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20th January 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Friendship put aside for Cape Town showdown

CAPE TOWN, 20 January 2020 – South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and popular French golfer Anne-Lise Caudal will put their long-lasting friendship aside when they tee it up in the Cape Town Ladies Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club from 29-31 January.

Pace and Caudal struck up a friendship when the South African first started competing on the Ladies European Tour in 2008 and they have been fast friends since.

“Anne-Lise and I always support each other; in fact, I’m even going to caddy for her next week in the final stage of the LET Q-School, but we have both set ourselves goals for this season,” Pace said. “We will still be travelling together, but once we get on the course, the gloves will come off, starting at the Cape Town Ladies Open. With the incentives on offer this year, it’s every woman for herself.”

Pace is undoubtedly South Africa’s most successful golfer since Major champion Sally Little with nine LET wins and a LPGA victory under her belt. She also leads the Sunshine Ladies Tour champions’ list with 12 victories since the women’s professional circuit launched in 2014, including a Cape Town Ladies Open double.

And she will be looking to revenge two agonisingly close missed calls last year.

Pace looked on course to make it a hat-trick of wins at Royal Cape Golf Club after sharing the 36-hole lead with amateur Kajal Mistry. However, the Paarl golfer was beaten to the winner’s circle by former SA Women’s Masters champion Carrie Park and overhauled by Caudal and Mistry, who tied for second, in a mammoth final round tussle.

A week later, she was hunting a record fourth Investec South African Women’s Open crown, but once again the South African was denied when Indian rookie Diksha Dagar beat her by one shot for a maiden Ladies European Tour victory at Westlake Golf Club.

“It was still hugely disappointing to come so close and for the first time, not lift a single trophy,” Pace said.  “I am keen to get back on the winning track and it would be great to start off with a win in Cape Town and to then come full circle at the end of the season and win the Investec South African Women’s Open a fourth time.”

Cape Town has certainly been kind to Pace in the past and if she does triumph in the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open, she not only own the tournament record for most victories, but also bank exemption into two Majors – the Evian Championship and the AIG British Women’s Open – and playing privileges on the Ladies European Tour for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

“Those are huge incentives to play for and I also have my eye on the R100 000 bonus for the Investec Order of Merit. It all starts in Cape Town at the end of January and I’m really determined to start the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a strong start and to build from there.”

Caudal, who enjoyed her first taste of success on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club, also has a score to settle in the Mother City.

“I was a runner-up the last two years in the Cape Town Ladies Open, so I am hoping a new year and a new course brings me some good luck,” Caudal said. “It was really great to win last year after so many close calls over the first six seasons. It definitely boosted my confidence and I would love nothing more than to make a winning start in 2020 in Cape Town.”

The City of Cape Town is not only hosting the season-finale at Westlake for a third successive year, but backing the Cape Town Ladies Open for a sixth year running.

“We are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with the Cape Town Ladies Open as part of the Sunshine Ladies Tour series,” said Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of the City of Cape Town.

“Teeing off at one of the country’s top golf courses, the King David Mowbray Golf Club – with its impressive manicured fairways and beautiful greens – this year’s competitors are again in for a spectacular experience in the Mother City.

“As the supporter of the tournament for the last six years, the City of Cape Town has sought to partner with events aimed at developing the women’s game while also nurturing the next generation of the country’s top golfers. We believe sport development programmes play a vital role in development and tournaments such as these provide a chance for young talent to be nurtured to their full potential. The Cape Town Ladies Open is now one of the most anticipated tournaments on the golf circuit and, in a short period, it has become a significant feature on Cape Town’s annual events calendar.

“As the City administration, we also welcome the economic opportunities which arise through events such as these and the increased spend at our world-famous attractions.

“Our city is renowned as an outdoor adventure destination with beautiful mountains, rivers, streams and beaches that complement our world-class infrastructure and we hope the competitors will take the opportunity to explore some of these and see more of what Cape Town has to offer. We look forward to another exciting and successful edition of the Cape Town Ladies Open.”

Former champion Stacy Bregman, 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Nicole Garcia, Lejan Lewthwaite, Kim Williams and Jane Turner from Wales will also be joining the action at King David Mowbray Golf Club alongside up-and-coming rising stars Brittney-Fay Berger, Shawnelle de Lange, former SA Women’s Amateur champion Cara Gorlei and former GolfRSA Protea Zethu Myeki, who will make her professional debut from 29 – 31 January 2020.

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


28th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Double delight for Dlamini in Soweto

28 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini put an exclamation mark behind a dominant season with an emphatic four-shot victory in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club on Thursday.

