14th February 2014 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Dlamini keen to get pro debut underway at Investec Chase
The veranda at Houghton Golf Club was vibrating with an excited buzz as patrons watched competitors on the putting green preparing for first Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, which tees off the new Sunshine Ladies Tour from 13-14 February.
Lauren Blease from England – a Ladies European Tour Access Series (LETAS) campaigner – and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini, sporting a brand new Ladies European Tour (LET) card, were among the first internationals to take a spin around the Jack Nicklaus layout.
“I just loved it out there, although the greens will take some getting used to,” said 24-year-old Blease from Wentworth.
“My coach, Doug McClelland, used to compete on the European Tour and used to come out to South Africa in the seventies; he told me quite a bit about Houghton and it is every bit as beautiful as he described.
“The layout definitely suits my eye and the course is in great condition. It’s fantastic to have the first event at such a celebrated venue.”
Former top SA amateur Dlamini is excited about her pro debut in the first of three Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies events.
“I played most of my amateur golf in South Africa and I think it’s fitting that I make my pro debut on the South African circuit,” Dlamini said. “I’m really thrilled about the new Sunshine Ladies Tour, and the Investec Cup for Ladies at the end of the Tour is such a great initiative. It gives us all an added bonus to compete for.
“It’s fantastic that we now have these events to compete in here at home, and hopefully we will not only inspire the amateurs that will competing with us, but more sponsors to add to the Tour.”
Blease and Dlamini are among 14 international entrants at the first Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, and represent two of 12 nations vying for the winner’s share of the R100,000 purse.
Former SA Womens Open champions and LET campaigners Tandi von Ruben and Laurette Maritz will lead the field of 55 players that also include LET rookies Kim Williams and Nicole Garcia from South Africa.
Other international entries include England’s Holly Aitchison and Rachel Drummond, as well as Hermione Fitzgerald from Switzerland, Italy’s Sophie Sandolo, Maggie Yuan from Australia, Norway’s Cecilie Lundgreen, Sweden’s Nora Kagonyera and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia.
The first Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies also drew a large amateur presence, with 21 future champions lining up alongside their professional peers.
Among the starters are this weekend’s Eastern Province Stroke Play and Match Play champions, Magda Kruger and Michaela Fletcher, as well as Monja Richards, Carrie Park, Ji Sun Kang and Kaleigh Telfer, all ranked inside the top 10 of the the WGSA Senior Rankings.