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16th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Magnificent Macnab makes history in Jabra Ladies Classic

16 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab made South African golfing history on Friday when she powered to an eight-stroke victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.

In a scintillating final round, the 19-year-old GolfRSA No 1 sealed the victory in breath-taking fashion, firing five birdies on the back nine for a closing five-under-par 67.

In doing so, Macnab became the first amateur winner on the South African women’s professional golf circuit since Ashleigh Buhai (née Simon) lifted her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007.

“It’s awesome; it’s such a great feeling,” said Macnab with a smile that could light up the world.

The Ekurhuleni golfer had squandered a chance to rewrite the history books in season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club with a double bogey late in the final round, and she was absolutely delighted to pull it through in her home union.

“There is a lot more pressure when you play against the pros, and last week in Cape Town I didn’t really know what to expect heading into the final day with a share of the lead. This week I felt a lot more comfortable, and playing here at Glendower was great. It’s such a great course.

“I won the SA Women’s Stroke Play and the Match Play twice and I’ve represented South Africa a few times, so this ranks right up there with my greatest achievements. I am over the moon, because this is huge for me. The theme this year is #levelup and I feel I’ve done exactly that. Following in Ashleigh’s shoes is pretty special.

“I wanted to come out this season to build experience and to test myself. There are still a lot of amazing opportunities ahead this season, but it’s a fantastic feeling to get it done. I’m really grateful to my whole team for getting me here.”

Macnab began the final round with a one-shot lead over Lindi Coetzee and had a three stroke advantage over seasoned winner Lee-Anne Pace.

Two months ago, the Serengeti golfer showed her merciless side as she routed Megan Streicher 11 & 9 in the 36-hole match play final to successfully defend her SA Women’s Amateur title. The amateur was just as ruthless over the last nine holes at Glendower.

Having dropped a trio of shots in her outward loop, Macnab still had a three-shot advantage through the turn and she pulled away from the field with the clinical surge coming home. She notched birdied on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes to give herself an unattainable lead coming down the last hole.

“I started birdie, birdie, but I didn’t actually hit the ball great,” Macnab said. “My swing felt a little bit snappy, so I slowed it down and started driving it really well. I was able to avoid the errant shots that cost me in the previous rounds and the putts were dropping, which always helps.”

GolfRSA No 1 Caitlyn Macnab made history as the first amateur winner in 14 years on the South African women’s professional golf circuit when she powered to an eight-shot victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

As an amateur, Macnab can’t share in the R600 000 purse on offer this week, but the historic achievement does earn her coveted spot in the field of the Jabra Ladies Open. The dual-ranking Ladies European Tour and LET Access Series event is also the qualifying tournament for the season’s fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in France from 22-25 July.

“It’s a fantastic incentive from Jabra. Although I am leaving for Texas Christian University in August to take up a golf scholarship, competing in the Jabra Ladies Open will be an incredible opportunity to build more experience,” said Macnab.

Her 12-under-par total was ultimately eight shots better than her Grant Veenstra Golf Academy stable-mate Nicole Garcia and second-season professional playing partner Coetzee.

Garcia birdied both par fives on the back nine and reduced the gap to six shots with an eagle-two at the 16th, but a double bogey finish for a 68 saw her slip back to tie for second on four-under with Coetzee, who returned a 74.

Kelsey Nicholas, also in her second season in the pro ranks, carded a 71 to grab a share of fourth alongside Pace, who signed for 77, while last year’s Investec Order of Merit winner Monique Smit finished in sixth spot on three-over.

The next stop for the Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners is Sun City, where Lejan Lewthwaite will take up her title defence in the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

 


15th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Macnab on the march in Jabra Ladies Classic

15 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab will look to resist rising star Lindi Coetzee and seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace as she bids for the Jabra Ladies Classic title in Friday’s final round at Glendower Golf Club.

The 19-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player fired a sparkling four-under-par 68 on a cool, but windless conditions to charge to a one-shot lead, ending the day on seven-under. She leads Coetzee by one shot, and finished three shots ahead of Pace.

Macnab began the second round one shot behind early leader Kyra van Kan and superb approach play saw her notch four birdies in the first five holes. She sandwiched a birdie between bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes and interrupted a string of pars on the homeward loop with a lone birdie on the par-five 13th.

But Macnab was quick to state that she hadn’t been at her best.

“I hit it long on seven and had a very difficult chip, and I hit a bad approach shot into nine that resulted in another bogey, but it was a pretty solid run over the first nine holes,” said Macnab. “After the turn I struggled to get the putts to drop and I had to scramble for pars on 16 and 17, but all in all, a decent round.”

