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Dagar aiming for Investec SA Women’s Open double

24 December 2019 – Defending champion Diksha Dagar is eager to recreate the performance that propelled her to instant stardom when she takes up her title defence in the Investec South African Women’s Open from 12-14 March 2020. The 18-year-old deaf golfer became the youngest Indian woman to win on the distinguished Ladies European Tour with a popular and emotional maiden victory last March. In a stellar amateur career, during which she won silver at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics and represented India at the 2018 Asian Games, Dagar earned a reputation for her brand of fearless and aggressive golf. The left-hander entertained the crowds on the final day of the Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece when she edged out three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace with a three-under-par 69. A one-shot triumph in just her fourth start in the paid ranks was a dream debut for the New Delhi rookie, who is ready to draw on the fond memories of her last visit to Westlake Golf Club as she bids for a second career win. “The Investec South African Women's Open is very special to me and will always remain so for the rest of my life, being my first professional win," Dagar said. “For me, this Ladies European Tour event happens to be the door to a world of golfing opportunities and I would love to come back and play the Westlake golf course. Greetings and best wishes to the sponsors, Investec, the Sunshine Ladies Tour, organisers and everyone associated with the event.” The Investec South African Women’s Open, established by the Women’s PGA of South Africa (WPGA) in 1988, is the oldest and most prestigious professional women’s golf tournament in South Africa. The 2020 edition, hosted by the City of Cape Town at Westlake Golf Club for a third successive year, will offer prize money of €200 000 (approximately R3 160 288). Chair of the Women’s PGA of South Africa Margie Whitehouse said: “The Investec South African Women’s Open is our flagship event and the 32nd anniversary coincides with the sixth time we are co-sanctioning this event with the Ladies European Tour. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation once again to Investec for not only their title sponsorship, but also for all they are doing for women’s golf, as well as to the City of Cape Town for their continued support.” Westlake Golf Club might be a happy hunting ground for Dagar, but following the new joint venture between the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour, the stakes have been significantly raised in 2020. “It’s very exciting to be part of the Investec South African Women’s Open and we are extremely proud to continue our collaboration with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA,” said Ladies European Tour Acting CEO Alexandra Armas. “We would like to recognise the important contribution of Investec and the City of Cape Town, whose support is providing a platform that aids the promotion and development of talented women in sport. “We recently announced a new joint venture partnership with the LPGA and have already seen a dramatic impact on our 2020 schedule – an impact that will benefit all local and international players who compete in LET sanctioned tournaments, allowing them to pursue their dreams through the game of golf.” Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan believes the collaboration between the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and the Ladies European Tour significantly elevates the status of the event and golf development in Southern Africa. “The 2020 champion will not only walk away with the lion’s share of the prize money and Rolex World Golf Ranking points, but will also earn a Tournament Winner’s Category Exemption on the Ladies European Tour for the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 season, as well as exemption into the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship,” Nathan said. “These incentives befit the status of the WPGA’s flagship event and we sincerely hope that one of our Sunshine Ladies Tour members will step up to the challenge in our season finale to secure a major boost for her career.” Lesley Copeman from promoters World Sports Promotions commended all the parties involved in elevating the status of the national championship to a world-class event. “Partnering with the Ladies European Tour ensures that the WPGA and Sunshine Ladies Tour present a world-class championship with the strength of the field through the greater depth of the international players currently competing in Europe,” Copeman said. “We are very pleased that Investec and the City of Cape Town continue to back our flagship event, taking it from strength to strength. Not only do our South African golf enthusiasts get to watch high quality women’s golf, but we also have the opportunity to showcase Cape Town, one of the best travel destinations in the world, to our international guests.” City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato said the City of Cape Town is delighted that the Investec South African Women’s Open will again be teeing off in the Mother City as part of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. “As host city and sponsor of the tournament, we are proud to be associated with an event that elevates women in sports. In addition to the professional golfers, this event provides an opportunity to young talented sportswomen to showcase their gifts on an international stage.  We are looking forward to welcoming all the participants to Africa’s Leading Festival and Event Destination.” Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Sunshine Ladies Tour poised for glorious run in 2020

