamburlini, who carded a round of 72 which included six birdies, three bogeys and one double bogey.
There were two spots up for grabs for next week’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF with Tan securing the first spot and after countback, it was Tamburlini who got the final place ahead of Guseva.
Two-time LETAS winner said: “I’m very overwhelmed right now. It’s been incredible. I had quite the bumpy finish, but I was able to get myself together again. It was an amazing experience to be here and to be in contention and playing with all the other players.
“It’s incredible having just started my professional career and being able to play in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International. Deep down that has been my goal for this week, I felt it was too ambitious but the fact it came true was too sweet.”
Three players finished in a tie for eighth place with two-time LET winner Alexandra Försterling alongside rookies Sofie Kibsgaard Nielsen and Aunchisa Utama.
Just outside the top 10 was Germany’s Laura Fuenfstueck who fired the round of the day with a 67 (-6).
Next week the LET heads to Riyadh for the Aramco Saudi Ladies International presented by PIF which takes place from February 15-18.