21st February 2017 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Rain washes out Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower
It was a day where the weather was the main talking point at Glendower and sadly, Mother Nature got the better of the start of the seventh event in this yearâ€™s Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
Torrential rain, which began on Monday and never relented, forced the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon to be abandoned without a tee shot being fired.
â€œThe course was flooded and the grounds staff were trying desperately to clean up with squeegees when we arrived early this morning,â€ said tournament director Pauli van Meersbergen.
â€œAt first we moved the early morning tee times forward to 10.20am, but it was still raining and the course was too wet to start play. So we pushed it to 12h30, but the rain still hadn’t let up.
â€œBy lunch time we had no choice but to abandon play. More than 70 millimetres of rain had fallen since the previous evening and the bunkers and fairways were waterlogged due to the deluge.â€
With the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Final in just three weeks away and the fight for the top 10 spots into the R1-million season-finale at Millvale Private Retreat heating up, Van Meersbergen said itâ€™s imperative to attempt to deliver a 54-hole tournament.
â€œThe weather report is a bit more favourable for Wednesday, so â€“ rain permitting â€“ we plan to get the first round started by 6h30 and then play the second round from 11h30,â€ she said. â€œThat will hopefully give us a final round on Thursday.
â€œBut we might have to play on Friday if the wet weather persists. In addition to extra funding for the tournaments purses, Investec Property covers the operational costs of our tournaments. Thanks to their support, we can push the event to an extra day if we need to.â€
While the Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners value the impact of the rain, given the countrywide water crisis, Cape Town Ladies Open winner Ashleigh Buhai was perhaps the only person in the clubhouse who was really happy to get a one day reprieve from the Glendower showpiece.
â€œI jetted back from the LPGA Australian Open to make the Tuesday start, so a few more hours to shake the jetlag is really welcome,â€ said the Edenvale golfer.
â€œOf course, playing 36 holes on Wednesday will be taxing, but by tomorrow Iâ€™ll be up for it. I lost my lead while I was in Australia and I want to be rested, because every time Investec Property brings the Sunshine Ladies Tour to my home course, I want to win.â€
Two of the other players waiting out the delayed start was the two campaigners Buhai hopes to beat this week.
Nicole Garcia vaulted to second behind Englandâ€™s Kiran Matharu in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies points standings with a stunning wire-to-wire victory in the Dimension Data Challenge at Fancourt on Sunday.
It was the Benoni golferâ€™s first win since her 2015 breakthrough pro victory at Glendower and the 27-year-old is primed for back-to-back success.
Meanwhile Matharu, who recorded a start-to-finish victory in the Ladies Tshwane Open last month, moved to the top of the rankings with a fourth place finish at Fancourt. The Englishwoman was also looking forward to cash in on her good form with another successful week on South African circuit.
PHOTO â€“ Waterlogged fairways at Glendower, host venue for the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon; credit Luke Walker / Sunshine Ladies Tour.