CAPE TOWN, 17 December 2019 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour will celebrate its seventh season in early 2020 with a bumper schedule, exciting incentives, including a R100 000 bonus for the 2020 Investec Order of Merit winner and record prize money of nearly R6-million on offer. “The Sunshine Ladies Tour is a very attractive proposition at the start of the season and we are extremely proud of the tremendous growth the local circuit has enjoyed since we launched in 2014,” said Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan. “In addition to increases in prize money and events, the Sunshine Ladies Tour attracted foreign investment and our international participation has tripled in the last three years, with over 40 foreign players competing in South Africa in 2019. “The local professional circuit is healthy, strong and growing thanks to the continued commitment of Investec and our other key stakeholders and sponsors, including Jabra, Dimension Data, Sun International, SuperSport, Canon, the cities of Joburg and Cape Town, the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality and Serengeti Estates. “We are excited to offer great playing opportunities for the local and international professionals and a great stage for the rising stars in the amateur ranks to gain experience with eight events, including the co-sanctioned Investec South African Women’s Open in 2020.” The seventh edition of the Sunshine Ladies Tour will feature seven Investec Order of Merit counting events, plus the new limited field Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge. The 2020 season launches at the end of January with the Cape Town Ladies Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club and returns to the Mother City, where the prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open will fittingly draw the curtain on the seventh season in mid-March. “This November, the LPGA and Ladies European Tour announced an exciting new 50-50 partnership with the joint goal of further developing women’s professional golf in Europe and we are thrilled to be a part of this development,” Nathan said. “The Ladies European Tour will once again co-sanction the Investec South African Women’s Open with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA. In addition to the lion’s share of the €200 000 purse, the 2020 champion will receive a Tournament Winner’s Category Exemption on the Ladies European Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour for the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 season, as well as exemption into two of the five Majors in 2020 – the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship. “The winner of the Jabra Ladies Classic will also earn exemption for the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the final qualifying event for the Evian Championship. These are fantastic incentives for our players to gain an advantage on the global stage. We look forward to crowing a new Investec Order of Merit champion at the end of what promises to be another exciting and exhilarating season.” Danni Dixon, Head of Marketing Investec SA, said Investec is proud of their continued involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour. “It has been very exciting to be part of the launch of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and to witness the growth of the local women’s professional circuit over the last six years,” Dixon said. “The partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour showcases the incredible talent of women in sport and ensures that these golfers are recognised for their dedication. We are invested in the next generation of women, and we are thrilled with the Investec South African Women’s Open as a platform that aids the promotion and growth of South African women in sport. “It is further encouraging to see that our local professional and amateur women golfers benefit from our partnership with Sunshine Ladies Tour, by giving them an opportunity to compete on a global stage.” 2019 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR SCHEDULE 29 – 31 January Cape Town Ladies Open King David Mowbray Golf Club Prizemoney: R200 000 4 – 6 February SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International Gary Player Country Club & Lost City Golf Club at Sun City Prizemoney: R400 000 14 – 16 February Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am George Golf Club & Outeniqua Course at Fancourt Professional Prizemoney: R600 000 / Pro-Am Prizemoney: R100 000 19 – 21 February South African Women’s Masters San Lameer Country Club Prizemoney: R200 000 22-23 February Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge Serengeti Estate Par 3 Course Professional Prizemoney: minimum R150 000 / Team Calcutta Prizemoney: R50 000 26 – 28 February Joburg Ladies Open Soweto Country Club Prizemoney: R500 000 4 – 6 March Jabra Ladies Classic Glendower Golf Club Prizemoney: R600 000 12 – 14 March Investec South African Women’s Open Westlake Golf Club Prizemoney: €200 000 Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dlamini in ascendancy again at VOG Selborne

