23rd January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Bregman stakes an early claim at Pretoria Country Club
Stacy Bregman birdied the final hole at Pretoria Country Club for a gutsy one-under-par 71 to lead the home charge on a windy first day in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open on Tuesday.
The severity of the gusts proved challenging for the 78-strong field on day one, but the four-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Bregman fired six birdies to produce the only sub-par round on the tightly-packed leaderboard.
Bregman leads by one from four international campaigners, including defending champion Kiran Matharu from England, Maria Beautell from Spain and Swedish pair Alexandra Lennartsson and Sofia Gronberg-Whitmore.
Top South African talents Ashleigh Buhai, Lee-Anne Pace and Kim Williams are a further stroke back in joint sixth with Lauren Taylor from England and French player Emie Peronnin.
Six more players are within striking distance at two-over.
Local professional Francesca Cuturi, Englandâ€™s Rachael Goodall and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia are tied for 11th with leading amateurs Brittney-Fay Berger from Kloof Country Club, Casandra Hall from Ebotse and 2017 All-India Womenâ€™s Amateur champion Danielle du Toit from Pretoria Country Club.
Bregman overcame a shaky start and pushed to the front with birdies at 12 and 14 and she offset a late bogey at the par three 16th with the birdie finish.
â€œI hit some good shots, but my course management was off at the start of the round and I think I was a little over-excited to get going,â€ she said.
â€œI made two good birdie putts at six and seven to reel it back and that settled me down. I think I deserve a little pat on the back for finishing under par, because it definitely wasnâ€™t easy out there. You constantly had to adjust your clubs to the wind, which was very gusty.â€
Bregman switched coaches at the end of last year. She worked hard on her game in the off-season to iron out her swing and is pleased with the progress sheâ€™s made.
â€œI joined Nicole Garcia at the Grant Veenstra Academy at Ebotse and Iâ€™m really happy with all the work Grant and I have done,â€ she said. â€œI could see the improvements and itâ€™s really great to see the swing changes pay off.â€
Bregman enjoyed four victories in 2016 and she is keen to return to the winnerâ€™s circle.
â€œPlaying this course is like playing a chess game; you really have to plan your shots and execute them well,â€ said the Investec Property player.
â€œItâ€™s a tight layout, with a lot of trees and 80-plus pot bunkers to navigate. I think course management is key to scoring well. I was slightly rusty on the front nine, but my course management was much better over the last nine holes.
â€œThe greens are small, so youâ€™re not putting from great distances, even if you hit it to the middle. But you have to keep it in play and avoid those pot bunkers to have a chance to win.â€
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.