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LET Rookie Hewson wins Investec SA Women’s Open

14 March 2020 – Alice Hewson could not have wished for a better start to launch her professional career on the Ladies European Tour. On a warm and tranquil Saturday in the City of Cape Town, the 22-year-old rookie from Hemel Hempstead in England lifted the Investec South African Women’s Open title in her first start, coming from behind to triumph by a shot at Westlake Golf Club. “It feels absolutely incredible and it really is a dream come true. I don’t have words, really. Growing up as a kid, all I could ever dream of was playing on the Ladies European Tour and to win in my first event is just indescribable,” said Hewson, who turned professional in September and finished fifth at LET Q-School in January. “This has definitely happened a lot quicker than I thought it would. I was hoping to get off to a nice steady start, but this is definitely a good thing!” Hewson lagged three strokes off the pace from the overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany at the start of the final day. She sacrificed a birdie at the first hole with a bogey on the third, but she quickly clawed back the gain on the five-under-par. She entered a four-way share of the lead after nine holes and then took pole position after all three players in the final group bogeyed the 10th hole. With a bogey of her own on the 11th, Hewson dropped back into a share of the lead, but then broke away from the pack when she holed a 20-footer for birdie on the par five 13th. From that point until the closing hole, no-one could catch her. What could have turned into disaster for a lesser player turned into triumph after Hewson found the trees with her tee shot on the 18th. Her second shot hit some branches, causing the ball to drop back down into the rough, but she played a gutsy chip shot up to the green and then holed a seven foot putt for par to complete a round of 71, ending on five-under-par. “The 18th was a highlight because I was still in trouble after my third shot, and the other highlight of my round was the long putt I sunk on 13,” said the 2019 European Ladies’ Amateur Champion. “Most of the week my putting has been very good, and my driving. I just went out there to play my own game. This golf course can play pretty tough and it’s going to give some shots back to you so I tried to keep my game super steady and make some birdies.” When asked if she was concerned about whether the tournament should have been played, given the Coronavirus pandemic, Hewson replied: “I think it was definitely the right decision that we continued playing this week and it’s also the right decision that future tournaments have been cancelled. Everyone was already here and there is a very low risk here so it was nice to be able to play some golf, because we don’t know how long it’s going to be now before we will again.” [caption id="attachment_27715" align="alignleft" width="300"] South Africa’s Monique Smit sealed the 2020 Investec Order of Merit title with a joint runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.[/caption] South Africa’s Monique Smit recorded a career best finish on the LET when she holed a clutch putt for par at the last for a round of 71 to share second with Sweden’s Emma Nilsson. Smit, who claimed the final card on offer at the LET Q-School in Spain in January when she edged out three players in a sudden-death play-off, not only bagged R276 000 for her joint runner-up finish, but also edged out Stacy Bregman for the R100 000 bonus that came with winning the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Investec Order of Merit. “Right now, this is very surreal. Standing over the final putt, I knew I had to hole it and I just felt extremely confident. That one putt earned me my travel money for the year,” said the Oubaai golfer. “We lost mom last year and in every tournament this season, I’ve thought of her. She caddied for me in every season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour since it launched in 2014. Today, standing over that final putt, I really felt her. That putt was for my mom.” Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Manon de Roey from Belgium and Manon Gidali from France tied for fourth, while overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany tied for seventh. [caption id="attachment_27716" align="alignright" width="300"] Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley claimed the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur – and only amateur to make the cut – in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour[/caption] Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley was the only amateur to survive the cut to 60 and ties and was the proud recipient of the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur. The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation carded a final round 75 to tie for 46th. FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Cowan takes control of Investec South African Women’s Open

13 March 2020 – Germany’s Olivia Cowan took control of the Investec South African Women’s Open on Friday, firing a second round 67 to lead on seven-under-par heading into the final round in the City of Cape Town. The 23-year-old began the afternoon session in hot and sunny conditions on the 10th tee at Westlake Golf Club and picked up her first birdie at the par five 13th. She then made three birdies on the bounce from the 15th and, although she gave a shot back to the field on the par-four second hole, further gains on the fourth and fifth holes kept her well clear of the chasing pack. The fourth-year Ladies European Tour campaigner dropped another shot the ninth, but will still sleep on a three-shot cushion. Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Alice Hewson from England and Italian Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso are three strokes back in joint second. Recent Joburg Ladies Open winner Monique Smit leads the local challenge. The Oubaai golfer carded 71 to finish a further stroke adrift and is tied for fifth with Emma Nilsson from Sweden. Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland and Megan MacLaren from England share seventh on two-under. A second round 73 saw three-time winner Ashleigh Buhai slip to one-over. The South African rounds out the top 10 on 143 with Maha Haddioui from Marocco, Manon de Roey from Belgium, Dane Emily Pedersen and Sweden’s Julia Engstrom. Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley was the only amateur to survive the cut to 60 and ties, which fell at six-over 150. The GolfRSA Elite Squad player and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member will start the last 18 holes on five-over after rounds of 75 and 74. Thirty-six hole leader Cowan is long overdue for a first Ladies European Tour (LET) victory. A three-time winner on the LET Access Series in 2015, Cowan won the Order of Merit the same year to graduate to the LET. In 2019, she enjoyed a career best tie for second in the Dubai Moonlight Classic, which was one of her seven top-10 finishes from 16 starts last season. She ended seventh on the LET Order of Merit for the second year in a row. She made a strong start to the 2020 season in Australia, tying for 15th in the Women’s New South Wales Open and began the week in South Africa ranked 28th on the Race to Costa del Sol Order of Merit. Cowan attributed her solid second round to great ball striking and a well-behaved putter. “I was hitting my irons close and putting well, so I had a lot of chances, most of which I took. I’d say the best part of my game was my putting,” she said. The German golfer also felt that the tranquil conditions over the last two days had a lot to do with the bunched leaderboard. “The last two years here was really windy, so it’s very different this year. The course is in great shape and it’s like any other LPGA or LET tournament, so really good. This is my first time being in this position, where I am a couple of shots ahead of everyone going into the final round. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what happens.” MacDonald was just as happy to be in contention. “I’m very happy with my performance today. I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of chances. I’m very happy going into the final round, given how I played today. The greens were a little slower in the morning, but when it started to heat up they sped up significantly. You could notice the difference and that was something I had to be mindful of during the round.” English rookie Hewson, making her LET debut in Cape Town, was thrilled with back-to-back 70s and the chance to emulate last year’s rookie winner Diksha Dagar from India. “I’m really happy with how I played today. I putted really well, which I think is really important out here. “I also drove the ball well. I just need to work on my irons. It was nice to get off to a good start with three birdies in a row from my second hole. It’s very exciting to be here and finally get going. This is living the dream, really. It’s a beautiful place to be. Yesterday we went to Boulders Beach to see the penguins and maybe tomorrow we will go to Table Mountain.” Colombotto Rosso, who dug deep for a 71, made some incredible par saving putts. “I enjoyed the round a lot. I rolled in some incredible putts, from 10 or 15 metres, which I didn’t expect and I was having a lot of fun. I’m trying to take the best out of every round. Chipping in this kikuyu grass is a bit challenging for me, so I’m really proud that I made some birdies when I needed to. I was a little angry with the bogey on 16, so it was good that I birdied 18. It was a good comeback.” The final round tees off at 08h30 on Sunday morning from both tees. The final putts are expected to drop around 15h00 and the 2020 champion will be crowned on the 18th green. In addition to lifting the spectacular trophy, the winner also receives a two year exemption on the LET until the end of 2021, a place in the Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open and the lion’s share of the 200,000 prize fund. Moodley will be standing next to the champion, receiving the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur. LINK TO LEADERBOARD:
http://sunshineladiestour.com/?page_id=25983&tourn=L007&season=220S&report=https://lds.ocs-africa.com/tic/tmscores.cgi?tourn=L007~season=220S~params=P*2ESC02~ FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.      