16 October 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini’s dream season continued with a three-shot victory in the Women’s Competition of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series on Wednesday. Last year, the big-hitting Eswatini golfer showed off her expertise in the wind when she broke her Sunshine Ladies Tour duck with a wire-to-wire win at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club and those same skills earned her the first round at Selborne Golf Estate, Hotel and Spa Club. Dlamini fired a two-under-par 70 in testing conditions and started the final round three shots clear of the field. The 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner staved off spirited challenges from British pair Lauren Taylor and Jane Turner and South Africa’s Lejan Lewthwaite on the last day and clinched her fourth victory of the season with a birdie finish. “It was a strange two days,” said Dlamini, who closed with a 73 to win by three shots on one-under-par 143. “In the first round, the wind was strong, but it was blowing in the right direction. I was pretty accurate off the tees and put myself in good positions to score. “In the final round, the wind blew from the opposite direction and the course played really tough. I did hit the ball well, but the putter was cold. I’m thrilled with the win, though. It’s great to have this series for the younger professionals and for players like myself and the others who are on a break from the Ladies European Tour (LET). It’s really good to stay competitive.” Taylor clinched the runner-up spot with successive rounds of 73, while 2019 SA Women’s Masters champion Lewthwaite and reigning reigning SuperSport Ladies Challenge champion Turner from Scotland shared third on one seven-over. Dlamini was in imperious form during the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour, reeling in titles in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt, the Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club and the Investec Royal Swazi Open for Ladies at her home course in May. She arrived at Selborne after enjoying her best two finishes on the Ladies European Tour. “With my status, I had to make the most of every start this year to try and secure my playing privileges for next season,” Dlamini said. “I got into eight events, but I missed a few cuts so the pressure was on. Then I had a top 12 in France and top 15 in Spain, which boosted my ranking. I didn’t perform great in India, but a 64th place finish took me to 83rd in the rankings. “The top 80 on the Order of Merit will keep their cards, so hopefully I make it. I’m still on the reserve list for the Spanish Open at the end of November, but I am into the last event, the new Magical Kenya Ladies Open. The ladies who haven’t played six events will fall out and if I do well in Kenya I should be okay for next year. “That’s why I’m looking forward to the Vodacom Origins Series final at Simola Country Club. It’s one more chance to stay competitive and from what I hear, it will be a strong field.” Dlamini will be facing stiff competition at Simola Country Club on 29-30 October with the celebrated Lee-Anne Pace making a welcome return to South African shores alongside French golfer Anna-Lise Caudal, who denied Dlamini in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower and five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Stacy Bregman, among others. “It should be a really good contest between us,” Dlamini said. “I’ve been told that Simola is very beautiful, but being a Jack Nicklaus design, you know it will be very good test. I’ll spend the next couple weeks working on my game and I’ll be ready for the final.” Result 143 Nobuhle Dlamini SZW 70 73 146 Lauren Taylor ENG 73 73 151 Lejan Lewthwaite RSA 75 76; Jane Turner SCO 76 75 161 Casandra Hall RSA 82 79 164 Brittney-Fay Berger RSA 83 81 PHOTO: Vodacom Origins of Golf Series Selborne winner Nobuhle Dlamini receives her trophy from Eleni Kwinana from Vodacom; credit Tyrone Winfield. Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dlamini dominates in wind to lead at Selborne

SELBORNE, 15 October 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini lined up her fourth victory this season when she tamed the wind to take the lead in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at Selborne Golf Estate, Spa and Hotel on Tuesday. Teeing off in a three-to-four club wind that raced around the championship layout on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the big-hitting Swazi golfer was in imperious form. Dlamini fired six birdies, including three over the four closing holes, to offset a double bogey at the par five third and further drops on six and 17 and a two-under-par 70 propelled the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner straight to the top of the leaderboard. The 36-hole women’s event is played concurrently with the Vodacom Origins of Golf Pro-Am and serves as the curtain-raiser for Sunshine Tour’s main tournament. Dlamini leads by three shots from Sunshine Ladies Tour regular Lauren Taylor and is five shots clear of reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite. Taylor got off to a birdie start and eagled the third. The English golfer three-under after 10 holes, but she gave shots back to the field with successive bogeys on 12 and 13 and dropped a further three shots after a final birdie on the par four 14th to post  a one-over 73. Lewthwaite overcame a bogey-bogey start with birdies on three and nine and made two more on the bounce after the turn to dip two-under, but her good work was undone with double bogeys on 14 and 15 and a third bogey on 16 will see the Serengeti golfer start the final round on three-over. Jane Turner withstood the wind for three days at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club to win the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, but the Scottish golfer also had trouble navigating the strong winds on Tuesday and carded four-under 76 to finish fourth. Serengeti's Casandra Hall – already a two-time winner in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series – posted 82 and fellow rookie Brittney-Fay Berger from Kloof Country Club signed for 83. More wind is forecast for today’s final round, but a later start could see the chasing pack go low enough to catch Dlamini. Written and released by Lali Stander.