Her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and her second win this season after her Dimension Data Ladies Challenge success last month – confirmed Dlamini as the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion for the 2019 season and earned the 27-year-old a bonus worth R100 000.

The big-hitting Swazi national carded a final round two-under 70 to triumph on a two-under 214 total.

“It’s a massive victory for me,” said a delighted Dlamini. “I didn’t expect to win the Joburg Ladies Open, but I put in a lot of work for this season.

Nobuhle Dlamini from Eswatini celebrated a double victory when she claimed the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit with an emphatic four-shot win in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“Coming into the final event, I knew I didn’t have to win at Soweto to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I really wanted it After the first two rounds, I knew I could win. The order of merit title would be even sweeter if I picked up a win. Two wins this season and the order of merit. I am really proud of what I’ve achieved.

“I was very excited about trying to win the Order of Merit, I think my performance at Glendower sort of sealed it for me, although it was still close. I knew I didn’t have to win the tournament to win the Order of Merit. I was really excited, but I still had a tournament to play. I’m happy to have won both.”

Dlamini began the final round on even-par with a one-shot lead over SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite and two shots clear of Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall.

She fired seven straight pars before dropping two shots at the par four eighth. Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10 took her back to level, and she erased another double bogey at the 11th with three birdies on the bounce from the par four 13th.

Dlamini finished two shots ahead of former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum, whose final round 70 earned her a runner-up finish and bumped the Parkview golfer second in the season-long points race.

Ebotse’s Hall finished solo third on six-over following a third round 76.

The round of the day – and the tournament – belonged to Lora Assad. The Johannesburg golfer scorched her way around the Gary Player-designed championship layout in 67 strokes and rocketed to joint fourth on seven-over alongside Monique Smit from Southern Cape.

Dlamini picked up her maiden pro win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International at the Wild Coast just over a year ago and it proved a watershed moment for the Glendower professional.

“This season has been the best of my life, but the Wild Coast was the pivotal moment. That’s when I knew for certain that I could compete against the best and beat them. It changed my mind-set and I’ve just become mentally stronger since.

“I made changes to the preparation for my tournaments, and since that first win last year things have changed. I’ve been more relaxed. I trust my process and my decisions on the course. I commit to my shots and I feel much more confident.”

Playing in the heart of Soweto, made the double triumph even sweeter for the 27-year-old.

“When they first told us that the Joburg Ladies Open would be hosted here I couldn’t believe it,” Dlamini said. “I played here three years ago and it was not looking good. The greens were not good and the fairways were bumpy. It was like coming to a whole different course when we played the pro-am here on Monday. I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed.

“We owe a huge debt to Selwyn Nathan for championing the refurbishment of this course. The Sunshine Tour rallied the support of the City of Joburg, the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the R&A and sponsors like Investec, Dimension Data, Telkom, SuperSport and PPC Cement to create something incredibly special here.

“I know a lot of golfers who live in Soweto and who had to travel by taxi to go and practice at the better courses in Johannesburg. One of them lives two minutes away from the course. He came to support me in the first round and cannot wait to start practicing here.

“Selwyn, together with the sponsors have created jobs here and a fantastic legacy for the people of Soweto. The course is young, but already a great layout. It will just get better and better, and I really believe this is a championship course.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Zethu Myeki carded rounds of 80, 76 and 73 to claim the leading amateur honours on 13-over. The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member tied for 13th with Lewthwaite, who finished third on the order of merit after closing with a final round 84.

Kim Williams finished fourth and Hall fifth to make it an all-Southern-African sweep of the top-five in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini poised for success in Soweto

27 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini fired three birdies on the bounce down the back nine of Soweto Country Club to line up a fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory in the Joburg Ladies Open on Wednesday.

Dlamini began the second round tied for the lead with reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite, but she opened up a one-shot lead with a second successive level par 72.

The Investec golfer is still nipping at her heels on one-over following a second round 73, while Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall lies a further stroke adrift on two-over, courtesy of a brace of 73s.

Former SA Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum got into the mix at four-over with an even-par 72.

India’s Tvesa Malik followed a one-over opening round with a 76 on day two to slip to a tie for fifth with 2019 SA Women’s Longest Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt, who returned a 74.

Yolanda Duma fired a one-under-par 71 for the shared low round of the day. The Border golfer rocketed to joint seventh on six-under, and will have former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Stacy Bregman and Monique Smit for company in the final round.

Dlamini is justifiably in a confident frame of mind.

She will be gunning for the double in Thursday’s final round – win the R500 000 Sunshine Ladies Tour season-finale and bank the R100 000 bonus for winning the season-long points race and it will take something special to stop her.