Macnab will stick to the same winning game plan in Friday’s final round that won her the Champions of Champions title at Glendower in 2019 and the Open, Closed and Junior honours in the Ekurhuleni Women’s Open in October last year.

“The course is in beautiful condition, but it is set up quite a bit tougher than I am used to playing it on the amateur circuit. But I won’t adjust my game plan; I’ll just try to limit the mistakes and avoid the errant shots that cost me some shots today.”

Coetzee, who lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club, racked up five birdies and was level with Macnab with one hole to play, but an untimely bogey on the closing hole for a 68 cost her a share of the lead.

“It was a good round; I kept it in the fairways, hit the greens and kept it bogey free right up to the 18th hole,” she said. “I struggled with the driver all day and on the last hole, I pulled my tee shot into the trees. I had a shot, but I didn’t execute it well and clipped a branch. I got a lucky break and had a decent lie. I hit my third on the green and two-putted, but the way I see it, it was a solid drop and it could have been much worse.”

The 21-year-old Magalies Park golfer is excited at the prospect of joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on Friday.

“Caitlyn and I go way back and she is always a pleasure to play with, but I am really looking forward to playing with Lee-Anne. We have so much to learn from her and I’ve always admired her swing and her demeanour on the course. Anything I can learn from her will help me to level up.”

Pace once again made a slow start, but the nine-time Ladies European Tour winner kicked it up a gear coming home. She made three birdies on the bounce from the par-four 11th and picked up another shot on the par-five 15th, before also letting one slip on the par-four 18th.

“It was slow at the start, but I made a very good up-and-down for bogey on the ninth and that got me going,” she said after successive rounds of 70. “I managed to get the putts to the hole on the back nine and made some birdies, so I’m very happy with the round.

“I won’t change much going into the final round. I’ll try to take advantage of the par-fives; they are playing a little easier and you can reach them. Those are definitely the scoring holes. I am pretty aggressive with my irons, but it is vital that you drive the fairways at this course. I’ll aim for the fairways first, and work out my strategy from there.”

The outcome on Friday would be significant for all three leading players as they try to take their games to the next level.

For Pace, a 14th Sunshine Ladies Tour title and 24th professional career victory will be a big shot of confidence as she prepares for the 2021 Ladies European season. For Coetzee, a maiden win in the R600 000 showpiece would mean a major leg up in the 2021 Investec Order of Merit race and the chance to compete in the Jabra Ladies Open.

There is no financial incentive for Macnab, but to become the first amateur to win on the local professional circuit since Ashleigh Buhai won her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007, will be reward enough.

Unfortunately it was the end of the road for first round leader Kyra van Kan.

The Glendower amateur followed an opening 68 with a round of 76 to tie seasoned professionals Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Monique Smit for fourth on level-par. However, she forgot to sign her scorecard and was disqualified from the tournament. A tough lesson for Ekurhuleni junior but at 15, she has many years ahead and she will surely bounce back from the disappointment.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.


14th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

GolfRSA duo throws down gauntlet at Glendower

14 April 2021 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour challenged its participants this season to #LevelUp, but on the opening day of the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, it was talented GolfRSA squad members Kyra van Kan and Caitlyn Macnab who stepped up to plate.

Macnab, South Africa’s No 1 ranked amateur, already sounded a warning with a fourth place finish in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open and, not surprisingly, the reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion laid down an early marker again.

Confident at the course where she lifted the 2019 Champion of Champions and the 2020 Ekurhuleni Womens Open titles, the 19-year-old Serengeti golfer mixed four birdies with a lone bogey for a solid three-under-par 69 to finish in second, a shot ahead of Lee-Anne Pace, second-season professional Lindi Coetzee and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne from France in joint third.

But even the country’s leading amateur was upstaged on the day by 15-year-old Van Kan, whom she beat in the 2020 SA Women’s Amateur final.

“I’m actually a little overwhelmed,” admitted the junior after a birdie-birdie finish propelled her to the summit on four-under. “I knew I was putting together a good round, but I hardly expected to be leading.”

The GolfRSA B-Squad member kept a clean card on her outward loop and turned two-under. “I had a bit of stumble after the turn, but I was able to eliminate both bogeys.

“I teethed it in the bunker on the first and made a good up-and-down for bogey, but I holed a birdie putt on the third to get back to two-under. On the fourth, I had a silly three-putt, but birdied the next hole. Going to the eighth tee I had no idea what was leading. I hit an okay drive, laid up with a 6-iron and pitched a sand-wedge close for birdie.