Gorlei set to join new generation of SA women’s golf stars in pro ranks

1 October 2019 – As a number of Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals take advantage of the opportunity given by the Sunshine Tour to compete alongside the men in the Vodacom Origins of Golf series, it’s reaffirmed the belief that this new generation in South African women’s golf is ready to make their mark. Cara Gorlei certainly thinks so, and is hoping to be one of them as she embarks on her professional career. The former star of South African women’s amateur golf has just returned from a golf scholarship at the University of Arkansas, and is more motivated than ever to be part of a new generation of golfers hoping to fly the South African flag on the tours of the world. “I think the women’s golf talent in South Africa has come through in stages. Recently we had Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace and that group of players. We’ve had a bit of a lull and age gap now. But hopefully we can start a new era of good players representing South Africa on Tour,” said Gorlei. She has only just returned from competing in the South African Women’s Inter-Provincial, where she helped Western Province to a runner-up finish at the Riviera on Vaal Country Club, and will not be participating in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf in Stellenbosch. But while practising at Stellenbosch Golf Club, she was keenly aware of the opportunity the Vodacom Origins of Golf series gives her generation of golfers. The five-tournament Vodacom Origins of Golf series has thrown its considerable support by South African women’s golf by inviting Sunshine Tour Ladies professionals to participate in each of the 36-hole pro-ams on the series. These golfers have the double incentive of competing with their pro-am team for the betterball prize money on offer, as well as in their own internal competition with exclusive prize money for them. And most importantly, it gives them competitive playing time before the Sunshine Ladies Tour resumes in January. “It’s great and I would have loved to play in this series. I’ve just played my last amateur tournament, so my plans are now to practice as much as I can and then start my pro career on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in January.” Gorlei recently made an attempt at an LPGA Tour card. She made it through the first cut in the First Stage of the Qualifying School, but then shot 79 in the final round to miss progressing to the Second Stage. “I was the only South African to make the first cut. My game is in good shape and I know if I try again I’ll make it. In my time in America I learnt a lot about playing other tours. I learnt to trust the belief other people have in me. Once I was over there and started doing well, I kind of surprised myself. It boosted my confidence a lot. I learnt that if you just put in the hard work, I’ll definitely make it. “My coach at the University of Arkansas, Shauna Taylor, played a lot on Tour and she has been telling me to just believe in myself and I will win out there. On the college golf scene you play against the top amateurs in the world on some of the top courses in the world. You have the best coaches and facilities, and you just learn so much. I feel if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t be so confident to go onto the Tour right now.” Written by Michael Vlismas; edits Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Griebenow comes up trumps at windswept Humewood

25 September 2019 – Western Province rookie Tara Griebenow bagged her maiden title in the second event on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at a windswept Humewood on Wednesday. With the rain beating down on the links layout, the overnight leader beat the field to lift her first trophy with a three-shot victory. [caption id="attachment_27496" align="alignleft" width="300"] Western Province rookie Tara Griebenow won her maiden professional title in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at Humewood Golf Club; credit Tyrone Winfield.[/caption] Griebenow managed the difficult conditions in the opening round better than her rivals to card four-over 76 and headed into the final round two shots ahead of Brittney-Fay Berger from KwaZulu-Natal and four clear of Ekurhuleni’s Casandra Hall. “I was a little surprised to discover that I was leading after the first round, but I knew with the rain yesterday morning that anything could happen. Today I just focused on my own game,” said the 23-year-old, who closed with a round of 77 to triump on nine-over-par 153. The women’s tournament was played concurrently with the 36-hole Vodacom Origins of Golf pro-am event and saw six women join the 36-strong professional men and amateur field for two days of great golf. “This is such a great initiative and I am really grateful to Vodacom for the opportunity to compete here this week,” said Griebenow, who grew up in Port Elizabeth, but moved to Cape Town to complete her PGA Teaching Diploma. “The Sunshine Ladies Tour ended in March and being able to play the Vodacom Origins of Golf is fantastic, because it gives us an opportunity to play competitively here at home, without having to travel to Europe.” Berger returned successive rounds of 78 to tie for second with former SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Hall. East London professional Siviwe Duma was fourth on 159. Shawnelle de Lange and Yolanda Duma brought up the rear, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Berger loved the competitive nature of the event. “The conditions in the first round were really tough, but it was tough for everybody,” said the Kloof Country Club golfer. “A couple of putts didn’t dropped and I hit a few wayward shots and I made a few big numbers. “The weather was much better this morning and I tried to make up ground on the women ahead of me. I found the front nine tougher than the back, but I’m not sure if it’s more sheltered or if there was just less wind by the time we turned. “I had to keep reminding myself that we were playing in a tournament. Although it was competitive, the atmosphere was nice and relaxed and the guys were so chilled. The only pressure was the pressure I put on myself.”  