Garcia shares early lead in Investec SA Women’s Open

12 March 2020 – Nicole Garcia made the most of the tranquil conditions at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday to grab a share of the four-way tie for the lead on the opening day of the €200 000 Investec SA Women’s Open in the City of Cape Town. The three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner offset a lone bogey with a quartet of birdies for a 69 to join Olivia Cowan from Austria, Italian Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso and Sweden’s Emma Nilsson at the summit on three-under-par. Compatriot Ashleigh Buhai – the highest ranked player in the field at 103rd in the world rankings and a three-time champion of the event – birdied her last two holes for two-under 70 and sits just one off the pace in a six-way tie at two-under. Joburg Ladies Open champion Monique Smit also finished in the pack on two-under. The South African pair shares fifth with 2018 SA Women’s Masters champion Laura Fuenfstueck from Germany, Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands, Scotland’s Kelsey Macdonald, Alice Hewson from England, and first reserve Rachel Rossel from Switzerland, who made the most of her late call-up to fight her way into the top 10. A birdie at the last hole will see former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace start the second round two off the pace in joint 12th alongside 2020 Women’s New South Wales Open winner and Race to Costa Del Sol frontrunner Julia Engström from Sweden. Garcia underwent hip surgery in early 2019 and spent most of the season on the bench. A few weeks ago the Ebotse golfer showed glimpses of a return to form when she lifted the individual title and won the team competition in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge. “Having the Sunshine Ladies Tour to get back into form was brilliant,” she said. “I could gauge where my game was at, what I needed to work on and what needed attention. I was hitting the ball well and putting nicely, but the scores just wasn’t quite there. Then the win came at Serengeti and that brought a huge injection of confidence.” Garcia was understandably delighted to get her 2020 Ladies European Tour campaign off to a promising start. “We teed off in no wind at Westlake, which is very rare, and I had my caddie Graeme Rowan back on the bag after a year off, so I was looking forward to the round and I am really happy that I was able to get a score going.” Garcia started on the 10th tee and racked up three birdies going out. “I birdied the first to go four-under, but I didn’t hit a very good shot out of the bunker on the par five (fourth) and paid for it with a bogey. I short-sided myself on the left of the green, but I wasn’t too upset not making the up-and-down, though. The pin was only three or four paces from where I was aiming, so I walked off with a soft bogey, really. “I had a few more birdie opportunities that I didn’t make, so I was really happy with the three birdies I managed to convert. I hit the ball close on a couple of holes coming home, too. It’s gratifying to see that the game is there. The putting, too. I have the right pace and line, but I just had a few too many lip-outs. “These greens are very tricky. Just the slightest misread with the grain on the greens here will cause to miss. It’s not dropping into the cup in the centre; it kind of catches the hole on the side and then it either drops or rings the hole. Hopefully I can come to grips with it on Friday and keep the momentum going.” Buhai clinched her 11th title on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a commanding five-shot victory in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club. She turned two-over, but a gentle prod from her husband and caddie Dave out the LPGA Tour campaigner on the attack. “Conditions were pretty much perfect, but I didn’t get off to a good start and I turned two-over through nine,” said the 30-year-old. “I was playing a bit defensive and Dave (husband and caddie) gave me a little pep-talk. He said we played good last week and told me to get aggressive, so I did and I made four birdies down the back nine. “The greens were quite firm when we played them in the afternoon on Wednesday, so I was just sussing them out. Once I started trusting what I was doing, I started to attack the pins. You have to shape it a little off the tee-boxes here; draws and fades. “I am driving it pretty well and that helps, because the course is pretty narrow and the greens are small. I’m very happy with the way I’m striking the ball, because I’ve put myself in play. It was a bit iffy on the front, but I dialled it in on the back.” Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley leads the amateur challenge for the Jackie Mercer Trophy after carding a two-over-par 74 to finish alongside current Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman, among others. FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.    

