Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie and former Peel Golf Club star Ana Dawson made a successful start to her professional career in Africa this week with a strong performance in Mombasa at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. Despite being one of the lower rated players in the field, Ana defied the rankings and showed the same grit and determination that carried her through Qualifying School (Q School) at the end of 2022 to overcome a shaky start and force herself into the Top 60 and ties needed to make the 2-day cut and ensure that she played all 4 rounds in her first professional event. For comparison, former World Number 1 and US Open Champion Justin Rose took 16 events to make his first cut.
The event was a great introduction to life on Tour for Ana, as the travel and flights for the 22 hour trip from UK to Kenya meant that she arrived virtually in the middle of the night. As well as acclimatising to the heat and humidity of the Kenyan weather, she had to reset her body-clock and alter her preparation regime to fit in with the Tour schedule, including the practice round constraints, and still ensure that she was fit and ready to tee it up a few days later. As well as the tough course, another thing that the players had to contend with was the wildlife on the fairways. It’s clearly not in the Peel Golf Club local rules as to whether you get a free drop from a Zebra!
After a scrappy first 9 holes, there was a real risk of a premature end to Ana’s participation in her first event. However, she displayed the sort of resilience that secured her victory in the international Faldo Series and saw her through Q School last year, to play a solid second 9 on day one, and then shoot level par – one of the best rounds of the day – on Day 2 to ensure that she qualified for the final 2 days and guaranteed a pay check for her efforts. Another fine 18 holes on the final day saw Ana finish just outside the Top 50, but with some really valuable experience to take forward to the rest of the season.
“Rolling in a 60ft putt for par on the 18th hole, to make the cut in my European tour debut is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget! It was an amazing experience and I already can’t wait for my next event to try and improve on this result.” – Ana Dawson
Ana’s next outing will either be in South Africa or in Spain at the start of March, depending on entries.