Buhai bursts clear at AIG British Women’s Open

2 August 2019 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai moved into a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the AIG Women's British Open on Friday. The Sunshine Ladies Tour champion backed up a leading seven-under-65 on day one with a flawless five-under-par round of 67, leaving her an impressive 12-under for the tournament at the Marquess' Course at Woburn Golf and Country Club. Buhai will go out in the final pairing with Hinako Shibuno from Japan on Saturday, who carded a 69 to finish in second. American Lizette Salas a further shot behind. With Buhai playing in the afternoon field, Shibuno made an early move to set the club-house target at eight under. An early birdie drew Buhai level with Shibuno, but after eight pars on the back nine, the Japanese holed a big putt at the 16th to get back in front: Buhai was not daunted and saved her best for the final nine holes. A birdie at the 11th put her back on terms with Shibuno and from there, she kicked on and made the most of the ideal conditions late in the day. On 13, Buhai made an excellent putt from off the fringe of the green, starting a run of three birdies in four holes. “My goal going out today was to get to double figures,” said the three-time Ladies European Tour winner. “Once I got it to eight…nine…10-under, I felt more comfortable and was able to put my foot down. “I managed to hit it really close on the 15th hole to like a tap-in birdie, and had a good shot into 16, tucked pin and then holed the putt. I was really steady on the front nine. I didn't hit many shots close. I birdied my second hole with a good wedge, and hit a few good putts. I “I'm trying not to keep thinking it's a Major; it's just another tournament. I'm really enjoying the way the golf course is playing. I think it helps that the conditions have just been so good and we haven't had to deal with too many elements.” The South African has put daylight between herself and her rivals and if she performs to the same standards over the weekend, it's tough to see how anyone will stop Buhai from clinching her maiden major title. However, there are a number of quality players within striking distance. . Local favourite Charley Hull, targeting victory at her home course, tied for fourth, five shots back alongside world number two Sung-hyun Park from South Korea, Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, Bronte Law from England, Germany’s Caroline Masson. Ko Jin-young from South Korea – winner of the last week’s Evian Championship and ANA Inspiration champion – is targeting her third major title this year. The world number one is on six-under and just five off the pace alongside defending champion Georgia Hall, among others.

Buhai takes early command at Woburn

1 August 2019 - Ashleigh Buhai took the first-round lead at the AIG Women’s British Open on Thursday, seeking to become the second South African female Major winner, while South Korea’s Ko Jin-young started well in a quest to win back-to-back Majors. Buhai’s best previous British Open finish was a tie for 30th in 2017 and she found herself in uncharted territory after notching eight birdies in a seven-under-par 65 at Woburn in Milton Keynes. She may not have won on the LPGA Tour yet, but Buhai owns three Ladies European Tour titles and 11 victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the experience showed as she recovered from her only bogey on the par-5 11th with consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16. She headed American Danielle Kang and Japan’s Shibuno Hinako by one stroke, while local favourite Charley Hull was among a group two behind. Four days after winning the Evian Championship in France, Ko continued her sizzling form with an eventful 68, while English defending champion Georgia Hall shot 69. Buhai enjoyed a day when everything clicked and perhaps allowed her to dream of compatriot Sally Little as a major champion. Little won the 1980 Women’s PGA Championship and the 1988 du Maurier Classic. “I’m feeling really confident with the putter and it’s been good the last few weeks,” said the 30-year-old Buhai. “Today I managed to hit a few more greens and rolled in the putts. “In my last few tournaments, I’ve had three good rounds and one not so good round, so I’m hoping this is the week I can do four good rounds,” said Buhai, whose best finish this year was a tie for 11th. “The last few weeks, I have been just trying to stay mellow and keep everything in check, and it seems to be helping.” Ko is seeking her third major title of the year after the Evian and ANA Inspiration in California in April. It was not always such smooth sailing on the greens for the South Korean, who had a four-putt double-bogey at the 14th hole, where she missed a couple of three-footers. That setback might have demoralised some players, but the world number one is made of sterner stuff. She bounced back by hitting the cup with her approach shots at the par-five 15th and par-four 18th for what would have been a couple of most unlikely eagles. Though neither fell in, she converted the birdie putts. “The back nine was a lot of putts missed,” said Ko. “I tried to finish strong and I got a birdie on 18. It was a huge birdie.”

