Ladies European Tour Order of Merit: Esther Henseleit wins first title

Esther Henseleit smiles holding a giraffe-shaped trophy after winning the Magical Kenya Ladies Open
Esther Henseleit took her first professional victory at the Skafto Open in June
Magical Kenya Ladies Open final leaderboard
-14 E Henseleit (Ger); -13 A Ashok (Ind); -11 J Engstrom (Swe); -6 C Woods (US); -5 A Vayson de Pradenne (Fra)
Selected others:-3 G Dryburgh (Sco); Level K Henry (Sco)

Germany's Esther Henseleit secured her first Ladies European Tour Order of Merit title by hitting a course record to win the Magical Kenya Ladies Open.

The 20-year-old started the final round seven shots off overnight leader Julia Engstrom of Sweden.

But an eight-under-par 64 saw Henseleit end on 14 under at Vipingo Ridge, one shot ahead of India's Aditi Ashok, as Engstrom carded a 74 to finish third.

Henseleit was also named Ladies European Tour rookie of the year.

"To close the season with a win is the best feeling I could imagine," she said.

"To be the Order of Merit winner and rookie of the year is just unbelievable."

Victory at the inaugural event in Kenya saw her overtake Norway's Marianne Skarpnord to finish the year as European number one, while Austria's Christine Wolf was third.

Henseleit is the first German to win either the Order of Merit or rookie of the year and is only the third golfer to win both in the same season, after England's Laura Davies in 1985 and Spain's Carlota Ciganda in 2012.

She started with five birdies in the first nine holes to trail 2018 rookie of the year Engstrom, 18, by only two shots at the turn.

A further three birdies and a run of three pars to finish saw Henseleit hold off Ashok, while Engstrom ended with two birdies and four bogeys to close on 11 under, three shots off Henseleit.

England's Meghan MacLaren was the highest-placed British player in the Order of Merit standings in fifth place.

The Ladies European Tour Order of Merit will be renamed the Race to Costa del Sol from next year, with a bonus prize fund of 250,000 euros (£210,000) to be split between the top three finishers.

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