“When we got to the ninth tee, the nerves showed up. I smashed a drive with a baby draw and my caddie and I didn’t see where it ended up. We both burst out laughing when we found it just short of water. I guess the adrenaline was really flowing. I wedged it close and holed the putt. That’s when I found out I was leading.”

Although Glendower is her home course, Van Kan had to adjust her game considerably to navigate the set-up. “The course is playing a lot longer that I am used to, so although I know the greens and the bounces well, I couldn’t really count on the home course advantage.

“I had to adjust for the length, like on the seventh. I would usually hit driver, 9-iron or pitching wedge, but I had to hit driver, 3-wood on that hole. It was a learning curve, and I am really pleased that I could raise my game. My playing partners, Lauren Taylor from England and Lenanda van der Watt, were great and really helped me to get comfortable quickly on this the big stage.”

Joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on day two could be intimidating, but the Bedfordview teenager is excited at the prospect of playing alongside two of her golfing heroes.

“I know Cat really well as we both play for Ekurhuleni and I’m excited to play with Lee-Anne. She has been a big inspiration for us juniors and it should be another great learning opportunity for me,” said Van Kan. “I am going to stick to my game plan and the way I approached the course today. Keep a positive mindset and play the course to the strengths of my game.”

LPGA Tour champion Lee-Anne Pace will start the second round of the Jabra Ladies Classic just two off the pace after an opening two-under-par 70 at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Pace will be the one to watch on moving day.

The Paarl golfer has collected 13 trophies on the local circuit in addition to nine Ladies European Tour titles and success on the LPGA Tour. She started on the 10th and was two-under and bogey-free through 12 holes when she made successive bogeys on four and five, which she overturned with a brace of birdies on the seventh and eighth holes.

Spain’s Maria Beautell, Sweden’s Anna Magnusson and Michaela Fletcher share sixth on one-under, with five-time champion Stacy Bregman a further shot back in joint ninth with Nina Pegova from Poland and Belgium’s Charlotte de Corte.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.


13th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

French winners target more success at Jabra Ladies Classic

DOWERGLEN, 13 April 2021 – A six-strong French delegation led by 2019 champion Anne-Lise Caudal will be targeting more Sunshine Ladies Tour success when the Jabra Ladies Classic tees off at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April.

The French clique will be among 31 international golfers representing 13 countries hoping to deny the local line-up a home victory in the R600 000 showpiece.

Caudal will draw on the positive memories of her 2019 win at the acclaimed Dowerglen championship course.

“Winning the first Jabra Ladies Classic will definitely always stand out as one of the best weeks of my career,” said the former Ladies European Tour (LET) winner, who broke a seven-year winning drought to capture the inaugural title by two shots.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour plays such a vital role in our preparation for the LET season and we were extremely pleased when Jabra extended their fantastic support of women’s golf to South Africa. I had so many close calls on the Sunshine Ladies Tour over the years and to finally pull it through it in a Jabra event was very special. Hopefully I can do it again this week.”

Compatriot Manon Gidali is also targeting a repeat performance, following her maiden win in last week’s Cape Town Ladies Open.

The 27-year-old Parisian drained a 25-foot clutch putt on the 18th hole in a play-off at Royal Cape Golf Club to beat South Africa’s Cara Gorlei for glory in the season-opener.

“I only competed in the Investec South African Women’s Open before and I am really happy that I decided to play the full Sunshine Ladies Tour this year. The win has sunk in now and I am eager to see if I can win two this season. It would be a dream start to 2021,” said Gidali.

Young gun Ivanna Samu hopes to celebrate her comeback to professional golf with strong performance in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

South African rising star Ivanna Samu warns that the South African young guns have even more reason to raise their games this week with a fantastic incentive from Jabra on the table.

“A lot of the younger girls had planned to compete on the international mini-tours or to go to qualifying schools for the LPGA or LET and everything was put on ice by the pandemic,” Samu said. “The Sunshine Ladies Tour not only gives us an opportunity to get back on track, but the leading player in the top five this week who is not already exempt on the LET will get to play in the Jabra Ladies Open.

“That is a huge incentive, because the Jabra Ladies Open is the qualifying tournament for the Evian Championship. The international players will have to bring their A-game to keep us at bay.”

For the 20-year-old Supreme Golf Academy player the 2020 season was particularly trying, as she had to delay her comeback to competitive golf once again.

“I made a really great start to my pro career on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, but then I suffered a series of setbacks. A back injury took me out of the game for months, and I lost another year when I battled with cancer. Then the pandemic stole last year, so I am raring to go.”