Double delight for Dlamini in Soweto

28 March 2019 - Nobuhle Dlamini put an exclamation mark behind a dominant season with an emphatic four-shot victory in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club on Thursday. Her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and her second win this season after her Dimension Data Ladies Challenge success last month – confirmed Dlamini as the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion for the 2019 season and earned the 27-year-old a bonus worth R100 000. The big-hitting Swazi national carded a final round two-under 70 to triumph on a two-under 214 total. “It’s a massive victory for me,” said a delighted Dlamini. “I didn’t expect to win the Joburg Ladies Open, but I put in a lot of work for this season. [caption id="attachment_27473" align="alignright" width="300"] Nobuhle Dlamini from Eswatini celebrated a double victory when she claimed the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit with an emphatic four-shot win in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.[/caption] “Coming into the final event, I knew I didn’t have to win at Soweto to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I really wanted it After the first two rounds, I knew I could win. The order of merit title would be even sweeter if I picked up a win. Two wins this season and the order of merit. I am really proud of what I’ve achieved. “I was very excited about trying to win the Order of Merit, I think my performance at Glendower sort of sealed it for me, although it was still close. I knew I didn’t have to win the tournament to win the Order of Merit. I was really excited, but I still had a tournament to play. I’m happy to have won both.” Dlamini began the final round on even-par with a one-shot lead over SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite and two shots clear of Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall. She fired seven straight pars before dropping two shots at the par four eighth. Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10 took her back to level, and she erased another double bogey at the 11th with three birdies on the bounce from the par four 13th. Dlamini finished two shots ahead of former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum, whose final round 70 earned her a runner-up finish and bumped the Parkview golfer second in the season-long points race. Ebotse’s Hall finished solo third on six-over following a third round 76. The round of the day – and the tournament – belonged to Lora Assad. The Johannesburg golfer scorched her way around the Gary Player-designed championship layout in 67 strokes and rocketed to joint fourth on seven-over alongside Monique Smit from Southern Cape. Dlamini picked up her maiden pro win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International at the Wild Coast just over a year ago and it proved a watershed moment for the Glendower professional. “This season has been the best of my life, but the Wild Coast was the pivotal moment. That’s when I knew for certain that I could compete against the best and beat them. It changed my mind-set and I’ve just become mentally stronger since. “I made changes to the preparation for my tournaments, and since that first win last year things have changed. I’ve been more relaxed. I trust my process and my decisions on the course. I commit to my shots and I feel much more confident.” Playing in the heart of Soweto, made the double triumph even sweeter for the 27-year-old. “When they first told us that the Joburg Ladies Open would be hosted here I couldn’t believe it,” Dlamini said. “I played here three years ago and it was not looking good. The greens were not good and the fairways were bumpy. It was like coming to a whole different course when we played the pro-am here on Monday. I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed. “We owe a huge debt to Selwyn Nathan for championing the refurbishment of this course. The Sunshine Tour rallied the support of the City of Joburg, the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the R&A and sponsors like Investec, Dimension Data, Telkom, SuperSport and PPC Cement to create something incredibly special here. “I know a lot of golfers who live in Soweto and who had to travel by taxi to go and practice at the better courses in Johannesburg. One of them lives two minutes away from the course. He came to support me in the first round and cannot wait to start practicing here. “Selwyn, together with the sponsors have created jobs here and a fantastic legacy for the people of Soweto. The course is young, but already a great layout. It will just get better and better, and I really believe this is a championship course.” GolfRSA Elite Squad member Zethu Myeki carded rounds of 80, 76 and 73 to claim the leading amateur honours on 13-over. The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member tied for 13th with Lewthwaite, who finished third on the order of merit after closing with a final round 84. Kim Williams finished fourth and Hall fifth to make it an all-Southern-African sweep of the top-five in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit. Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Dlamini poised for success in Soweto

