Georgia Oboh: the first Nigerian player of the Ladies European Tour


“To see someone who looked like me play at such a high level and still does now was pretty inspiring,” she told CNN Sport.

“For Naomi Osaka, she is part of the new generation of tennis stars and top athletes. I really connect with her in the sense that we are trying to break into all sports.”

Much like Williams and Osaka, Oboh was a teenage prodigy.

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

Now she wants to qualify for the Olympics and become the best golfer in the world.

“Being No. 1 in the world is a long-term goal,” she said. “I think in the short term I would be really looking forward to potentially playing one or two major tournaments even this year, improving my ranking and possibly playing on the LPGA Tour.”

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

Road up

Georgia was born in Manchester, in the north of England, and her parents were instrumental in her learning to golf from an early age.

His father was introduced to the game by his grandmother. He then had his wife play and it didn’t take long for six-year-old Georgia to wave her first golf club.

She has moved, played in different golf clubs and gained new skills and experiences, which she believes has been very helpful on her journey to becoming a professional.

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

“And eventually I started playing the US Kids European Championship, then the US Kids World Championship, which I won when I was 14, then I played most of my junior golf, to be honest, in America. .

“So I spent a lot of my summers and winters abroad. And I like to think that I have 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, Argentina for the Youth Olympic Games in 2018, finishing tied for 22nd place .

After a successful junior career, during which she won numerous trophies, Oboh entered a qualifying school for LET. After passing the pre-qualifier, she had a nervous wait on the last day of the event itself to earn her pro card.

“At the last hole, I had a normal putt that would have put me on the edge of the knife,” she recalls.

“I made that final putt and then it was kind of a waiting game to see if I was going to make the cut or not. So it came down to the last strokes of some of the other players but, to at the end of the day I was able to make the cut and get my card at the end. “

Oboh turned pro in November 2018 and is now hoping to appear in one or two majors this year as well as “improving my status and building my foundation”.

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Oboh is heading for his second shot on the second hole in the first round of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

Grow the game

LET describes itself as “a diverse and multicultural membership of 316 professional golfers representing 36 countries,” but players on the tour, such as Inci Mehmet, have called for more programs to increase diversity in golf.

“My main concern was playing the best I could,” Oboh said as she reflected on the issue of diversity in golf. “I have been to countries all over the world. But I don’t try to let things like the color of my skin or my gender stop me from going where I need to be or want to be.”

While golf is part of the culture in many corners of the world, in Africa – outside of South Africa – it is still a new sport on the continent.

South Africa has produced successful talents such as big winners Ernie Els, Gary Player, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oostuizen on the men and Sally Little on the women.

But for lack of “investment and development” at the junior level of golf, other African countries have not been able to produce golfers of the same caliber.

Oboh prepares to play at the 54th Orange Bowl International Junior Golf Championship.

Oboh was given the choice to represent the UK but instead chose Nigeria because of its connection to its heritage. She says her home class is the 1938 Ikoyi Club in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, and has won several awards in the country. She even won her first professional tournament on her professional debut at the Ivory Coast Open.

As the first Nigerian to play on the LET, Oboh knows her achievement to reach the Tour is “an achievement”.

But she hopes she can be an example for others, rather than a flash in the pan for Nigerian golf.

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“I don’t want to be the last Nigerian. We have girls behind the scenes, who are probably getting ready in five to seven years,” she said.

“So I hope that by then it will be a different story. But being able to be a member of the Tour is in itself an achievement. And I don’t consider myself the first to do this, the first to do it. do. Yes, I’ll put it on the accomplishments list, but I set my goals for the next generation. ”

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