“I’ve had two good days as I’ve played solidly from tee to green,” said the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader.

“If I play like this tomorrow and make a couple more putts I should take it home “I’m looking forward to the incentive, but it would be great to win the Joburg Ladies Open.”

Dlamini followed a birdie start with a trio of bogeys and went out in two-over.

Coming home, the Glendower golfer birdied the 10th but a careless double-bogey on 11 got her into the right frame of mind. She fired three birdies in a row from the par four 13th to steady the ship and cemented herself at the top of the leaderboard with solid pars over the last three holes.

“I dropped on two of the par threes on the front nine, which was annoying,” Dlamini said.

“I made a good birdie on 10 over I overshot the green, but at the next hole I pitched it too close to the pin and it flew off the back. I chipped it short of the green two-putted for a double. I hit a great drive, so to drop two shots after being 78 metres from the hole hurt. But I’m proud of the way I came back after that.

“The greens were slightly softer in the second round, but not by much, so you really have to think your way around the course. My short game, especially the shorter pitches, was really good. If you can get it inside 12 foot, you’ve got a look at birdie, because the greens are very true.”

Aside from her obvious title ambitions, Dlamini was pleased to be playing an important golf event in the heart of Soweto.

“Whoever took the decision to make this a championship golf course has done so much for the people of Soweto, for the nation. I’ve got a lot of friends from Soweto, so they have to travel a long way to the nicer courses. Most of them can’t afford to play so it’s great to have a championship layout in their back yard.

“One of my friends actually lives a two-minute walk away from here and he came through yesterday and he said he can’t wait to play after we finish.

“A big thank you goes out to the sponsors for helping development. I’m happy that people from Soweto have jobs now, working at their own club. Hopefully we look after it, and it leaves a long lasting legacy.”

Lewthwaite, meanwhile, couldn’t replicate the fireworks from the first round, but she usually saves her best golf for the final round and could be strong contender on the last day.

“It was a little boring; no holes-in-one today,” Lewthwaite joked. “I played steady golf and I’m right where I want to be – within one shot of the leader.

“I don’t know what it is about final rounds, but I always seem to get going. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow. I feel different in the body and the mind, I love the pressure and the tight competition at the end.”

Hall made a disastrous start with a triple bogey seven at the opening hole, but the Ebotse golfer rallied with a trio of birdies after the turn to stay firmly in contention.

“I hit it left on the first and paid the price and I was a bit panicky after that seven, but I just trusted my swing after that and I began to feel comfortable over the ball,” said last year’s SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion.

“I held it together for the rest of the front nine and I was feeling great after the birdie run, but unfortunately I let another one slip at 17. I’m quite happy being two behind. Anything can happen in the final round, especially on this golf course.”

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


26th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite & Dlamini set Soweto pace

26 March 2019 – The cream really did rise to the top on Tuesday as the two main protagonists on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit – Nobuhle Dlamini and Lejan Lewthwaite – both carded level par 72 to share the first round lead in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club.

Dlamini and Lewthwaite hold a one-shot advantage over Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall and India’s Tvesa Malik, who tied for third on one-over.

Fifth on her own on two-over is another rookie campaigner, Brittney-Fay Berger, while former champions Stacy Bregman and Bertine Faber share sixth with reigning South African Women’s Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt on three-over 75.

Coming off a runner-up finish in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week at Glendower, Dlamini has forged an almost unsurmountable lead on 1 597 point. Second placed amateur Kajal Mistry is skipping the season-finale to compete in the Western Province Amateur Championship. Lewthwaite is nipping at Dlamini’s heels in third, but another strong push in Soweto will see the Swazi national seal the deal and pocket to the R100 000 bonus in the season-long points-race.

Lewthwaite, who claimed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title in the SA Women’s Masters at San Lameer last month, set the course on fire during the early stages of the opening round.

A steady two-under start through six holes was good, but her round quickly turned spectacular with an ace at the par three 17th.

“I had 173 metres to the pin playing downhill, downwind – and you have to pitch it short. If you pitch it on it’s going over. I caught a lucky bounce with a six-iron and it went in,” said the Serengeti golfer. “I said after the hole-in-one I didn’t really care what my score was, but it was fun getting my first one.”

The ‘perfect fluke’ helped Lewthwaite to go out in four-under 33, but coming home she dropped shots at the fourth and seventh before a disastrous double on her final hole (the ninth) saw her lead evaporate.

Despite her poor finish, Lewthwaite remained positive about her opening salvo in Soweto.