Samu said the challenges over the last two years have taught her some important lessons.

“I was used to dominating and winning as an amateur, and turning pro was a much bigger learning curve than I expected. The last two years have taught me to dial back my expectations; to be patient and to take things one day at a time.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Glendower. It’s one of my most favourite courses and the layout sets up nicely for me, but I am also taking that philosophy on to the golf course. Don’t look too far ahead, but rather play shot-for-shot and hole-by-hole.”

Gorlei, too, has put the disappointment of last week’s play-off loss in the rear-view mirror.

“I drew a lot of positives from Royal Cape. I had to come from behind to get myself in the play-off. Now I just need to step it up another level,” said the 25-year-old Arkansas University graduate.

South Africa’s No 1 ranked Caitlyn Macnab, coming off a fourth place finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open, will lead the 11-strong amateur challenge at the layout where she lifted the 2020 Ekurhuleni Open and the 2019 GolfRSA Champion of Champions titles.

Other amateurs to watch include 2020 Swiss Junior National champion Elena Moosmann, Amanda Majsterek from Poland and Ekurhuleni junior Kiera Floyd, who impressed with a third place finish in the first edition of the Jabra Ladies Classic.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.


9th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

A Mother City maiden win for Gidali at Royal Cape

CAPE TOWN, 9 April 2021 – France’s Manon Gidali holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of the Cape Town Ladies Open to claim her maiden professional victory in the opening event of the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season.

The Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigner, who started the day two shots behind leaders Cara Gorlei and amateur Caitlyn Macnab, fired a round of one-under-par 73 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish the 54-hole event tied with local hope Gorlei on four-under-par 218.

Ultimately, it took a special putt for birdie to separate the clubhouse leaders in the ensuing sudden-death playoff.

With Gorlei having already played an exquisite bunker shot to tap-in distance for par on the second trip down the closing hole, Gidali’s inspiration came from a similar situation in the recent Qatar Open.

“I was thinking about my friend Antoine Rozner. He sank a long putt to win on the European Tour two weeks ago in Qatar and I was thinking, ‘You can do it too.’ And I made it,” said the elated Gidali.

France’s Manon Gidali holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of the Cape Town Ladies Open to claim her maiden professional victory in the opening event of the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

For the 27-year-old French golfer, the victory extends an upward trend that kicked off in South Africa 12 months ago at Westlake Golf Club.

Despite starting the 2020 season with conditional status on the Ladies European Tour, the Parisian made the most of her nine starts to achieve a career-best 33rd ranking in the Race to Costa del Sol in 2020 in just nine starts – chiefly thanks to a tie for fourth in last year’s Investec South African Women’s Open, backed up by a runner-up finish in The Saudi Ladies Team International and sixth in the Andalucia Open De Espana.

Gidali is the 13th international champion and the fourth French player to enjoy success since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014.

In 2019, Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch combined for victory in the Serengeti Team Championship and LET winner Anne-Lise Caudal lifted the Jabra Ladies Classic title at Glendower in 2019.

Gidali opted to play in the Sunshine Ladies Tour series in order to prepare for her first full season in Europe in 2021.

“I’ve been training hard all winter so I was really excited to come out here and play,” she said.

“It means a lot to me to get my first professional win here on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. This gives me the confidence to know that I can win and obviously the next step is to win on the LET. I’m really excited to keep playing now.”

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite finished third on two-under.

Reigning South African Amateur champion Macnab edged to a three-shot lead after nine holes, but she lost momentum on the back nine and slipped out of contention with a double bogey when she found the water on the par-three 15th.

A closing bogey saw the GolfRSA No. 1 finish fourth on one-under.

Caitlyn Macnab during round 3 of the Cape Town Ladies open on 08/04/2021

“That double really hurt, but I guess it was just one of those days where things weren’t working. I feel like I can take a lot of positives away from this event and it is all part of the learning process,” said the 19-year-old. “I am happy otherwise with how my game held up and how I dealt with the pressure and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Macnab, who still took the Leading Amateur honour, won’t dwell too much on the missed opportunity, however, as the tour moves to Glendower for the next event, the Jabra Ladies Classic.

The Ekurhuleni golfer has tasted success before at the former SA Open venue, with wins in the 2020 Ekurhuleni Open and the 2019 GolfRSA Champion of Champions event.

Gorlei had mixed emotions after recording the best finish of her short professional career.