27 March 2019 - Nobuhle Dlamini fired three birdies on the bounce down the back nine of Soweto Country Club to line up a fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory in the Joburg Ladies Open on Wednesday. Dlamini began the second round tied for the lead with reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite, but she opened up a one-shot lead with a second successive level par 72. The Investec golfer is still nipping at her heels on one-over following a second round 73, while Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall lies a further stroke adrift on two-over, courtesy of a brace of 73s. Former SA Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum got into the mix at four-over with an even-par 72. India’s Tvesa Malik followed a one-over opening round with a 76 on day two to slip to a tie for fifth with 2019 SA Women’s Longest Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt, who returned a 74. Yolanda Duma fired a one-under-par 71 for the shared low round of the day. The Border golfer rocketed to joint seventh on six-under, and will have former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Stacy Bregman and Monique Smit for company in the final round. Dlamini is justifiably in a confident frame of mind. She will be gunning for the double in Thursday’s final round – win the R500 000 Sunshine Ladies Tour season-finale and bank the R100 000 bonus for winning the season-long points race and it will take something special to stop her. "I’ve had two good days as I’ve played solidly from tee to green,” said the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader. “If I play like this tomorrow and make a couple more putts I should take it home “I’m looking forward to the incentive, but it would be great to win the Joburg Ladies Open.” Dlamini followed a birdie start with a trio of bogeys and went out in two-over. Coming home, the Glendower golfer birdied the 10th but a careless double-bogey on 11 got her into the right frame of mind. She fired three birdies in a row from the par four 13th to steady the ship and cemented herself at the top of the leaderboard with solid pars over the last three holes. “I dropped on two of the par threes on the front nine, which was annoying,” Dlamini said. “I made a good birdie on 10 over I overshot the green, but at the next hole I pitched it too close to the pin and it flew off the back. I chipped it short of the green two-putted for a double. I hit a great drive, so to drop two shots after being 78 metres from the hole hurt. But I’m proud of the way I came back after that. “The greens were slightly softer in the second round, but not by much, so you really have to think your way around the course. My short game, especially the shorter pitches, was really good. If you can get it inside 12 foot, you’ve got a look at birdie, because the greens are very true.” Aside from her obvious title ambitions, Dlamini was pleased to be playing an important golf event in the heart of Soweto. “Whoever took the decision to make this a championship golf course has done so much for the people of Soweto, for the nation. I’ve got a lot of friends from Soweto, so they have to travel a long way to the nicer courses. Most of them can’t afford to play so it’s great to have a championship layout in their back yard. “One of my friends actually lives a two-minute walk away from here and he came through yesterday and he said he can’t wait to play after we finish. “A big thank you goes out to the sponsors for helping development. I’m happy that people from Soweto have jobs now, working at their own club. Hopefully we look after it, and it leaves a long lasting legacy.” Lewthwaite, meanwhile, couldn’t replicate the fireworks from the first round, but she usually saves her best golf for the final round and could be strong contender on the last day. “It was a little boring; no holes-in-one today,” Lewthwaite joked. “I played steady golf and I’m right where I want to be – within one shot of the leader. “I don’t know what it is about final rounds, but I always seem to get going. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow. I feel different in the body and the mind, I love the pressure and the tight competition at the end.” Hall made a disastrous start with a triple bogey seven at the opening hole, but the Ebotse golfer rallied with a trio of birdies after the turn to stay firmly in contention. “I hit it left on the first and paid the price and I was a bit panicky after that seven, but I just trusted my swing after that and I began to feel comfortable over the ball,” said last year’s SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion. “I held it together for the rest of the front nine and I was feeling great after the birdie run, but unfortunately I let another one slip at 17. I’m quite happy being two behind. Anything can happen in the final round, especially on this golf course.” SOCIAL MEDIA JOBURG LADIES OPEN Hashtag - #joburgladiesopen TWITTER - @CityofJoburgZA FACEBOOK - @CityofJoburg INSTAGRAM - @cityofjoburg HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR Hashtags #sunshineladiestour #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Lewthwaite & Dlamini set Soweto pace