“It’s a pity I couldn’t finish better, but it’s the best position I’ve been in after the first round this season so I’m right where I want to be,” Lewthwaite said.

“I hit a perfect tee shot down the middle of the fairway, and actually hit a great second shot with the ball probably pitching pin-high with a gap wedge with 92 metres to the pin. I might have pitched it around 88 metres and the ball just rocketed over the green. Then I hit a bad chip and a bad putt to make double.”

Nobuhle Dlamini in action during the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini, meanwhile, produced a quieter scorecard with just two bogeys offset by two birdies. That was despite overpowering a number of holes as she cut doglegs with the driver and even driving the par four 16th – where she could only manage par.

“I hit quite a few drivers, there are some holes where you can take a Tiger-line,” said Dlamini. “You can still find the ball if you miss the fairway, the challenge is just how close you can get it to the hole with your approaches. The second shots are the challenge.

“On the 16th hole I hit driver on the green. So I was hitting it really nicely. I’ll take 72 today as it was playing tough out there. It would be good for me to finish strong here. I’m going to keep pushing and hope for the best.”

Malik was more than pleased with her effort in just her third start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after debuting in the Investec SA Women’s Open in Cape Town and contending in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week.

“I thought I played a little bit better than my score suggested. I made a few silly mistakes, but I’m happy with my score,” said Malik.

“I’m focussing on my game, I’m not really worried about my position with 36 holes to go.”

Former SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Hall was equally pleased with an opening 73.

“I made a really good start in my debut in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open and then I set my expectations too high,” said the Benoni golfer. “The next six events were a steep learning curve, but I felt my confidence return at Glendower last week.

“It’s tough course and I’m happy to be within striking distance of the leaders. The greens are new and still very firm, so the biggest challenge here is to get the ball as close as possible to the pins. If you come in too hard, you fly the green and it’s tough to recover. It’s another great learning experience for us young pros this week.”

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

 


25th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bregman targets successful first foray to Soweto

25 March 2019 – Stacy Bregman is hoping her first visit to the iconic Soweto Country Club is a winning one as the sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour season wraps up this week with the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open.

The five-time champion will go in search of a first victory this season when the fourth edition of this prestigious tournament, sponsored by the City of Joburg, takes place at the recently renovated Soweto venue from 26-28 March.

The season-finale represents a last hoorah for Bregman to end a disappointing season on a high note.

“I felt so confident when I left for Australia after coming second in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, but I had a disappointing run on the Ladies European Tour,” said the 32-year-old Johannesburg native.

“I picked up a niggling shoulder injury that got worse as the weeks past. I struggled to swing and you just can’t compete at your best when you’re not hitting the ball with confidence.

“I still had title hopes for the Jabra Ladies Classic after a tie for 12th in the Investec South African Women’s Open, but I woke up after the pro-am round in unbearable pain. I had to withdraw, but I went for intense therapy to be match ready this week.”

Bregman had to watch from the side-lines at Glendower Golf Club as good friend and fellow Ladies European Tour campaigner Anne-Lise Caudal from France became the sixth first-time winner and sixth foreign champion.

“I was really sad to miss out last week, but I enjoyed watching Anne-Lise and Nobby duel it out in the final round. We have this rivalry on the course, but off the course we are really good friends and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. In my view, they were both winners,” Bregman said.

Bregman beat Dlamini in the final event last year to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but Dlamini has turned the tables this season and has one hand on the trophy ahead of the season-finale.

While Caudal returned to France on the weekend, Dlamini will join Bregman in the 42-strong player field to challenge for the R70 000 first prize pay-out.

“The Joburg Ladies Open is on everyone’s bucket list since it launched in 2016,” said Bregman, who tied for fourth in the inaugural event at Royal Johannesburg in 2016 and lost to Ashleigh Buhai at Modderfontein last year.

“We all want the win this week and I think the course will be a great leveller. It’s a new venue for all of us and no-one has the home course advantage. It’s another fantastic Gary Player course and the design is really awesome. The greenkeeping team has done an amazing job with the greens. It’s going to be another tightly contested battle to the end this week.”

Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dlamini’s remarkably consistent form this season has kept her in the number one spot since she added a third career Sunshine Ladies Tour title to her repertoire with a two-shot victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge.

The Swazi national is primed for one final push to end a breakthrough season on a winning note to pocket the R100 000 bonus that comes with victory in the points race.

“It’s about being here now and trying to win the first event at Soweto,” said Dlamini. “You play golf until you’re really old, but these moments are the kind of ones you want to remember at the end of your career.