“It was awesome to be back in contention,” said the 25-year-old Arkansas University graduate, who joined the pro ranks last year. “I had lots of emotions going into today with a share of the lead, but after I made that double bogey at the 10th I was five shots back of Caitlyn. I had to gather myself and concentrate on my own game and I’m proud of the way I pulled things back. Onwards and upwards from here. I have stepped it up a level already and it’s only week one. There is still a lot of golf to be played this season.”

The City of Cape Town threw its support behind the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2015 and celebrated the seventh edition of the Cape Town Ladies Open this year. The City also extended its backing to promote and develop women sport in the Western Cape as the host of the season-ending Investec South African Women’s Open since 2018.

‘We are really thrilled to be welcoming the Sunshine Ladies Tour back to the Mother City in 2021. In a period marked by uncertainty for many sporting activities and events due to Covid-19, it is encouraging that the Sunshine Ladies Tour remains resolute in achieving its goals,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

“Our support of these golf tournaments goes back many years. This speaks to our commitment to enabling women’s sport, especially those aimed at developing the women’s game while also nurturing the next generation of the country’s top golfers. We have seen some progress over the years and we’re looking forward to continuing this partnership.”

The R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic from 14-16 April offers the leading non-exempt LET player a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open – the qualifying event for the fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in July.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.


8th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

First Sunshine Ladies Tour showdown set in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 8 April 2021 – Amateur Caitlyn Macnab lived up to her No. 1 billing when she surged into a share of the lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Serengeti golfer fired a flawless five-under-par 69 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish alongside overnight leader Cara Gorlei.

Milnerton’s Gorlei lost some traction over the first 10 holes, but re-ignited her campaign with an eagle-birdie combination at the 11th and 12th holes. She regained a seat at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie finish for a two-under 72.

Sitting at five-under, both golfers will look to make history in Friday’s final round with a maiden victory on Africa’s premier professional women’s golf circuit.

Macnab, a champion for the strength of the women’s amateur game in South Africa, backed up her successful title defence in the South African Women’s Amateur Championship in February with victories in the KwaZulu-Natal Championship and Free State Open.

Ahead of the first event, the GolfRSA Elite Squad member said she was looking forward to raising her game and soaking up experience competing against the professionals before she took up a golf scholarship at Texas Christian University in August.

So far, her game has held up rather nicely and she doesn’t plan to change a thing.

“I am not going to change a thing,” said the 19-year-old Elite Squad player. “I came into the tournament with a strategy for this course and I am going to stick with it. I will try to capitalise on the par fives and to keep the ball in play. The greens are rolling very true and if I can position myself well off the tees, the birdie opportunities are out there.”

Cara Gorlei kept her bid for a maiden title on track with a second round 72 to tie for the lead on five under in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club.

For Gorlei, the putter will be key.

“I was putting beautifully before the round, but I left everything short over the first nine holes. After another close miss on the 10th, I took out another ball. I told my coach Wayne Bradley, who is on the bag this week, hopefully this one won’t be afraid of the dark,” said the 25-year-old.

“Then I eagled the 11th and the momentum changed right there. I made a few more birdies coming in and that’s what I need to bring to the final round. The rest of the game is in good nick and I’m looking forward to going head-to-head with Caitlyn. She was in the group ahead of me and playing really well, so I’m looking forward to a great battle on Friday.”

The young guns will have to bring their A-game, though, with Frenchwoman Manon Gidali and three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace in hot pursuit.

Gidali, who tied for fourth in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake in her last visit to South Africa, is looking for a strong start to her first full Sunshine Ladies Tour season and will start the final round two shots behind the joint leaders.

“I played really nicely in the first round, but I just didn’t score, so that was the focus today,” said the 27-year-old Ladies European Tour campaigner, who had a lone bogey in her round of 71.

“I didn’t even know what I shot today; the focus was just to keep the card clean and to pick up some shots on the field. It’s been four months since I last played competitive golf, which is why I came out to make an early start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. It’s really great to have this tour where we can prepare for the start of the LET season. And playing in the sun is just fantastic.”

Former LPGA Tour winner Pace closed the gap on the frontrunners with a four-under 70.

“I’m really happy with the way my game is shaping up,” said Pace, the winner in 2016, 2018 and 2020. “The start was a bit scrappy but got it to level before the turn and everything fell into place on the back nine. I’m striking the ball well and I’m close. I’m pleased that I made four birdies and didn’t drop a shot over the last nine holes.

“I have always loved this tournament and this course and it would be great to start the season on a winning note again after such a disappointing 2020.”

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite returned a 73 to finish alone in fifth on one-under.

