Georgia Oboh: Nigeria’s first Ladies European Tour player

She told CNN Sport: “To see someone who looks like me play at the highest level and is still doing so now is quite inspirational.

“For Naomi Osaka, she’s part of a new generation of tennis stars and elite athletes. I only really connect with her in the sense that we’re trying to break through in all of it. all sports.”

Like Williams and Osaka, Oboh is a teen prodigy.

Earning her spot on the Ladies European Tour (LET) at just 17 years old, Oboh became the first Nigerian to qualify for the tour.

Now, she wants to qualify for the Olympic Games and become the best golfer in the world.

“Becoming number one in the world is a long-term goal,” she said. “I think in the short term, I’m really looking forward to potentially playing a major or two even this year, improving my rankings and eventually competing on the LPGA Tour.”

Oboh played his second shot on the 18th hole in the second round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Head up

Georgia was born in the city of Manchester, in the north of England, and her parents played an important role in her learning to play golf as a child.

Her father was introduced to the game by his grandmother. Then he took his wife to play, and it wasn’t long before six-year-old Georgia picked up her first golf club.

She has moved around, played at different golf clubs and learned new skills and experiences, which she believes have set her firmly on her journey to becoming a pro.

“I ended up having to compete with girls and boys,” the 20-year-old recalls.

“And finally, I started playing the US Children’s European Championship and then the US Children’s World Championship, which I won at the age of 14, and then I played most of his junior golf, to be honest, in America.

“So I’ve spent a lot of summers and winters abroad. And I like to think I’ve had a lot of experience playing golf in different countries and in different weather.”

Oboh’s last appearance as an amateur golfer was at the age of 17 when she traveled to Buenos Aires in Argentina for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, finishing in 22nd place.

After a successful middle school career in which she won many honors, Oboh enrolled in a school that qualified for LET. After making it past the previous qualifiers, she had to anxiously wait on the final day of the actual event to earn her pro card.

“On the last hole, I had a par putt that I should have taken,” she recalls.

“I took that last shot, and then it was like a wait-and-see game to see if I could make the cut. So it moved on to the last shots of some bridges. other players but, at the end of the day, I was finally able to cut and get my card.”

Oboh turned pro in November 2018 and now hopes to appear in a major or two this year as well as “improve my status and build my foundation.”

Oboh goes to her second shot on the second hole in the first round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Game development

LET description itself a “diverse and multicultural member of 316 professional golfers representing 36 countries”, but there have been calls from tour players like Inci Mehmet for more programs to increase diversity in golf.

“My main concern is playing the best I can,” says Oboh as she ponders the issue of diversity in golf. “I’ve been to countries all over the world. But I don’t try and let things like the color of my skin or my gender stop me from getting where I need or want to.”

While golf is part of the culture in many parts of the world, in Africa – aside from South Africa – it remains a sport new to the continent.

South Africa has produced successful talents such as Ernie Els, Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oostuizen on the south side and Sally Little on the female side.

But due to a lack of “investment and development” at the grassroots levels of golf, other African countries have been unable to produce great golfers.

Oboh prepares to compete in the 54th Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championships.

Oboh chose to represent the UK but chose Nigeria instead due to a connection to her heritage. She says her home ground is the 1938 Ikoyi Club in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, and has won several awards in the country. She even won her first professional tournament on her professional debut at the Cote D’Ivoire Open.

As the first Nigerian to compete in the LET, Oboh was aware that her winning the Tour was “an achievement”.

But she hopes that she can be an example to others, rather than a lightning bolt in the pan for Nigerian golf.

“I don’t want to be the last Nigerian. We have some girls on the wing who will probably be ready in five to seven years,” she said.

“So hopefully by then it’s going to be a different story. But being able to get a Tour membership is an achievement in itself. And I don’t consider myself the first to do it. hey, the first to do it. Yeah, I’d put it on the list of achievements, but I’ve set my sights on the next generation.” | Georgia Oboh: Nigeria’s first Ladies European Tour player


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