“It has been a great season for me and consistency was really key. Even when I haven’t played my best I still scored well, which was probably the biggest difference. And I’m looking forward to finishing the season with another strong push. It’s going to be an exciting week.”

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


22nd March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Caudal charges back to winning ways with Jabra

22 March 2019 – The slogan this past week at the first Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour was ‘Make Life Sound Better’. Life is definitely sounding super sweet for Anne-Lise Caudal after she edged out crowd favourite Nobuhle Dlamini to win the inaugural tournament on Friday.

The French golfer closed out a two-shot victory on four-under 212 with a one-over-par 73 to end a seven-year winning drought at Glendower Golf Club.

Dlamini from Swaziland carded 75 to finish second, while 14-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Ebotse returned a 73 to take the amateur honours with a third-place finish on level par.

Victory earned Caudal a winner’s cheque worth R28 000, 250 points that lifted her to fifth in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit race and a start in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in May.

Sopping wet, but smiling broadly after her fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour pros doused her on the 18th green, the Saint-Jean de Luz native said: “This is my first win since I beat Laura Davies in the 2012 Unicredit German Ladies Open and this is a really special moment for me. A win is a win, and it doesn’t matter if it is here or on the Ladies European Tour. You still have to play to win. I am so very, very happy to be a champion again.”

Caudal and Dlamini were tied for the lead on five-under at the start of the final round, but Dlamini had the early advantage after Caudal got off to a bogey start.

“I hit a bad tee shot and I had a bad lie; I struggled to make a bogey, but I like the par five, the second,” said Caudal. “I hit two great shots, pitched it close and made the birdie putt to get back to level for the day. It’s always good to make a birdie after a bogey when you are leading, because that puts the pressure on your opponent.”

Caudal had further bogeys at four and six, while Dlamini also backpedalled with bogeys at two and six and a triple at the par four seventh.

The Swazi national matched Caudal with a birdie at 10, but Caudal took a two-shot lead and never relented. Both players birdied the par five 15th and bogeyed the short 17 before closing out the round with pars at 18.

“It wasn’t pretty golf,” Caudal said. “Nobby hit a few bad shots off the tee, but she rallied with great par saves. I didn’t strike the ball as well as I did in the second round and I wasn’t in the best form with the putter, but I managed to make a bunch of pars to keep the momentum going.”

A recurring wrist injury hampered her comeback to the elite level in the sport, but Caudal believes she is back on an upward curve. “I feel like a winner again,” she said.

“I’ve been competing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour for six years, but this year is the first time that I have played the full season. I built a lot of confidence here; I came second and I was in the leading group a few times in the last two months. I’ve always built good form when I play three or four weeks in a row and I knew I was heading for a good week.”

Caudal was instrumental in bring Jabra to South Africa and elated that she could win the first event for her sponsor.

“I wanted to win for Jabra this week, to show them they are backing a winning horse. I wanted to get into the Jabra Ladies Open on merit, not with an invitation. I hope they will give the spot to Nobby,” she said.

“I’m really glad Jabra came out to the tournament this week and could see for themselves what a great circuit the Sunshine Ladies Tour is. The standard is high, it is a very competitive and there wonderful players who are great ambassadors for golf and South Africa.”

Caudal – the fifth new international champion on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season – will go head-to-head with Dlamini again in the season-finale Joburg Ladies Open and the French golfer backs herself for more success at Soweto Country Club next week.

“I think next week is going to be another tight one,” she said. “It’s always tight at the end of the season and we are playing for big prize money, too, but I think I could challenge for two in a row. But first we are going to celebrate with a braai tonight at Nicole Garcia’s house.”

2019 Jabra Ladies Classic champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France with leading amateur Kiera Floyd, who finished third overall at Glendower Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Floyd, who birdied the two par fives on the back nine and the par three 17th to finish third, received some special commendation from the 2019 Jabra Ladies Classic champion during prize giving.

“Kiera is going to be a star one day,” Caudal said. “She is just 14, but she didn’t back down from us in the last group and she played to win. She hits it so far and her short-game is really strong, so it won’t be long before she starts winning titles on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”

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


20th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini jets to Jabra Ladies Classic lead

20 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini fired a flawless four-under-par 68 to get off to a flying start in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic in Wednesday’s opening round at Glendower Golf Club.

It was a real statement of intent from the reigning Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader, whose local knowledge came into good use on day one as she laid down a marker for a fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and the start in the Ladies European Tour’s Jabra Ladies Open that comes with the trophy and winner’s share of the R200 000 prize fund.

The big-hitting Swazi national leads by three strokes from French golfer Anne-Lise Caudal and Lora Assad.

Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry – second in the points race – carded a level-par 72 to tie for fourth with Kim Williams and India’s Tvesa Malik.

Emilie Alonso from France and reigning SA Women’s Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt finished a further shot back.

Two years ago, Dlamini fired a final round 67 to force the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon into extra time at Glendower. She traded pars with Carrie Park for the first three trips down the 18 before the South Korean won at the fourth play-off hole.

“I wanted a fast start to put some space between myself and the field because I I don’t want to go down that road again,” admitted the home crowd favourite.

Dlamini started with three straight pars from the 10th hole, but three birdies on the bounce from the par five 13th left the field in her wake. She set the uncontested first round target with a final birdie at the par five eighth.

“I was a little frustrated after I hit it close on the first two holes and missed both birdie putts, but I told myself to relax; I had a lot of holes left,” Dlamini said. “On 13, I hit driver down the middle, 4-iron into the green and two-putted for birdie. If I’d hit the first putt harder, it would have gotten to the hole.

“I had 143 metres at the par three and I hit a 9-iron that pitched and spun back to a foot. On 15, I got caught in the rough with my second, but I nearly holed my chip shot. Made the short putt for birdie and then pars to the turn.

“I made seven straight pars coming home before I birdied the par five (eight). I hit a big drive and 8-iron from 158 metres on the green and two-putted for birdie. I hit lots of fairways and greens and gave myself a lot of chances, but the putting wasn’t great. I didn’t have any three-putts, but I had nine two-putts. I wasn’t comfortable with the putter, but I stayed patient.

“If you hit fairways and greens at Glendower, you will roll one in eventually. It could have been better, but I’ll take 68. I controlled the ball pretty much how I wanted to and I got the cushion I wanted.”

French golfer Anne-Lise Caudal has leader Nobuhle Dlamini in her sights after an opening one-under-par 71 in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Caudal, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, offset an early bogey at 12 with birdies at 14 and 17 and negated a second dropped shot at the fifth with a birdie at eight to finish under par.

“It was just a solid round. Nothing spectacular; no stretches of brilliance, just a consistent round of golf,” said the Jabra ambassador. “I would love to go home with the trophy on Friday, but I need to get the putter to warm up. I struck the ball well, hit a lot of greens, but just couldn’t get the putts to drop.”

Assad, who is hunting a maiden win, was four-over after seven holes, but got her round back on track with a brace of birdies before the turn and racked up more gains at 14, 15 and 17 for her 71.

“I was a little bit hit and miss on the front, but holed quite a lot of nice putts from the eighth,” said the Texas State graduate. “I just tried to keep hitting fairways and greens to give myself chances and I knew if I got into a rhythm that some would fall and they did. Now I just need to keep it going for two more days.”

Mistry won the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the Investec SA Women’s Open, heads up the amateur challenge for a sixth successive week.

The GolfRSA Elite Squad player lost the advantage of a birdie start at 10 to a bogey at the par four 12th but turned level par with steady golf over the next six holes. She birdied the first to dip under par again, but bogeyed six and seven before a birdie at eight landed her a share of third. The next best-placed amateurs are 14-year-old Kiera Floyd from Ebotse, Symone Henriques from Glenvista and Nadia van der Westhuizen from Serengeti, who all signed for 74.

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


19th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Mistry fired up for Jabra Ladies Classic

19 March 2019 – Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry is targeting a winning performance in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic following her fifth low-amateur result of the season in the Investec SA Women’s Open on Saturday.

The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player wants to give it one last push in her final Sunshine Ladies Tour start to try and convert two runner-up finishes to victory at Glendower Golf Club.

“Glendower is a very tough course, but I’ve always enjoyed playing there,” said Mistry.

“I played my SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championships at Glendower when I was 14 years old and I tied for 21st. That week taught me a lot. You have to think your way around this course, stay patient and wait for birdies. And to keep it in play. It’s a tight course and very demanding, so you can’t let your focus drop for a minute.”

Mistry began the season with the goal of finishing inside the top 10 of the Order of Merit, but after a tie for 30th at Westlake last Saturday that saw her lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur for a fifth successive week, she leapfrogged reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite for second spot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

“I originally targeted a top 10 finish in the rankings, but I’ve reset my goal to top three,” said Mistry.

“I never ever expected to do so well on the Sunshine Ladies Tour; it’s been a massive confidence boost for my game going forward. I would have loved to have a go at winning the rankings, but I am going to miss the last event (Joburg Ladies Open).

“I am playing the Western Province Amateur next week, so the Jabra Ladies Classic is my last chance. I would love to finish with a win.”

