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26th January 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Di-Data raises stakes

2014SAWO_MoniqueSmit_SLTDimension Data has raised the bar for this year’s Dimension Data Ladies Pro-am in George with the announcement of a R50,000 prize money increase. The fourth event in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies in February will boast a total purse of R225,000, with R200,000 on offer in the main event and R25,000 to play for in the pro-am component.

Last year’s champion, Monique Smit, welcomed the padded purse ahead of her title defence from 21-22 February 2015.

“This is only the second edition of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and it is really exciting that we will have an even bigger purse to compete for this year,” said Smit, who also lifted the SuperSport Challenge title last year.

Southern Cape’s Smit delighted the home crowds when she defeated LPGA Tour card-holder Ashleigh Simon for the title in the inaugural event last year. Smit is relishing the chance to challenge for back-to-back victories at Oubaai Golf Club and the Outeniqua course at Fancourt and said the increased prize money raises the stakes for the Garden Route event significantly.

“The increased purse makes the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-am a really attractive event for all the local and international players,” she said.

“It’s not just more money to play for, but the increased purse equates to more points on offer for the Chase to the Investec Cup and that really raises the stakes.”

As one of the longest standing sponsors of the Sunshine Tour, Dimension Data executive chairman Jeremy Ord said the company was delighted to extend its support of professional golf to include the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“We are very proud to be part of the resurgence in women’s professional golf in South Africa,” Ord said. “The 2014 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am was a fantastic experience for spectators and competitors alike. We were treated to world-class golf played on two top courses and it was fascinating to watch the battle between Monique and Ashleigh unfold on the final day.

“Our pro-am guests thoroughly enjoyed challenging alongside the ladies, which was also a new and novel experience for them. We decided to increase the prize money for our Sunshine Tour’s event and it naturally followed that we should do the same for the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”

Women’s PGA of South (WPGA) chairperson, Margie Whitehouse, also welcomed the increased prize money.

“The extended support from Dimension Data further enhances what promises to be an exciting summer for women’s professional golf,” Whitehouse said.

“We are really excited about raised purse for the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am. Combined with the R600,000 bonus pool in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies and our new Cape Town Ladies Open, our players have so much more to play for this year.

“It’s just 12 months since we launched the Sunshine Ladies Tour, yet our sponsors have already showed added interest and support for the Tour. This bodes extremely well for the future of women’s professional golf in South Africa.”

Smit will headline the field in George alongside reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion Stacy Lee Bregman.

2015 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR SCHEDULE
FEBRUARY                   
09 – 10 Sun International Ladies Challenge
Lost City Golf Course
R 100 000

12 – 13 Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies
Glendower Golf Club
R 100 000

21 – 22 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am*
Oubaai Golf Club & Fancourt Outeniqua
R200 000 prize fund & R25 000 pro-am prize fund

25 – 26 Cape Town Ladies Open
Royal Cape Golf Club
R 100 000

MARCH                          
09 – 10 Supersport Ladies Challenge
Zwartkop Country Club
R 100 000

16 – 17 Ladies Tshwane Open
Pretoria Country Club
R 100 000

20 – 22 Investec Cup for Ladies
Millvale Private Retreat & Lost City Golf Course
R100 000 prize fund & R600 000 bonus pool

PHOTO – 2014 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am champion, Monique Smit, will be defending her title in George this February; credit Justin Klusener.