Ammies set to savour Investec SA Women’s Open experience

11 March 2020 – The next generation of golfing stars are ready to step into the limelight when the Investec SA Women’s Open tees off on Thursday. Amateurs Kaiyuree Moodley, Bianca Wernich and Bobbi Brown survived baptism of fire in Monday’s qualifying round to join top ranked Kaylah Williams and Megan Streicher in the 132-playing field of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s season-finale at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March. A vicious south-easterly wind ravaged the championship layout during the qualifier, with a 55 km per hour gale pushing the field to their limits as they vied for five coveted spots into the Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event. Moodley stands 1.5 metres tall in her socks and weighs just 45kg, but the former Youth Olympian put up a valiant fight. She was gob-smacked, however, to learn that a frustrating nine-over-par 81 netted her the runner-up spot. “I was absolutely horrified by my score, until Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman told me that it was a great score given the conditions,” the 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member said. “I thought I didn’t have a chance. I was ready to fly home. We were standing around exchanging war stories when they came walking back to the clubhouse. They called it quits after two holes. They said par was at least 76 or 77 in that wind and they were confident I would make it. “I couldn’t believe it when I finished second, but I’m definitely not complaining. It’s a dream come true to tee it up in the Investec SA Women’s Open. I’ve played a few Sunshine Ladies Tour events this season, and you can’t put a price on the experience you gain playing with the professionals.” Moodley finished one stroke shy of winner Clara Pietri from Switzerland, while Wernich from Stellenbosch carded 83 to finish behind third-placed Christina Gloor from Sweden. Lanky Brown from Steenberg, who plays out of neighbouring Steenberg Golf Club, came into the event fresh after a joint runner-up finish in the Nomads SA Juniors International at Rondebosch Golf Club. The 16-year-old clinched the final spot with a round of 84. Moodley, a member of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, said it was a shock to arrive to a windless Westlake for the practice round on Tuesday. “The wind was so brutal in the qualifier that I had to take two to three clubs extra,” she said. “For instance, I teed my ball up low and hit my driver about 210 metres. I hit 3-wood for my second and still finished about 50 metres short of the green and had to chip and putt to save par. In Tuesday’s practice round, I hit a normal drive, reached the green with a 5-wood and made a good birdie. “I was really lucky to play nine holes with Nicole and Stacy. They gave me lots of advice and it was great to get an inside look to their processes and their course management. I’m really looking forward to getting the championship underway.” Williams, who ranks second on the GolfRSA Open Amateur standings, caddied for fellow Western Province junior Jordan Rothman last year and is champing at the bit to get her own campaign underway. “I was still struggling with my knee, so I couldn’t tee it up. It was really interesting to be on the bag, though, and to absorb the atmosphere and the splendour of the event. I also watched the professionals closely and learned a lot about course management and mental strength.” The Durbanville golfer went under the knife late last year, but her knee held up really well during the recent Aon SA Amateur, where she tied for third in the stroke play championship. She also reached the semi-final with Moodley in the match play championship. “It’s great to back to full speed again. I think, aside from winning the SA Women’s Amateur and Stroke Play, all amateurs dream of playing the national open and for me personally, it’s a dream come true. I am definitely a better golfer now and hopefully I can put everything I’ve learned in the last 12 months into practice at Westlake. ”It can be very intimidating to play with the pros, so I’m just going to do my level best not to let the occasion trip me up. I want to treat it as any other golf tournament and focus on playing the course.” For the professionals, victory will come with a winner’s exemption on the Ladies European Tour, starts in the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship, the lion’s share of the €200 000 purse and the coveted trophy. The leading amateur will lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy and stand alongside the 2020 champion in the winner’s circle. “I am sure the trophy will be in there somewhere in the back of everyone’s minds, but I think we will be more focussed on hitting the best shots we can make, while learning as much as possible from the experience,” said Streicher from Swellendam. “It’s the real big leagues and it’s an incredible opportunity for us to learn and gain experience. I can’t wait to get started.” ENTRIES
http://sunshineladiestour.com/?page_id=25983&tourn=L007&season=220S&report=https://lds.ocs-africa.com/tic/tmentry.cgi?tourn=L007~season=220S~alphaorder~ TEE TIMES http://sunshineladiestour.com/?page_id=25983&tourn=L007&season=220S&report=https://lds.ocs-africa.com/tic/tmdraw.cgi?tourn=L007~season=220S~round=1~   FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Buhais all in for four of a kind at Westlake

11 March 2020 – After a stellar start to their 2020 campaign, Ashleigh and David Buhai have arrived in Cape Town targeting a fourth Investec South African Women's Open crown this week. The €200 000 event, co-sanctioned between the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa, tees off at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March. Of course, Ashleigh Buhai needs no introduction. Unless you missed the part where she married her bagman David in December 2016 and you’re still wondering what in the world happened to Ashleigh Simon. Ashleigh’s storied amateur career was nothing short of outstanding. Not only did she dominate the local amateur golf scene and distinguished herself on the international stage, but she won four professional events as an amateur, including the 2004 SA Women’s Open at the age of 14 and the SA Women’s Masters at age 16. The youngest champion and only amateur to achieve this feat in both flagship events, she claimed her second SA Women’s Open title in 2007 – also as an amateur – and expectations were huge when she joined the paid ranks in June that same year. Buhai didn’t disappoint. Within three starts, she broke her duck on the Ladies European Tour and won again in 2011. After a couple of injury plagued seasons, Ashleigh relaunched her career with three successive victories in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s first season in 2014. And she kept adding to the tally, pushing it to 11 last week with a five-shot victory in the Jabra Ladies Classic. The commanding win at Glendower Golf Club after rounds of 63, 69 and 67 was on the cards after her most successful season on the LPGA Tour last year. She finished 56th on the final Race to CME Globe and 51st on the official LPGA Money List. A top five finish in the AIG British Women’s Open also earned her an impressive 22nd place finish on the final Ladies European Tour Order of Merit. And, thanks to a top 13 finish in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open three weeks ago, she has moved to 103rd in the Rolex Women’s Golf Ranking. “I keep an eye on the rankings and the numbers, but really, all I want to do is go out there and play good golf,” said Buhai after the win at Glendower. “I have had some really bad breaks and some great successes. It’s crazy how things happen in life, but when you choose sport as a career, you have to accept the good and the bad. It’s just the way it is. I’m very positive and I’m very relaxed and it’s a good combination for me. I finally feel like I can win any week and I’m just going to stay patient and let it happen.” While campaigning on the LPGA Tour, Ashleigh employs Tanya Patterson, who caddied for Dame Laura Davies for six years and David works for Swede Madelene Sagstrőm, who won the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in January and is currently second on the Money List. But back on home soil, when David picks up the bag for Ashleigh, good things tend to happen. “We split up on the golf course when we got married, because we want to stay married,” Ashleigh jokes. “Seriously though, we decided together that it wasn’t fair on me to carry all the pressure and this way our finances are not only dependant on my results. It’s worked out brilliantly for us, but when we get home, I get to have him back on the bag. “Dave has shared in 10 of my 11 wins here at home, including the Investec SA Women’s Open in 2018. He knows my game inside out and he knows just what to say and when. It’s always special to share that winning moment with him.” Does Ashleigh believe there is another win on the horizon at Westlake? “I am more experienced, more patient and more relaxed and I believe I am a much better golfer now than a few years ago. My coach and I spent the last few weeks honing a few things and the game feels solid. I am confident starting this week, so yes, I would love to become the first four-time winner of our national Open. “Yes, it will be in the back of my mind when I tee it up at Westlake on Thursday. I love the course; it really suits my eye and it sets up well for my game. But if the wind blows as hard as it did on Monday, it going to be open season on the trophy.” The Investec SA Women’s Open tees off on Thursday, 12 March. The 132-playing field will be cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes and the champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March. In addition to the lion’s share of the purse, the winner receives a Winner’s Category exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship. At the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000. Entry to the 2020 event is free, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse. FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Engström eyes early season double in Cape Town