Mistry rose to the number one spot in the Womens Golf South Africa Open Amateur rankings in December 2016 and never dropped outside top two until the middle of last year. Golf took a backseat as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member made her matric year a priority.

Having secured a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas, the chance to mix it up the country’s top professional golfers and international competitors on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year before she heads to the States has been a huge learning curve.

Mistry played alongside Lee-Anne Pace in the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene and was paired with the former LPGA winner again when the duo tied for the lead in the second round of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape two weeks ago.

“I learned a lot from Kim Williams and Lejan Lewthwaite during the SA Women’s Masters and I feel comfortable out there with the pros,” said Mistry. “I have been surprised at how easy it has been to build relationships with the pros.

“I have been learning a lot from watching them, especially around course management. They are easy to talk to and always keen to give advice. Players like Kim, Nicole Garcia and Nobuhle Dlamini, who were top amateurs in their time, didn’t have a Sunshine Ladies Tour to cut their teeth on. I am really thankful that we have this opportunity. It’s going to stand us in good stead going forward.”

Mistry will have her job cut out if she hopes to edge out the field for glory this week.

The Jabra Ladies Classic is the second new addition to the Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and the R200 000 event comes with an exciting incentive for the winner.

The champion – or the first non-exempt Ladies European Tour thereafter up to the 20th finisher – will be granted a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Resort Golf Club in May.

With the chance to tee it up in this Ladies European Tour event, where winner and runner-up will gain starts in two Majors, the AIG Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship, the professionals lining up this week will definitely raise their game.

Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland will spearhead the challenge at Glendower, while last year’s points list winner Stacy Bregman leads the local contenders alongside Lewthwaite, Williams and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Tandi McCallum.

Some of the foreign campaigners expected to rise to the occasion are the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge champion Jane Turner from Scotland, rising Swedish stars Emma Westin and Moa Folke, Serengeti Team Championship winners Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch from France and compatriot Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England.

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


18th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big incentive drives up Jabra Ladies Classic stakes

18 March 2019 – Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini will be looking over her shoulder when the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic tees off at Glendower Golf Club on Wednesday.

Dlamini knows there is a target on her back after her lead was trimmed with a frustrating tie for 47th in the Investec South African Women’s Open last weekend, but with two events to go, the big-hitting Swazi national is determined to cement her position at her home course ahead of the season-finale Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club next week.

Dlamini returned to a happy hunting ground and was on the course at first light on Monday morning to fine-tune her game.

The Jabra Ladies Classic is the new addition to the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and this week’s winner will not only bank the lion’s share of the R200 000 purse, but will also join the field in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in May.

Gunning for her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title, Dlamini said a win would be a game-changer.

“I don’t have full status on the Ladies European Tour yet, right now, so I am on the reserve list for the Jabra Ladies Open,” explained the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Challenge Tour champion.

“To get the spot in the Jabra Ladies Open is huge. A good performance at the Evian Golf Resort Golf Club can boost your ranking on the Ladies European Tour and that’s another step closer to full status.”

Dlamini came close to victory at Glendower two seasons ago when she lost in a play-off to four-time champion Carrie Park from South Korea and although a firm favourite this week, she expects stiff opposition from Benoni golfer Lejan Lewthwaite, who is targeting the same goal.

Lejan Lewthwaite will spearhead the field in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 20-22 March 2019; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

The reigning SA Women’s Masters champion was hoping for another strong performance on home soil after a top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour in Australia, but she missed the cut and was overtaken by Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry, who moved into second in the rankings with a top-30 finish at Westlake.

“Six weeks in a row took its toll and I was dead-tired, but I know I can turn it around for the last two events,” said the Investec supported player.

Dlamini leads the rankings on 1 397 points. Mistry is second on 963 points and Lewthwaite third with 940 points, but the GolfRSA Elite Squad player will miss the season-finale to defend her Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl title, leaving the way clear for Lewthwaite to challenge Dlamini in the points race.

“There is a lot to play for in the last two events,” the Serengeti golfer explained.

“Victory gets you into the Jabra Ladies Open. I’m 11th on the reserve list, so that’s the first goal. The Jabra Ladies Open is also the qualifying event for the Evian Championship. The winner and the runner-up get starts in the Evian and another Major, the AIG Women’s British Open. Plus full category status on the Ladies European Tour for 2020.

“A win this week is worth 250 points, first place next week earns you 650 points. That’s the other big incentive this week. But the stakes are high and everyone wants to win.

“I’m not sure, but I think Stacy Bregman might be the only player in the field with full LET exemption. She had a great final round at Westlake to finish 12th, and she won’t cut us any slack. At least Jabra will give the spot to the next best finisher who isn’t exempt up to 20th place.”