26 March 2019 - The cream really did rise to the top on Tuesday as the two main protagonists on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit – Nobuhle Dlamini and Lejan Lewthwaite – both carded level par 72 to share the first round lead in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club. Dlamini and Lewthwaite hold a one-shot advantage over Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall and India’s Tvesa Malik, who tied for third on one-over. Fifth on her own on two-over is another rookie campaigner, Brittney-Fay Berger, while former champions Stacy Bregman and Bertine Faber share sixth with reigning South African Women’s Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt on three-over 75. Coming off a runner-up finish in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week at Glendower, Dlamini has forged an almost unsurmountable lead on 1 597 point. Second placed amateur Kajal Mistry is skipping the season-finale to compete in the Western Province Amateur Championship. Lewthwaite is nipping at Dlamini’s heels in third, but another strong push in Soweto will see the Swazi national seal the deal and pocket to the R100 000 bonus in the season-long points-race. Lewthwaite, who claimed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title in the SA Women’s Masters at San Lameer last month, set the course on fire during the early stages of the opening round. A steady two-under start through six holes was good, but her round quickly turned spectacular with an ace at the par three 17th. “I had 173 metres to the pin playing downhill, downwind - and you have to pitch it short. If you pitch it on it’s going over. I caught a lucky bounce with a six-iron and it went in,” said the Serengeti golfer. “I said after the hole-in-one I didn’t really care what my score was, but it was fun getting my first one.” The ‘perfect fluke’ helped Lewthwaite to go out in four-under 33, but coming home she dropped shots at the fourth and seventh before a disastrous double on her final hole (the ninth) saw her lead evaporate. Despite her poor finish, Lewthwaite remained positive about her opening salvo in Soweto. “It’s a pity I couldn’t finish better, but it’s the best position I’ve been in after the first round this season so I’m right where I want to be,” Lewthwaite said. “I hit a perfect tee shot down the middle of the fairway, and actually hit a great second shot with the ball probably pitching pin-high with a gap wedge with 92 metres to the pin. I might have pitched it around 88 metres and the ball just rocketed over the green. Then I hit a bad chip and a bad putt to make double.” [caption id="attachment_27463" align="alignright" width="227"] Nobuhle Dlamini in action during the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour[/caption] Dlamini, meanwhile, produced a quieter scorecard with just two bogeys offset by two birdies. That was despite overpowering a number of holes as she cut doglegs with the driver and even driving the par four 16th - where she could only manage par. “I hit quite a few drivers, there are some holes where you can take a Tiger-line,” said Dlamini. "You can still find the ball if you miss the fairway, the challenge is just how close you can get it to the hole with your approaches. The second shots are the challenge. “On the 16th hole I hit driver on the green. So I was hitting it really nicely. I’ll take 72 today as it was playing tough out there. It would be good for me to finish strong here. I’m going to keep pushing and hope for the best.” Malik was more than pleased with her effort in just her third start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after debuting in the Investec SA Women’s Open in Cape Town and contending in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week. “I thought I played a little bit better than my score suggested. I made a few silly mistakes, but I’m happy with my score,” said Malik. “I’m focussing on my game, I’m not really worried about my position with 36 holes to go.” Former SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Hall was equally pleased with an opening 73. “I made a really good start in my debut in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open and then I set my expectations too high,” said the Benoni golfer. “The next six events were a steep learning curve, but I felt my confidence return at Glendower last week. “It’s tough course and I’m happy to be within striking distance of the leaders. The greens are new and still very firm, so the biggest challenge here is to get the ball as close as possible to the pins. If you come in too hard, you fly the green and it’s tough to recover. It’s another great learning experience for us young pros this week.” SOCIAL MEDIA JOBURG LADIES OPEN Hashtag - #joburgladiesopen TWITTER - @CityofJoburgZA FACEBOOK - @CityofJoburg INSTAGRAM - @cityofjoburg HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR Hashtags #sunshineladiestour #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.  

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