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7th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Gorlei soars to Cape Town Ladies Open summit

CAPE TOWN, 7 April 2021 – Milnerton golfer Cara Gorlei topped a crowded leaderboard after the first day of a new Sunshine Ladies Tour season as her three-under-par round of 71 earned her a one-shot lead in the Cape Town Ladies Open on Wednesday.

Her local knowledge came into good use and Gorlei showed her intent with a flying start, opening with a birdie at Royal Cape Golf Club and notching another at the par five third.

She cancelled two bogeys with another brace of birdies, but the testing conditions on the back nine offered fewer opportunities to score. A fifth birdie on the par-five 16th edged the 25-year-old to a slim advantage over Scotland’s Rachel Taylor.

Thrilled to take the early lead, Gorlei is unlikely to get too comfortable with 36 holes to go.

Apart from Taylor on her heels, Manon Gidali from France, rookie Nadia van der Westhuizen and GolfRSA’s No 1 ranked amateur Caitlyn Macnab lurk at level-par, while a further six players assembled on one-over. Even defending champion Lee-Anne Pace, who suffered an untimely double bogey on the short 15th hole, poses a threat at two-over.

Gorlei closed the door on a stellar amateur career in 2020 after four years at the University of Arkansas. It was during this stretch that she also won the prestigious South African Women’s Amateur Championship.

She came close to a maiden win during her pro debut on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and a runner-up finish in the SA Women’s Masters helped the Capetonian to close out her rookie season ranked ninth in the Investec Order of Merit.

“Four years playing on the Arkansas Razorbacks Golf Team to convince me that I have what it takes to pursue a career in golf and making a strong start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour just further strengthened my resolve to take my game to the next level,” Gorlei said.

“I was very lucky that I didn’t have to press pause on my 2020 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I was able to get on an expatriate flight to the United States and I spent five months competing on the Womens All Pro Tour and the Symetra Tour. I gained so much insight and experience competing abroad and hopefully I can put it all into practice this season to get into the winner’s circle.”

She came to South Africa to escape the harsh winter cold in Scotland – can you blame Rachel Taylor for taking a minute to enjoy the sun on her face during the opening round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club?

Taylor, meanwhile, was pleased as punch with her first competitive round on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“I decided to join some of my fellow Ladies European Tour Access Series campaigners and spend some time in the sun,” said the Glaswegian. “It’s really cold back home and I don’t enjoy the cold, so I thought I’d make my first trip to South Africa and have some fun before the season kicks off in Europe. I had no idea I had done so well

“I just made three pretty standard birdies going out. You know, fairway, green, putt … nothing fancy. It was a wee bit windier coming home. I dropped a shot on the sixth, but that happens. I was just enjoying myself and looked what happened. I’m really quite pleased about that.”

Macnab, who cemented her No 1 billing with two provincial victories since defending her SA Women’s Amateur title in February, cancelled a trio of birdies with three bogeys for a level-par round, but the Serengeti golfer hopes to step it up over the next 36 holes.
“I could have been better, but I struggled a little bit with the driver,” said the 19-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member. “You have to hit fairways on this course to position yourself for your shots into the green. I made a few putts and a lot of good swings, but there is definitely room for improvement.”

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