Lewthwaite believes fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams and Scottish player Jane Turner, who won the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, could pose a serious threat.

“Both of them are strong ball-strikers with incredible short-games and that’s scoring at Glendower. Good, straight tee shots and good putting. I’ve played a ton of golf here and it’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s a great test of golf and I’m looking forward to a strong finish to the last two events.”

Sweden’s Emma Westin – a three-time winner on the LET Access Series – also made a strong case for victory this week with a top-20 finish at Westlake, as did Ellie Givens from England, whose final round 71 boosted her to a tie for 36th.

Two-time LET winner Anne-Lise Caudal, Williams, former SA Women’s Open winner Tandi McCallum and big-hitting Namibian Bonita Bredenhann – also lining up this week – finished a further stroke adrift.

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


16th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dagar drives to victory in Investec SA Women’s Open

16 March 2019 – Inspired by a magical chip-in on the 16th hole, Indian rookie Diksha Dagar claimed victory in the Investec South African Women’s Open, celebrating a maiden Ladies European Tour win in just her fourth professional start at Westlake Golf Club on Saturday.

The 18-year-old left-hander from New Delhi tapped in for par at the final hole for a three-under-par 69 to edge out former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace by a stroke.

Fellow Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie Esther Henseleit of Germany and Scotland’s Michele Thomson shared third on three-under, with Lydia Hall from Wales and Scotland’s Carly Booth a further shot back in joint fifth.

For most of the final round, the tournament was Pace’s to lose as the nine-time LET champion looked in complete control in front of a vocal home crowd.

She held a three-stroke lead through 12 holes, but a surprise bogey on the par-five 13th cut her advantage to two shots. Dagar, who fired her first birdie at the par-four eighth, made her second at the short 15th to pull within a shot of Pace.

The Indian teenager’s approach at the par-five 16th landed just short of the green, but a precision chip dropped in the hole for a share of the lead.

She headed down 18 with a one stroke lead after Pace let another one slip at 17.

“I just went out today trying to play my normal game,” said the hearing impaired Dagar, who plays with a cochlear implant that helps her to hear at close-to-normal levels.

“I really didn’t expect to win, but it happened and I am very happy. I got two lucky breaks towards the end, with a long birdie putt on 15 and then the chip-in on 16. Normally I would just try to chip it close and make the par putt, but this time I had a feeling I could do it and it went in.”

Coming off a tie for fifth in last week’s Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia, Dagar got her tournament off to a nervous start with two double bogeys in the first three holes and signed for an opening round of four-over-par 76.

A flawless second round 66 propelled her into the leading group and a second consecutive bogey-free round was enough for the former World Deaf Championship winner and a silver medallist in the 2017 Summer Deaflympics to claim her breakthrough.

Victory came with a massive boost to fourth in the LET Order of Merit and the top spot in the LET Rookie of Year Race, but the teenager is keeping her feet on the ground for now. “My goal for the rest of the season is to just stay focused and take each tournament as it comes,” she said.

Investec South African Women’s Open champion Diksha Dagar from India and leading amateur Kajal Mistry with Cheryl Leicher: Head of Marketing Investec Property and Councillor Mzwahhke Nqavashe from City of Cape Town; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Cheryl Leicher: Head of Marketing Investec Property, was thrilled to see the young starlet rise to the occasion.

“Congratulations to Diksha on claiming this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open title,” said Leicher. “For the last five years, Investec Property has proudly supported women’s golf, through the sponsorship of this LET co-sanctioned tournament, our individual sponsorships and our support of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. These powerful partnerships allow us to grow the sport of golf for women in South Africa.”

While bitterly disappointed, Pace was gracious in defeat. “Diksha played great and didn’t make a mistake the whole day,” she said.

“I knew that I had to make birdies to win and unfortunately I left one short at 16 and then missed a par putt at 17. I’m not too disappointed because I played great golf, but I made two mistakes and they cost me the tournament.”

Despite it being her best finish in her short professional career, Henseleit was left mixed emotions after a bogey at the last dropped her to third.

“At the moment I’m a bit disappointed,” she lamented. “I needed a birdie at the last and I made bogey, so that was frustrating. In time I will look back and be quite happy about finishing third. I hit so many good iron shots but the putts just didn’t drop today. It wasn’t my day.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as amateur winner – marking the fifth successive time that the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member won the leading amateur honours on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season.

The 18-year-old Randpark golfer carded rounds of 73, 76 and 74. A joint 30th finish lifted Mistry to second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

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