Dutch golfer Pasqualle Coffa matched Macnab’s low round of the day to move to sixth position on one-over, with Scottish pair Jane Turner and Rachael Taylor, Emie Peronnin from France and Stacy Bregman rounding out the top 10 on two-over.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.


6th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Young guns ready to raise the bar on the Sunshine Ladies Tour

CAPE TOWN, 6 April 2021 – Alice Hewson’s winning putt in last year’s Investec South African Women’s Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour summed it all up.

The 23-year-old English professional represented the emerging breed of young golfers primed to become a dominant force in the game for many years to come.

Casandra Hall – one of eight South Africans campaigning on the Ladies European Tour (LET), says Hewson’s winning performance at Westlake definitely inspired the country’s young talents to raise their game.

“Alice won the 2019 English Ladies Amateur, turned pro and won on debut here in South Africa. We definitely got the message that if you work hard and you make the most of the opportunities that come your way, the world can be your oyster.

“It may take some of us a little longer, but it was inspiring to watch someone our age defy the odds. She beat some seriously seasoned players at Westlake a lot of younger golfers like myself were motivated to level up this year.”

Hall finished her rookie season in 2019 in sixth spot on the Investec Order of Merit and her second season was equally solid.

A few months after a top 25 finish at Westlake, the Glendower golfer took a page out of Hewson’s book. The new kid on the block held off LET campaigners Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit, Stacy Bregman, Nobuhle Dlamini and Lejan Lewthwaite for her maiden success in the Investec Royal Swazi Open at Sun City.

“Although I won twice on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series, we had spent so many months waiting out the lockdown, so to beat Sunshine Ladies Tour winners with my game still a bit rusty was the greatest feeling ever. It was great to tick that box,” said the 21-year-old Glendower golfer.

“It was frustrating to sit with a new LET card and not being able to travel to Europe, but 2020 was still a great year for me. I had the win at Sun City and I was the first woman to play on the Virtual Sunshine Tour series. In November I made the field for the Saudi Ladies International and although I didn’t do well in the individual competition, I did hole the winning putt for the International Team in the Team Competition and I flew home after a pretty decent pay-day.

“I am so excited to step it up another gear this season and win one of the six tournaments, if not two. I’d really like to win the Investec SA Women’s Open. It’s the one title we all want, but it also comes with some incredible perks, like the LET exemption. The prize money is huge and, as a South African, you’d also bank the R100 000 Investec Homegrown Award. That would go a long way in setting me up for Europe this season.”

Hall will start her title chase in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club on Wednesday, but she expects some tough competition.

“Besides all the seasoned pros, you have the likes of Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Brittney Fay-Berger, who will all looking for a fast start,” said Hall.

“Ivanna was one of our best amateurs and she made a great start in the pro ranks, but then she suffered a back injury and a battle with cancer. She fought really hard to come back and she will be so eager to push the reset button.

“The others had all just started their pro careers when the pandemic struck so they will be just as keen to get out of the blocks fast. It’s going to get interesting this week.”

Randpark’s Myeki is also ready to push the reset button, especially after losing her brother to the corona virus just before New Year.

“The vibe this morning at Royal Cape during the practice round was electric. You could literally feel the excitement in the air. We are all amped to get the season going and I think this year we will see a lot of players’ answer the Sunshine Ladies Tour to level up,” she said.

“I am personally really excited about this season. I had to put my plans for Europe on ice, so I am going all out. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to soak up experience and I want to win.”

Myeki, who represented South Africa on the international stage seven times, was thrilled to see a 17-strong amateur field led by reigning SA Women’s Amateur and GolfRSA No.1 Caitlyn Macnab tee it up in the season-opener.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour is the best platform for these girls to test themselves and get a realistic look at where their games are, and of course, to gain experience. We lost so many great amateurs because there wasn’t a professional circuit around to transition from amateur golf up to 2014. I was so fortunate that I could play the circuit as an amateur to prepare me for the next level and I hope they also embrace this opportunity with both hands,” Myeki said.

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5th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

SA’s top pros primed to throw down the gauntlet in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 5 April 2021 – South African leading lights Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit and Lejan Lewthwaite aim to make statement of intent when the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour launches in Cape Town this week.

The eighth season gets underway with the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April, where the field will vie for the lion’s share of the R200 000 prize fund and an early move on the season-long Investec Order of Merit race.

“Six weeks, six events, more than R6-million in prize money and a load of amazing incentives; you bet we are champing at the bit to get going,” said Garcia.

A three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Garcia missed a full season in 2019 due to hip surgery. She had high hopes of making a comeback last year, but the global Covid-19 pandemic put paid to her plans.

