It may have been Aditi Ashok that stole the headlines with a barnstorming performance at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, but further down the leaderboard there was a story that was just as special at Vipingo Ridge. 

The hopes of Kenyan golf have been spearheaded by Naomi Wafula in recent history, and this weekend saw her become the first Kenyan to ever make the cut in an LET event – a feat which is representative of the meteoric rise of golf in the African country. 

Rounds of 79 and 76 put the home favourite at +9 after her first 36 holes, as she was left with a nervous wait to see if she would make it into the weekend with the cut mark meandering between +8 and +10 for much of the afternoon. 

But her efforts were rewarded as the cut fell at +9, as she made history in front of her home crowd, before ending the week in 56th position on +18 in an experience she will cherish for a lifetime. 

“It’s very exciting for me, because I’ve spent the whole year working really hard – going to the gym and playing on the golf course all the time – so I am really happy that I was able to achieve my goal this year,” Wafula said. 

“I’ve enjoyed it because I’ve been working on my mentality as well and doing a lot of meditation. So I think it’s a great thing because I’m always trying to give motivation to all the junior golfers out there, I’ve enjoyed it a lot. 

“I’m also really grateful for everyone that has supported me and worked with me throughout all of this.”

Wafula’s enthusiasm for the game has proved infectious throughout the week at Vipingo Ridge, with the LET stars keen to lend a hand and share tips with the talented amateur whenever they get the opportunity. 

The 25-year-old is testament to the work put into the sport in Kenya, including Saleem Haji, the Director of Golf at Vipingo Ridge, who caddied for Wafula throughout the four rounds on the Baobab Course last week. 

This was the third time the Kenyan talent had performed in her home event, having also played in the 2019 and 2022 tournaments, with last week’s winner Ashok also catching the eye with a second-placed finish four years ago. 

The Indian star caught Wafula’s eye with that performance and she has followed her career ever since, so to be paired with the eventual champion for the first 36 holes of this year’s tournament was something of a fairytale story.

She continued: “It’s been amazing to mix with the tour players and the fact that I played with amazing people all four rounds is great. 

“The first two rounds I played with Aditi Ashok and that was amazing because I’ve been following her since 2019 so that was a great pleasure. From day one I’ve been having a lot of fun.”

After making her first cut in an LET event Wafula has her sights set on even more success in her golfing career, with a permanent place on tour the ultimate dream.

“My hopes now are that I want to get more invites to tournaments outside Kenya so I can get more ranking points and to go to Q-School this year.”

Four other Kenyans also took part at Vipingo Ridge last week, with amateurs Mercy Nyanchama, Jacquelyne Walter and Nancy Wairimu all participating, with compatriot Chanelle Wangari coming closest to making the cut at +12. 

And after making history last week, you can rest assured we’ll be seeing plenty more of the Kenyan superstars in the coming years, the future of golf in the African country is as bright as it’s ever been.