Sweden’s Julia Engström will be gunning for back-to-back titles when she leads the international line-up in the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open from Thursday. A fortnight ago, the 18-year-old became the second teenager to win in as many events on the 2020 Ladies European Tour. Engström lifted the Women’s New South Wales Open title, following on from 17-year-old Australian amateur Steph Kyriacou’s triumph in the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville. The early Race to Costa Del Sol frontrunner is ready to draw on the fond memories of her last visit to Cape Town 12 months ago, when she finished seventh at Westlake Golf Club. “The Investec South African Women’s Open was a great start to the year and set me up for a terrific season,” said Engström, who finished 20th on last year’s Order of Merit. “I really enjoyed playing at Westlake Golf Club last year and played pretty well. The course is quite similar to Dubbo Golf Club in New South Wales in a way, where I won two weeks ago. It’s not as tight, but it just as tree-lined. Set against Table Mountain, there are breath-taking views on every hole. It’s also quite a lot windier! Hopefully I can play well again this year as I would love to finish within the top five on the 2020 Race to Costa Del Sol.” The Investec SA Women’s Open, dating back to 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). The traditional parklands layout at the foot of Table Mountain has proved a happy hunting ground for both rising and established stars of the game the last two years. Indian teenager Diksha Dagar from India was propelled to instant stardom when she won in just her fourth professional start last year. The 18-year-old tapped in for par on the final hole to edge out former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace by a stroke last year. Dagar feels that her game is in good shape ahead of her title defence. “It feels so good to be here in Cape Town and it brings back good memories from last year. I hope I will play well again this year,” said 19-year-old left-hander from New Delhi. “My game has improved and I feel much stronger. I’m very confident, playing well and I believe I can defend the title.” Dagar rose to 14th on the Race to Costa Del Sol following a tie for 32nd in the season-opening Australian Ladies Classic Bonville and joint seventh in the Women’s New South Wales Open. She has been working hard on her fitness to achieve her main goal for the year – representing India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – and it’s a goal she is likely to achieve, sitting in 56th position amongst the field of 60 on the Olympic Golf Rankings at present. Qualification would be a phenomenal achievement in itself after she represented India at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, where she earned a silver medal. “The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world and it would be such an honour to represent India. I am so excited about the Olympics this year. My goal is to keep playing well and to play my best to earn my spot in the field in Japan.” Meanwhile South Africa’s own Ashleigh Buhai, who won the title twice as an amateur and remains the youngest champion at age 14, will be representing South Africa for a second time the Olympics. The 30-year-old wrote her name into the record books in 2018 when she won the national title for a third time to equal Pace’s hat-trick of titles. The field of 132 professionals from 26 countries includes seven players from the top 20 on the current Race to Costa Del Sol Rankings including Engström (1), Manon de Roey from Belgium (2), Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson (13), Dagar (14), Saana Nuutinen from Finland (16), Scotland’s Michele Thomson (17) and Meghan MacLaren from England (20). Buhai, who went wire-to-wire in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower last week, leads a strong local challenge that includes all six champions from the current Sunshine Ladies Tour season – Pace (Cape Town Ladies Open), Lejan Lewthwaite (SuperSport Ladies Challenge and Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am), Scotland’s Jane Turner (Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters), Nicole Garcia (Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge), Monique Smit (Joburg Ladies Open) and, as well as the current Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman. The field will be cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes and the champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March. In addition to the lion’s share of the purse, the winner receives a Winner’s Category exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship. At the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000. Entry to the 2020 event is free, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse. Click
HERE for the Entry List Click HERE for the First Round Draw FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Big guns arrive for Investec SA Women’s Open

10 March 2020 – The cream of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour are converging on Westlake Golf Club in the City of Cape Town for 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open from 12-14 March. As always, there is a palpable sense of nervous anticipation as the golfers start to arrive in the Mother City for South Africa’s flagship event and the mouth-watering incentives the season-finale carries. This year is no exception as the big guns of the game prepare to contest a €200 000 prize fund, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship – plus a winner’s category exemption on the Ladies European Tour (LET) until the end of 2021 and the right to be acclaimed as South Africa’s Women’s Open champion. The field this year exudes class and quality, from three-time champions Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace to defending champion Diksha Dagar from India. The international posse also stars former Ladies European Tour winners Carly Booth from Sweden’s Jenny Haglund and Scotland, England’s Meghan Maclaren, while Julia Engstrom from Sweden and Manon de Roey from Belgium have to be firm favourites after respectively finishing first and second in the recent Women’s New South Wales Open. The local challenge is further strengthened by 2020 champions Monique Smit, Nicole Garcia, Lejan Lewthwaite, already a two-time winner this season Westlake awaits those consumed with a desire to lift the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s flagship trophy in the same swashbuckling style of Buhai’s final round match to victory in 2018 or the 18-year-old Dagar’s masterful maiden professional win 12 months ago. Pace – the only player to win the championship in three successive years since its inception in 1988 – came agonisingly close to becoming the championship’s first four-time winner last year, while the event’s only amateur champion Buhai is just as hungry to re-write the annals of South African golfing history with a fourth triumph. The favourites are joined by reigning Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman. The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner was second in 2013, third in 2017 and fourth in 2019 and, buoyed by a third place finish in the Joburg Ladies Open and second in last week’s Jabra Ladies Classic, Bregman will be looking to ride that rich vein of form to finally clinch that elusive first LET win. Karolin Lampert and Michelle Thompson should not be overlooked, either. Germany’s Lampert is kicking off her Ladies European Tour season in Cape Town channelling the positive vibes of a runner-up finish in 2018, while Thompson gave chase last year. Coming off a top 10 finish in Australia the Scot can be expected to be among the early frontrunners this week. A total of 90 players from the LET will tee it up in the 2020 Investec SA Women’s Open, while the balance of the 132 playing field includes 30 leading players on the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour player rankings, five invitations, two leading amateurs and five qualifiers. Sisters Yolanda and Siviwe Duma from East London, India’s Sharmila Nicollet, Swiss golfer Caroline Rominger and Rosie Davies from England secured invitations, while the two leading amateurs are GolfRSA Elite Squad members Kaylah Williams from Western Province and Boland golfer Megan Streicher. Clara Petrie from Switzerland won the qualifying round on Monday, with compatriot Christina Gloor and amateur trio Kaiyuree Moodley, Bobbi Brown and Bianca Wernich securing the final four spots. The tournament tees off on Thursday, 12 March and there will be a cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March and, at the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000. Entry is free to the 2020 event, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse. FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA #InvestecSAWomensOpen #InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf FACEBOOK: @SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club TWITTER: @SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC INSTAGRAM: @sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Buhai completes brilliant wire-to-wire win at Glendower

6 March 2020 – Ashleigh Buhai slept on the lead for two straight nights and on Friday, South Africa’s top ranked golfer completed her march to victory in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club in fine style. The only player in the 77-strong international field to break the 200 mark, Buhai celebrated her 11th Sunshine Ladies Tour title – and 14th career win – with a winning total of 17-under-par 199. The 30-year-old honorary member opened her campaign at the championship layout with a blistering 63 and retained the overnight lead with a 69 in the second round. She began the final day three shots clear of Stacy Bregman and four ahead of local fan favourite Casandra Hall. Birdies at the first and third holes kept Bregman at bay and a third gain on the par four ninth took Buhai through the turn with a four-shot cushion. Bregman managed to close the gap with back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12 and a Buhai bogey on the par five 13th reduced the deficit to two shots, but Buhai extinguished Bregman’s title hopes with a brilliant approach into par five 15th. After holing a confident 15-foot putt for three, she drained a 20-footer on the short 17th and closed out a five-shot victory with par at the last. “Obviously I’m thrilled with the golf I played over the last three days; to shoot 17-under in three rounds is pretty to good golf, even if I say so myself,” said the delighted Buhai after her final round five-under 67. “Coming home after a top 13 on the LPGA Tour in Australia and then playing the kind of golf I did here shows that the work I’ve been doing with my coach Doug Wood is really paying off. “I knew going into the final round that Stacy and Casandra were going to come at me. Although we had sunny weather the last two days, the course was still soft and you could fire at the pins. “The way I am swinging it, I just trusted what I was doing. They had to catch me. If I make a few birdies, they would have to make two or three more, so I felt very comfortable going out there.” Buhai found the water on the par-five 13th but atoned for the lone bogey with a strong finish. “Stacy pulled it back after the turn, but I just continued to hit to the spaces I needed to. I stood on the 14th after the drop and thought if I made two birdies going home I’d be good. And I made an eagle and a birdie,” she said. “I had 194 metres to a tucked pin on the left and I went with a 5-wood. The ball was lying perfectly, just a little above my feet. I could trust what the slope would do and drew it into the flag. It came out perfectly. On 17, the pin was also tucked on the left but the wind helped off the right. It was a similar yardage to the second round. I hit a flighted 7-iron in and it held the line beautifully.” Buhai enjoyed sharing another victory on home soil with husband David on the bag. “Dave and I don’t do this full-time anymore, because we want to stay married,” she joked. “No-one knows my game better and there is no-one I trust more. It’s brilliant to celebrate another win with him. We almost have a full-house now. The only one I haven’t won is the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, because it doesn’t fit in with my schedule.” Buhai also applauded Jabra for extending their investment in the women’s professional game to the Sunshine Ladies Tour. “It’s really fantastic to see a foreign company backing golf in South Africa and to have JB (Jean-Baptiste Pain – Jabra Managing Director South EMEA) driving this is incredible, because he is so passionate about growing women’s professional golf. Not only did Jabra increase our prize money from R200 000 to R600 000 this year, but they also offered the first non-exempt player in the top five a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour. This event has two qualifying spots for the Evian Championship. “The international interest from the players continues to increase, because our tour is perfectly positioned at the start of the season. I sincerely hope that JB and Jabra will inspire more foreign investors so we can grow the tour.” Meanwhile Bregman may have had to settle for second after a final round 69, but the runner-up finish carried 620 points, which propelled her to the summit of the Investec Order of Merit. It’s an advantageous position for Bregman ahead of the final event – the Investec South African Women’s Open. The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner topped the standings in 2018 and could bank the R100 000 bonus again with another strong showing at Westlake Golf Club next week. Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie Hall was equally pleased with her performance ahead of the co-sanctioned €200 000 season-finale in Cape Town. “It will be my first LET start and I’m taking a lot of confidence from this performance to Westlake. Hopefully the wind is merciful and I can get my foot on the Order of Merit,” the 20-year-old said. With Buhai, Bregman and rookie Hall already exempt it was Scotland’s Jane Turner that earned the start in the Jabra Ladies Open as the first non-exempt player in the top five. Turner, who won the Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters at San Lameer just two weeks ago, made a trio of birdies on the bounce from the 12th and a further gain at 17 to register a final round 71 that lifted her to fourth on five-under 211. SOCIAL MEDIA JABRA LADIES CLASSIC TWITTER - @We_are_Jabra FACEBOOK - @Jabra INSTAGRAM - @Jabra HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Bregman, Hall give chase at Jabra Ladies Classic

5 March 2020 – Ashleigh Buhai signed for a three-under 69 to retain the lead on Thursday, but Stacy Bregman and local fan favourite Casandra Hall are hot on her heels with 18 holes to play in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club. Buhai could not quite hit the heights of a blistering 63 on day one, but another flawless trip around the championship layout kept her at the summit. She will start the final round on 12-under-par 132, four shots clear of Bregman, who returned a bogey-free 68. Hall – the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most recent Ladies European Tour graduate – hauled herself into the chasing pack with a joint best of the day 66 to finish four shots adrift on eight-under. Scotland’s Jane Turner, who visited the winner’s circle just two weeks ago at San Lameer, reeled in a trio of birdies over the last six holes for a 69 to move to fourth on four-under. Kelsey Nicholas, who rallied after a nervous bogey-bogey start to keep pace with playing partners Buhai and Bregman, signed for 73 to finish alone in fifth on three-under, while last week’s Joburg Ladies Open winner Monique Smit is tied for sixth on two-under alongside 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner Nobuhle Dlamini from eSwatini, India’s Sharmila Nicollet and Rachel Rossel from Switzerland, who shared the low-round honours with Hall. [caption id="attachment_27678" align="alignright" width="300"] Ashleigh Buhai leads the 2020 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club on 12-under after rounds of 63 & 69. Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour[/caption] Buhai had a great start to the season with a fine top 13 finish in Australia before she was forced to return home when the LPGA Tour cancelled events in Thailand and Singapore due to health concerns about the Covid-19 virus. She was pleased with her form over the first two days and looking forward to the final round battle. “If it was offered, I would have taken 12-under before I teed off. I had a number in mind; I thought if I shot three rounds of four-under, I’d have a good chance to win,” the 30-year-old Buhai said. “I’m already at 12-under, but I’ll have to keep my foot on the gas in the final round. Stacy played really well and I saw that Cas also had a great second round. Stace and I grew up playing this course and its Casandra’s home course, so the local course knowledge is definitely coming into play. “It helps that I know where the ball is going and stayed patient, because I didn’t have to chase. The pins were a little more tucked today and I didn’t hit it as close, so you play to the big spaces and work it into the flag. If you don’t, at least you still have a putt.” Bregman was chuffed with the result of her careful course management. “I think nine-under is a great score. Glendower is a tough test; it’s a true test golf. You have to hit fairways and you have to put yourself on the right side of the flag to score well and I’ve done that well for the last two days,” said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer. “It’s been a while since I struck it this good and it’s coming at the right time of the season. A win this week gets you into the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the qualifier for the Evian Championship. Next week, we have the Investec SA Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour (LET). I want to perform well at Westlake and take that form to our next LET event in Saudi. “My wedge-play has been really good and I’m holing a lot more putts. The greens here are really good and fast and if you read it good and hold you lines, you can get it going. This course has its challenges, but it’s also fair, because there is always a side to miss it. I worked really hard in the off-season with my new coach and it’s so good to see it all come to fruition here in the Jabra Ladies Classic. I’ll need to shoot four- to five-under to beat Ash, because she is just playing fantastic golf at the moment, but I’m really happy with the direction my game is moving.” [caption id="attachment_27679" align="alignleft" width="300"] Casandra Hall is four off the pace after a sizzling 66 on day 2 of the 2020 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour[/caption] Hall attributed her sizzling 66 to a strong iron-game. “I saw my coach Robbie Stewart after I got back from the LET Q-School in Spain and we worked on my game up,“ she said. “I hit a few bad drives, but I missed it in the rights spots. I didn’t sink many amazing birdie putts, but I hit my irons unbelievably well, I was throwing darts at the pins all day. “After all the rain the course, and the greens, are a lot softer than last week. It’s a big change and that has really helped me to attack the flags. But I also love the course. It’s my home course and it sets up nicely for me, especially the faster greens, which I love.” The course also suited South African Longest Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt, who fired three birdies and eagled the tough par five 13th for a flawless five-under 67 that catapulted the Pretoria golfer from joint 37th to a tie for 10th. “I drove the ball incredibly well and I hit every fairway. My wedge-play was good, too and I only missed two greens all day. I needed a low round to make the cut, and now I just have to do it all over again tomorrow so I can play myself into the field for the Investec SA Women’s Open.” SOCIAL MEDIA JABRA LADIES CLASSIC TWITTER - @We_are_Jabra FACEBOOK - @Jabra INSTAGRAM - @Jabra HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Sizzling 63 sees Buhai surge to the top in Jabra

4 March 2020 – Olympics-bound Ashleigh Buhai equalled her lowest career round at Glendower Golf Club with a stunning 63, which saw her surge into a four-shot lead in the opening round of the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Open on Wednesday. It was a spectacular start to the penultimate event of the 2020 Sunshine Ladies Tour season for Buhai, who overhauled Stacy Bregman for the top spot. Bregman had earlier ramped up the fans with a flawless five-under 67, while 21-year-old Kelsey Nicholas stunned with a four-under 68 to finish a further shot back in third. Mimmi Bergman from Sweden and Nicole Garcia carded rounds of 69 to share fourth, but local favourite Casandra Hall missed out on the three-way tie for fifth after a late bogey on the par four 16th saw her sign for 70. Nobuhle Dlamini – back in action after a two week stint on the Ladies European Tour in Australia – dropped two shots early in the round, but the eSwatini golfer rallied with a trio of birdies to grab a seat on the distinctly international bus on one-under. The 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner shares seventh with Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters champion Jane Turner from Scotland, India’s Shamilla Nicollet, Caroline Rominger from Switzerland, Dutch golfer Pasqualle Coffa, Leticia Rad-Anderica from Germany and South Africa’s Nicole Schoeman, who leads the 10-strong amateur challenge. The day belonged to three-time former Investec SA Women’s Open Champion Buhai. After an opening pair of birdies, the 28-year-old Johannesburg golfer followed a third gain on the seventh with an eagle on the par five eighth. She atoned for a lone bogey on the ninth with five birdies on the bounce from the par four 12th, which propelled her to the summit. Just a little over a year since Buhai picked up her 10th title on the local circuit with a wire-to-wire performance in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club, South Africa’s leading golfer was delighted to set a blistering pace in her first start of the season. “I’ve had a couple of other 63s before – on the East and West courses at my home club (Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club), at Durban Country Club and at Greenbay on the LPGA Tour – so it’s tough to compare, but it felt great to put a 63 on the card at Glendower, ” Buhai said. “I believe it’s the lowest score since the changes to the course, but we had placing, so it won’t be an official course record. After all the rain on Sunday and Monday, the course played long and it was challenging in the wind. I played really well in Australia so my game was in good shape and I did some work with my coach Doug Wood last week. I hit my drives and long irons really well and I could wedge it close because the greens are still soft and receptive. “I holed a nice 20-footer on the first and nearly holed my approach on the second, so it was a really great start. The next couple of holes is a tough stretch, but I kept it going and took advantage on seven and eight. I hit a bad tee shot on nine and took my punishment. “I hit it close on 10 and 11 and missed the putts, but on 12 holed the birdie putt and that sparked the run. I hit a great bunker shot from 30 metres to eight foot on 13, a good 9-iron on 14 and holed a downhill putt and I got a little lucky on 15 after pulling my tee shot. Just knocked it on and holed a 25-footer for birdie. I Nice birdies, but that’s what happens when things are going your way. “On 16, I made a really good birdie. I was in the left rough and I hit a hybrid about 20 foot left of the pin where I had to hit it too, and holed the putt. The last two holes was a little scrappy, but I scrambled well and I was proud of myself for saving two great pars. Really pleased with this start.” The round was by no means stress-free, but her more relaxed attitude took the edge off. “I’ve worked hard to stay more relaxed during the round and it is definitely helping me to score. I knew there is an expectation for me to do well, but I try not to put pressure on myself.” Bregman has also been working hard on improvements to her game in the off-season and began to see the fruit of her labour in the Joburg Ladies Open last week. “I played really well at Soweto Country Club, but I got a few unlucky bounces and I couldn’t quite get the measure of the greens,” Bregman said. “I felt confident, though, with the game I was bringing to Glendower. I hit a lot of fairways and greens today and I putted really well. “Unfortunately I lipped out for birdie on the par five eighth, but I’m happy with birdies on two. The greens are absolutely awesome; you just have to allow enough break and trust your green reading. This course is such a good test of golf and probably one of the best courses in the country. To shoot five-under in a bogey-free round; I’m pretty chuffed with that.” Nicholas, playing in her second season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, was equally delighted with her performance. “I had four birdies on the front and I made a great birdie on 17. It was so unexpected. I was 15 metres away, but my caddie and I agreed on the line quickly and I just committed to the putt. “It was in the whole way. I’ve never thrived at Glendower. My caddie kept saying its home course advantage and I kept saying Glendower and I don’t get along; I’m just over the moon with a 68,” said the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golfer. SOCIAL MEDIA JABRA LADIES CLASSIC TWITTER - @We_are_Jabra FACEBOOK - @Jabra INSTAGRAM - @Jabra HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.    

Buhai, Caudal & company ready to blast at Glendower

3 March 2020 – The LPGA Tour’s loss is the definitely the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s gain as fan favourite Ashleigh Buhai joins the star-studded line up of the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March. Buhai plans to play Thailand and Singapore following a top 13 finish in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open was derailed when the LPGA Tour cancelled three events in Asia due to health concerns and advisories around the coronavirus. “I was due to play the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake next week, but things didn’t quite work out. In a sense it was disappointing, because I played nicely in Australia and I was looking forward to the next two events,” she said. “It was like they pulled the handbrake on me just when I was catching some form, but at least it’s a win for me; I got to come home and compete in the Jabra Ladies Classic this week.” The success of the first Jabra Ladies Classic led to an increased purse of R600 000. In addition the 77-strong player field will be also be vying for the prime prize – a start in the Jabra Ladies Open for the winner on the Ladies European Tour, which also serves the qualifying tournament for the Evian Championship. “We are very happy and very proud to present the second Jabra Ladies Classic in partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Glendower Golf Club,” said Jean-Baptiste Pain, Managing Director South EMEA. “We decided to raise the prize money for the second edition of this tournament from R200 000 and the  Jabra Ladies Open happening in France will also see a significant increase in its prize money and a full LET category for the 2020 edition. This shows a continuing commitment from Jabra to support women’s golf and women’s sports across the globe.” [caption id="attachment_27673" align="alignright" width="300"] South Africa’s top ranked Ashleigh Buhai will spearhead the local challenge in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March; credit Shannon Naidoo.[/caption] Buhai will lead the South African challenge alongside current Investec Order of Merit leader Lejan Lewthwaite, five-time winner Stacy Bregman and in-form Monique Smit, who triumphed in last week’s Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club. The 30-year-old’s affinity with Glendower is well-documented and she lifted the first of her 10 Sunshine Ladies Tour titles at Glendower in the 2014 Chase to the Investec Cup. “I attended the academy at Glendower from a young age, so I’ve been playing the course for about 20 years. ‘The Old Lady’ is one of my firm favourites and it’s to be back here,” Buhai said. “I think a little local knowledge will help, but with all the rain in the last two days, you can pretty much fire at the flags. Hopefully we don’t get any more rain and the course can dry up and really show its teeth. “There is an expectation that I should do well here, so there is a little added pressure, but I’ve been following the tour and the girls are playing some exceptional golf. I will have to play well and I can’t take anything for granted.” Thirty-six international competitors from 15 countries will be in action at Glendower this week, spearheaded by defending champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France, three-time Ladies European Tour winner Florentyna Parker from England and eSwatini golfer Nobuhle Dlamini – last year’s Investec Order of Merit champion. [caption id="attachment_27674" align="alignleft" width="300"] Defending champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France will spearhead the international challenge in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.[/caption] Caudal is looking forward to taking up her title defence despite a niggling wrist injury. “After a nice top six finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open I was feeling really confident about the season, but then I aggravated an old wrist injury,” said Caudal, who ended a seven-year title drought with a two-shot victory on four-under 212 last year. “I have been resting my wrist and receiving treatment and it has improved. I couldn’t practice after I received an injection two weeks ago, but I hit the ball very well in the pro-am. The conditions were tough in the wind and the course is very wet, but I didn’t have too much discomfort. “On this course, every aspect of your game has to be sharp. You have to drive it well to position yourself for your approach shots, your short irons and wedges have to be on point and you have to putt well. There is no hiding on this golf course. It will punish any weakness in your game.” Dlamini has worn the bridesmaid tag twice at Glendower – losing a four-hole play-off to South Korea’s Carrie Park in 2017 and again to Caudal last year. The eSwatini golfer is also back from competing in Australia and hoping this week is third time lucky. “I was a bit tired in my first start on the Ladies European Tour, but I was so happy to make the cut in the Women’s New South Wales Open last week. I had a few bad holes, but overall my game was solid and I was driving the ball well,” she said. “I’m dog tired after the flight from Australian, but I’m really happy we are playing Glendower this week. I love this course and I know it really well. You can’t get over-confident on this course, but if you show ‘The Old Lady’ respect, she will reward you.” SOCIAL MEDIA JABRA LADIES CLASSIC TWITTER - @We_are_Jabra FACEBOOK - @Jabra INSTAGRAM - @Jabra HASHTAGS - #jabraladiesclassic #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR TWITTER - @SLadiesTour FACEBOOK - @sunshineladiestour INSTAGRAM - @sunshineladiestour Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Smit claims emotional victory in Soweto

28 February 2020 – Monique Smit claimed an emotional fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title at the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open, where she tapped in for par at the final hole to emerge from an enthralling finale with a one-shot victory. Almost exactly a month ago, the South African won a four-way play-off to clinch the 20th and final card on offer for the 2020 Ladies European Tour season at the final stage of the LET Qualifying School in Spain. The 28-year-old George golfer brought that same big match temperament to Soweto Country Club on the final day to edge out overnight leader Sideri Vanova with a two-under-par 70 to triumph on one-under 217. Vanova from the Czech Republic started the day with a seven shot advantage, but the Oubaai golfer started to close the gap in impressive fashion with birdies at the second and third holes. “I hit a solid 8-iron straight at the pin, four feet short of the hole and boxed the putt for birdie,” said Smit. “On third, I managed to get it on for two. It should have dropped for eagle, but just slipped past and I had a tap-in birdie.” Smit bounced back from a double bogey on the fourth with another gain on the par four fifth and countered a drop on the eight with a birdie on nine to turn one-under. “The fourth was just an oops on the scorecard. On five, I took a lesser club and hit it hard and I got a favourable kick on to the upper tier of the green and holed a beautiful 15-footer for birdie. And I made another solid birdie on nine to keep the momentum going.” Vanova – chasing a career first victory in her debut on the South African women’s professional golf circuit – aided Smit’s challenge when she dropped five shots on the outward loop. With her lead cut to just one shot, the Czech golfer started the back nine with five straight pars, but Smit matched her shot for shot, including answering Vanova’s birdie on the par four 15th with one of her own. “The birdie on 15 was a super lucky one. I hit a good 3-wood down the fairway and I took a three-quarter wedge into the green because we had a bit if wind from behind. I started it out a fraction to the right and I got such a good member’s bounce. It stopped five feet from the pin, and I knocked it in to stay one shot behind Sideri.” Both players had just hit their second shots into the 16th when play was suspended for dangerous conditions. A heavy 60-minute downpour during the nearly three hour suspension had left the firm greens a little more receptive, but the already penalising rough absolutely brutal. Smit made a superb par from the back of the green, while Vanova failed to capitalise on a 12 footer for birdie on 16. “Sideri took on the pin on 17 (par three). She overshot the green and caught a bad bounce that left her in the trees. She dropped another shot and I made a good par to level the score,” Smit said. On 18, the 30-year-old Czech paid the price of an errant drive when she leaked her tee shot left into the rough. Smit’s percentage golf earned her a share of the lead on the penultimate hole and a cautious 3-wood off the tee on the final hole set her up for the win. “The rough had been so punishing on a dry day, but with the rain it was like chewing gum. Sideri hit her second shot with absolutely everything she had, but she only advanced it a few metres. She hit a magnificent third out of the rough, though and was about 15 feet short right of the pin,” Smit explained. “I was well behind her with the 3-wood off the tee and had the advantage of going first. I just wanted to find the putting surface when I saw her in the rough. I lagged my first putt to half a foot and she nearly holed her putt. Unfortunately it pulled up short and I had the par putt for the win.” Smit was visibly emotional in a post-round interview and dedicated the victory to her mom Rejeanne, who passed away last year. “Mom was always on the bag over six seasons on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. She was on the bag for my first win in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in 2014 and she shared in all my great moments and the not-so-great ones,” said the 28-year-old. “She was my best friend and my biggest supporter and the hardest thing I ever had to do was to lay my mom to rest. To come into the final day with a seven-shot deficit was nothing compared to that. I could hear her tell me just give an extra 10% and I did that today. “I tried to win the Joburg Ladies Open for four years, and finally Bongi Mokaba from the City of Joburg has given me the trophy. I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result. . I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result. “I want to congratulate Sideri on a wonder start to her season. Her smile never wavered, no matter what happened out there and she is a wonderful ambassador for the game, a great example to other pros and a fantastic role model for the youth. I’m sure we will be seeing more of her in the next two weeks.” Vanova closed with a round of 78 to seal a runner-up finish, while Stacy Bregman took third on six-over with her final round 73. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie Barbaglia won the leading amateur prize. The Bryanston golfer carded rounds of 73, 79 and 76 to tie for seventh. The Sunshine Ladies Tour travels to Glendower Golf Club next week for the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, where the international field will fight it out for the winner’s share and a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour from 4-6 March. This is the penultimate event before the season wraps up with Investec SA Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March. The Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa, boasts a €200 000 prize fund and the winner not only earns exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, but will tee it up in two Majors this year – the AIG British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship. SOCIAL MEDIA - TOURNAMENT Hashtag - #joburgladiesopen TWITTER - @CityofJoburgZA FACEBOOK - @CityofJoburg INSTAGRAM - @cityofjoburg SOCIAL MEDIA - SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR Hashtags - #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere 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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