“The last 12 months has been frustrating, especially for the Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigners,” she said. “South Africa went into the Level 5 lockdown shortly after the Investec South African Women’s Open and the LET also pressed pause on their 2020 schedule until August.

“With the long breaks between events and trying to work around all the travel restrictions, the season was really a write-off for most of us. That’s why we all are so eager to push the reset button.

“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times. The Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline this season is “level up” and it is certainly the right time for all of us to embrace that and take things to the next level.”

Smit echoed Garcia’s thoughts.

“It was definitely a season of highs and lows,” said the George golfer, who won the 2020 Investec Order of Merit, courtesy of victory in the Joburg Ladies Open and a runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open.

“It was ironic that I hit the best form of my career in the worst year ever. I had such a fantastic season at home, and qualified for my first AIG Women’s Open. The rest of the season is hardly worth mentioning, but I did qualify as a barista during the lockdown, so there is that silver lining.

“I am really excited to kick off this season with a bang. Besides the prize money, we have so many incentives to shoot for this year. There are chances to secure starts in the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the qualifying event for The Amundi Evian Championship, and the Big Green Egg Dutch Ladies Open in the Netherlands, not to mention all the opportunities this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open offers the South Africans.

“Besides earning tour winner’s status for the LET, it’s the qualifying tournament for the U.S. Women’s Open. Imagine having the chance to qualify for the biggest major right here on home soil.

“Plus, if the winner is a South African, she’ll win the Investec Homegrown Award, which is worth another R100 000. For a seasoned pro or an up-and-coming rookie that’s a huge bonus to use towards travel costs. And, of course, R100 000 for winning the Investec Order of Merit. It’s all to play for this year.”

Lewthwaite, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, hosted by Sun International last year, finished third on the Investec Order of Merit and was primed to play her first full season on the LET.

“I definitely had high hopes after a successful season at home, but at least I did get to play a few LET events and gain some invaluable experience. So I am ready to pick up where I left off and I think this season is going to be incredible.
“We see more international players come out to South Africa year-on-year because the Sunshine Ladies Tour is so perfectly positioned to build competitive form before the European season starts.

“And this year we should see even more top professionals on the tour with the Investec South African Women’s Open being a qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open. That’s great news for the seasoned pros and the rookies and the amateurs, too. I cut my teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when I came back from college in the USA and it is such a great circuit to build experience.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most prolific winner Lee-Anne Pace will headline the field in the season-opener in the Mother City. The LPGA champion will be chasing an unprecedented fourth Cape Town Ladies Open title, having won the event in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Other players on the watch list include LET campaigners Stacy Bregman, Casandra Hall and eSwatini standout Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Jane Turner from Scotland and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal and rising stars Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Tara Griebenow.

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23rd March 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Investec announces new SA winner’s prize incentive

The condensed 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour is set to be the best yet as Investec introduces the Investec Homegrown Award. The award will see a South African winner of the Investec South African Women’s Open take home an additional R100 000.

2014 saw Investec launch the Chase to the Investec Cup, which was inclusive of the 100,000 rand bonus prize for the Investec Order of Merit winner. Several years later, Investec further entrenched their golfing presence by claiming naming rights to the Investec South African Women’s Open, with a prize pool of 200,000 euro.

Investec’s Head of Sponsorship, Peta Dixon says that Investec is committed to its values of equality, inclusion and diversity and is focused on enabling more women to thrive.

“With this in mind, we’ve added an additional prize incentive of 100,000 rand. Simply put: If a South African professional wins the Investec South African Women’s Open, she will win the 100,000 rand Investec Homegrown Award as well as her portion of the Investec South African Women’s Open prize pool. She can of course potentially take the Investec Order of Merit too.

“Investec looks to continue promoting and backing local South African talent which is in line with our recently launched campaign of ‘Women on the rise,’ focusing on the strength of female athletes and gender equality. While there’s still a long way to go before gender pay parity in golf is a reality, we are proud of the contribution that we’re making to that cause.”

Investec sponsored golfers Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Lejan Lewthwaite will all be competing on the 6-tournament tour, with their eyes on the prize says Bregman:

“It’s another wonderful incentive by Investec and I speak on behalf of all the pro’s when I say that we’re extremely grateful. Personally, I’ve worked hard throughout the off-season and lockdown because there is a lot of money at stake when factoring in the Investec Order of Merit, tournament wins and now the Investec Homegrown Award on offer at the final tournament. All these contribute towards a hugely competitive circuit: growing our game and golfers; and we just cannot wait to tee-off.”

