25th January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Bregman banks Canon Ladies Tshwane Open title
Stacy Bregman claimed her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a dominant wire-to-wire performance in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Thursday.
The Country Club Johannesburg golfer carded a final round one-under-par 71 to triumph by four shots over Ashleigh Buhai in the R400Â 000 season-opener.
The victory ended a two-year title wait for the 31-year-old, who won the Zambia Ladies Open in 2014 and racked up three titles in 2015.
“It’s the best feeling ever,â€ said Bregman. â€œThose first two days felt easy, although the conditions were challenging and it felt really great to start the last round in the lead. Itâ€™s been a long while.
â€œThe last year was such a difficult season. I felt I was heading for a breakthrough. I tasted it a few times, but it just didnâ€™t happen. When I came home at the end of the season, I sat down and really analysed what Stacy wants for the future.
â€œI have a great team around me and Iâ€™m excited for the future after this win. I feel like Iâ€™ve turned a big corner and Iâ€™m hungry for more success. It feels incredibly good to lift a trophy again and to start the year in the winnerâ€™s circle is a dream start to the season.â€
Bregman began the day with a two shot lead over Buhai and local amateur Danielle du Toit.
A double bogey start gave Buhai and Du Toit an early chance to close the gap, but both her opponents squandered the change to put pressure on the leader. â€œAsh and Danielle both dropped at the first and I told my caddie Dougie (Mthembu) that was our last bogey for the day,â€ said Bregman.
She found birdies at key times and gains at four, five and seven took her through the turn at four-under with a three shot lead over Buhai and a four shot cushion on the amateur.
â€œThat gave me breathing space and I had the momentum down the back,â€ said the 31-year-old Investec Property player. â€œAsh and Danielle kept the pressure up with some birdies on the back nine and I gave them another chance to close to the gap at 15.
â€œI didnâ€™t hit a good tee shot and left myself with a lot of fairway to cover to the green. I managed to miss the hazard with my second, but I finished short of the green in the really thick stuff. It was a tough chip to a tiny green and a difficult pin, but I got it inside 10 feet and just missed the par putt. It was a good bogey, though, and I took some confidence from making it.â€
Then Bregman hammered home a 30-footer for birdie at 16 and that was the money shot. She rattled in par putts at 17 and 18 to drive home the victory.
â€œI hit a 9-iron into 16 and had a long look at the putt,â€ said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer. â€œThe moment the putt dropped I felt I had it in the bag, but I never took my eye off the ball. The best two shots of the day was my approach at the fourth and the putt at 16.
â€œBoth holes were key turning points in the round where I thought ‘right, I’ve got this’.Â I just stuck to the processes that Grant (Veenstra/coach) have set for me as hard as I could. It felt great walking up 18 knowing I was going to win again. I just hope this ride continues.â€
Buhai closed with a 73 to finish on even-par 216, one shot ahead of 11-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lee-Anne Pace, who also registered 73.
Although Du Toit battled some on the back nine, she gave an excellent account of herself at her home course to close out a top 10 and clinch the Top Amateur honour on four-over 220.
A 77 earned her a share of ninth with former South African Womenâ€™s Open champion Tandi McCallum, two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Nicole Garcia and English professional Lauren Taylor.