The eighth season of the local women’s professional circuit launches with the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April; and concludes with the ISAWO at Westlake Golf Club from 13 – 16 May 2021.

Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager Pauli van Meersbergen:

“As a partner and sponsor, Investec has made an immeasurable contribution to the Sunshine Ladies Tour since the circuit launched in 2014 and has consistently upped the ante with additional incentives to promote the development of women’s professional golf in our country.

“They have done it again with this wonderful Investec Homegrown Award. Winning the Investec South African Women’s Open comes with a two-year exemption on the Ladies European Tour, where the 100,000 rand cash injection will go a long way in covering costs for the champion. We applaud Investec for their innovation and dedication to growing women’s golf and for always finding ways to give our South African golfers an opportunity to take the next step and level up.”

2021 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR REVISED SCHEDULE

APRIL
7-9 Cape Town Ladies Open
R200 000
Royal Cape Golf Club
14-16    Jabra Ladies Classic
  R600 000
  Glendower Golf Club
 
21-23    SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
  R400 000
  Gary Player Country Club
 
28-30    Joburg Ladies Open
  R500 000
  Soweto Country Club
 
MAY
7-9 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
  R600 000
  R100 000 Better Ball Pro-Am
 
13-16 Investec South African Women’s Open*
  €200 000
  Westlake Golf Club
  * Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned
  **2021 U.S. Women’s Open Qualifier

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29th January 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

New dates set for 8th Sunshine Ladies Tour season

The Sunshine Ladies Tour announced its revised schedule for the 2021 season and will launch in April with a bumper run of six events, including an exciting format change for the season finale Investec South African Women’s Open.

“While the country was still in the throes of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in January, we took a decision for the safety of our players to postpone the start of our eighth season. Our amazing sponsors, partners and host venues embraced this decision and we are excited to announce the new dates, starting in April,” said Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager Pauli van Meersbergen.

The Cape Town Ladies Open will kick off the season at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April. Over the next four weeks, the tour will travel to Gauteng, Sun City and the Garden Route before returning to the Mother City for the season-finale.

The Jabra Ladies Classic celebrates its third season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April, followed by the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

The sixth Joburg Ladies Open returns to its home at Soweto Country Club from 28-30 April and the annual Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am – played concurrently with the Sunshine Tour’s Challenge Tour co-sanctioned Dimension Data Pro-Am – takes place from 7-9 May in George, before the tour circles back to the Mother City for the final showpiece.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open will once again be co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour,” Van Meersbergen added.

“Our flagship event will carry a prize fund of €200 000 (approximately R3.6-million) and Westlake Golf Club will host the event for a fourth consecutive year from 13-16 May. We are excited to announce that, for the first time on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the tournament will be decided over 72 holes.

“We may be starting later than originally planned, but we are delighted to offer our members nearly R6-million in prize money, some exciting incentives and the race to the Investec Order of Merit bonus prize of R100 000.”

The 2021 Investec Order of Merit is based on a points system and the race for glory commences at the Cape Town Ladies Open and wraps up with the Investec South African Women’s Open.

Peta Dixon, Head of Sponsorships Investec SA, said:

“We at Investec take great pride in our involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour since 2014: Not only as the title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open and the Investec Order of Merit, but also through our support of our players performing on the international stage. We strive to create platforms and opportunities that further develop women’s sport in South Africa and are proud of how The Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown in the last seven years. The increase in international participation speaks volumes of the high standard of competition.

“Thanks to the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s partnership with the Ladies European Tour, the format change of the Investec South African Women’s Open is now befitting the status of South Africa’s flagship event. As a 72-hole tournament, the Investec South African Women’s Open now joins the premier events on the international calendar.”

Margie Whitehouse, chair of the Women’s Professional Golf Association, said:

“We are very pleased for all the competitors that the 2021 season is going ahead. We look forward to seeing our top talents in action, to welcome the international campaigners to our shores and to offer our new crop of rookies and the young amateurs coming through the ranks a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience to further their careers.”

2021 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR REVISED SCHEDULE

APRIL
7-9 Cape Town Ladies Open
      R200 000
Royal Cape Golf Club

14-16 Jabra Ladies Classic
      R600 000
Glendower Golf Club

21-23 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
      R400 000
Gary Player Country Club

28-30 Joburg Ladies Open
      R500 000
Soweto Country Club

MAY
7-9 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
      R600 000
R100 000 Better Ball Pro-Am

13-16 Investec South African Women’s Open*
      €200 000
Westlake Golf Club
* co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour