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23rd February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Double Canon Crown for Garcia at Serengeti

23 February 2020 – Nicole Garcia celebrated a much-anticipated return to the winner’s circle with not one, but two dramatic victories at Serengeti Estates on Sunday.

The Ebotse golfer won the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge and led team Shooters to victory in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Pro-Am title in a thrilling four-hole play-off at the Whistling Thorn Course.

Garcia opened her campaign on the 2,618-metre par three championship layout with a level-par 54 and began the final round one stroke clear of Brittney-Fay Berger. In-form Lejan Lewthwaite – already a two-time winner this season – was two shots back in joint third with five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Stacy Bregman.

Garcia gave the chasing pack a glimmer of hope when she paid for an errant tee shot on the third hole with a double bogey, but she bounced back in style out aced the 165-metre sixth hole with a 7-iron.

She widened the gap on the chasing pack with further gains on 12 and 16 and sealed victory on one-under-par 107 and, despite giving a shot back to the field on the 17th hole, finished five shots clear of Berger.

It took a few more hours though, before Garcia and her team-mates Gabrielle Macdonald and amateur team-mates Abri Kriegler and Daren Hanekom could properly celebrate her third career victory.

Garcia’s birdie on 16 and a Macdonald birdie on 17 boosted the team aggregate to 17-under-par 199, matching the clubhouse target set earlier by Lewthwaite, fellow pro Tandi McCallum and their amateur partners Mike Honiball and Frank Neto.

“That meant a play-off on the 18th hole and The Shooters were excited, because we’d done well on 18 in both rounds; little did we know it would become a proper shoot-out Sunday,” Garcia said.

Both teams had chances to close out the win, including Kriegler who pushed a birdie putt past the hole on the first extra hole. “We tied the 18th hole three times, so they took us to the first, and that’s where we got the job done,” said Garcia, who holed a long-range putt for birdie and was backed up by Kriegler, who got his birdie effort in the hole at last.

1. Nicole Garcia claimed her third Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a five-stroke victory in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on the Whistle Thorn Championship Course at Serengeti.

“Gabrielle and I had such an amazing time out there with Abri and Daren. Our amateurs could really play. Abri’s handicap index is 13, so he made a big contribution with his nett birdies. Gabrielle didn’t fire in the first round, but she made five birdies for us in the final round. Daren is a member of the South African Disabled Golf Association and one of South Africa’s top ranked deaf golfer. He drives the ball beautifully and we were thrilled when he won the closest to the hole prize in the final round.

“What I will remember most about this tournament is the high fives, the first pumps and all the laughs. We had a genuinely great time out there and we were absolutely thrilled to be the first winners of the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge.”

In addition to the first place prize money Garcia bagged, the Benoni golfer also shared a R100 000 bonus with her partner Macdonald that Serengeti Estates owner David Nagel kicked in.

Garcia spent the full 2019 season on the bench following hip surgery to re-attach the labrum and to reshape the femur bone to fit into the hip socket properly. She landed her third Sunshine Ladies Tour title in her fifth start this season, which bodes well for the “big three” starting next week in the Joburg Ladies Open. “This tournament was perfectly timed in the middle of the season and it has been brilliant in terms of fine-tuning our games for the Joburg Ladies Open, the Jabra Ladies Classic and the Investec South African Women’s Open,” Garcia said.

“All three events are big-money tournaments and the last two come with some serious incentives. The winner of the Jabra Ladies Classic gets a start in the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the Ladies European Tour qualifier for the Evian Championship. And the winner at Westlake gets exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, and spots into the AEG British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship.

“The stakes are loaded. We all honed our short-games this week, and this golf course put up a huge challenge. It was very tough out there, and I think everyone who played this week, will agree with me that we are so much sharper thanks to this experience.”

Monique Smit and Kim Williams – partnering amateurs Dana Eitzen from Canon South Africa and SAGDB member Curtley Roberts – finished third on 205.

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


22nd February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pros rule the Par-3 Challenge a proper test

22 February 2020 – Coming to Serengeti Estates after four tournaments on the trot, the top talents from the Sunshine Ladies Tour were looking forward to a change of pace and some good prize money on offer.

There was an abundance of friendly banter, rivalry and challenges between the 12 teams throughout Saturday’s first round of the new Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge, however, the 24 professionals and their amateur partners quickly discovered that the Whistling Thorn course is no walk in the park.

“Oh my goodness, it was tough out there,” said two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Nicole Garcia, who went around the par-54, 2,618 par-3 course in level par to finish at the summit of the professional leaderboard.

4. Top-ranked deaf golfer Daren Hanekom helped Team Garcia/Macdonald to the first round lead in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on the Whistling Thorn course at Serengeti Estates.

Garcia and fellow professional Gabrielle Macdonald from Scotland combined with amateurs Abri Kriegler and top ranked deaf golfer Daren Hanekom from the SA Disabled Golf Association to set the early target on six-under-par 102.

“This course is a proper test of shot-making and short-game skills and with the pounding wind and the sweeping rain, it was twice as hard. Birdies felt like eagles out there,” Garcia said.

Play had to be suspended twice due to dangerous conditions. During the second suspension, the round was halted. The first round resumes on Sunday morning at 6am with Team Williams/Smit in a strong position to dethrone the leaders.

Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Kim Williams and Monique Smit partnered another bright star SA Disabled Golf Association, Curtley Roberts and Canon South Africa Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive Dana Eitzen.

2. Monique Smit celebrates her amateur partner Dana Eitzen’s nett hole in one on the 15th during round one of the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on the Whistling Thorn course at Serengeti Estates.

“We got it to six-under and had just hit our tee shots into 17 when the sirens sounded the second time,” said Smit from Oubaai. “Dana made a nett hole-in-one on the 15th and that drew us level with the leaders. There was a lot of teasing and joking in the clubhouse after, but if we can pick up one or two birdies on the last two holes, the challenge is on.”

Williams said everyone has been hugely impressed with the course.

“Most of the pros here played the championship course in the Serengeti Team Championship last year, but the par-3 course is new. It’s easily the toughest course we’ve faced this season. It’s really helping us to sharpen our short games.

“It has all the elements of what a really good par-3 course should have – elevated greens with lots of slopes, loads of bunker protection and it is really tough to up-and-down from gorse-like grass around the greens.”

British pair Jane Turner and Lauren Taylor, who played with amateur Tyron Groenveld and Ryan McClatchie clocked in on four-under.

“Everyone contributed to our score, which was really great. We had a huge amount of fun and laughter out there,” said Turner, who hopped a flight to Johannesburg just a few hours after her play-off victory in the SA Women’s Masters on Friday.

“This event is the perfect break in the schedule, because it falls after four straight weeks on the road and just before we start the last three, which are all big ones. I want to applaud Canon and Serengeti on partnering on such an awesome concept. It not only gives us an opportunity to just relax and have fun with our ammies, but we can push the reset button. And, coming from two weeks on the coast, it’s brilliant to have this to adjust for the altitude and the distances ahead of next week’s Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club.”

Serengeti member Lejan Lewthwaite – already a two-time winner this season – and her partner, former SA Women’s Open champion Tandi McCallum are also on four-under, but with three-holes to play in the morning.

3. Stacy Bregman and Serengeti Estates owner David Nagel share a celebratory fist pump during the first round of the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on the Whistling Thorn course at Serengeti Estates.

Stacy Bregman and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia had the added pressure of playing alongside Serengeti Estates owner David Nagle, who put up an additional R100 000 to be split between the leading professional pairing.

The group will resume the first round on two-under with four to play.

“Talk about pressure,” joked Bregman. “Actually David and Tim (Kloeck) have been brilliant. The course is a lot tougher to play than it looks and we all had a bit of a shock at the start. It was a pity about the suspensions, because we had just started to find our stride.

“Dana and Dave have put a really great event on the schedule, not only because it’s a change in pace and there’s some serious money on the table. Your short-game determines your results. All the best players in the world have the strongest short-games and this course is perfectly set up to help us improve.”

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


5th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini gunning for City of Cape Town success

5 March 2019 – The City of Cape Town will host two world-class Sunshine Ladies Tour events in the next fortnight. Starting on Wednesday, the Cape Town Ladies Open will set the stage for next week’s Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

The fifth Cape Town Ladies Open has drawn a field of 67 players, with a 40-strong international contingent competing in the curtain-raiser at Royal Cape Golf Club ahead of the R2-million Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece from 14-16 March at Westlake Golf Club.

The foreign campaigners have already enjoyed a fortuitous summer, coming up trumps in three of the first five events.

Flora Peuch and Marion Duvernay from France celebrated victory in the inaugural Serengeti Team Championship in February, while Jane Turner from Scotland went wire-to-wire at the Wild Coast Sun last week to capture the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International.

Well-known Nobuhle Dlamini pushed her winning tally on the local circuit to three trophies in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt three weeks ago.

Coming off a runner-up finish at the Wild Coast, Dlamini has banked 1 257 points this season and the big-hitting Swazi golfer holds the top spot in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

With her closest pursuers at Royal Cape this week Kim Williams and Ivanna Samu – respectively ranked third and fourth on 586 and 529 points – Dlamini is determined to open up an unsurmountable lead in the rankings before the circuit moves to Westlake.

“There are a lot of ranking points on offer next week, so I have to try to win it this week to increase my lead,” said the 27-year-old. “I was pipped at the post last year by Stacy Bregman. I definitely don’t want that to happen again.

“I think the field is wide open this year. Lee-Anne (Pace) is always a worry. She hasn’t played on the Sunshine Ladies Tour since the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, so she will be keen to get some points in the Order of Merit race.

“She won in 2016 and she’s defending. With the Investec South African Women’s Open next week, she is going to gun for the winner’s circle again. If she gets it going early on, she’ll be very tough to catch.

“But there are a few more players to worry about. Kim Williams has been in great form this season and Ivanna Samu could definitely pose a threat, because she has a great record at Royal Cape.

“The two Scottish rookies Gabrielle MacDonald and Hannah McCook did really well over the last two weeks in KwaZulu-Natal and Jane was in a class of her own last week.

“Jessica Dreesbeimdieke from Namibia and Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands have also been impressive so far this season. And Carrie Park is back. She’s a three-time winner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and she’s been playing the Ladies PGA Tour in Korea, where she’s also won.

“There are also a number of new players this week who have arrived early to warm up for the Investec SA Women’s Open. We don’t know much about them, so they could deliver a big surprise this week.”
Dlamini is confident, though, that she can protect her number one spot in the rankings.

“I’ve come to Cape Town this year in a very different mind-set,” she said. “I’ve always had a great game, but I didn’t have the self-belief that you need to compete at the highest level. Mentally I am stronger that I’ve ever been.

“I’ve had a mixed bag of results here in the past, but I believe I’ll do well. I trust my game. I trust my ability to grind and scramble to turn a bad round around. And I believe I can win. When you take mental strength and self-belief on to the golf course, you control the way you play.”

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


6th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

French Flair seals success at Serengeti Teams

6 February 2019 – Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch became the first French winners on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a wire-to-wire performance in the inaugural Serengeti Team Championship on Wednesday.

The French pair posted rounds of 46 and 38 for a total of 85 points to win the first golf team event with a three-point margin at Serengeti Estates.

Duvernay and Peuch made a fast start to the tournament as they burned up the front nine of the Jack Nicklaus signature course on day one. They fired five birdies and surged into the lead with an eagle from Duvernay at the par five eighth. Another eagle from the Evian Resort golfer and further brace of birdies earned them a three-point lead over English pair Kiran Matharu and Ellie Givens.

South Africa’s Ivanna Samu and partner Lauren Taylor from England finished a further shot adrift.

Admittedly, the French duo couldn’t replicate their first round fireworks on the last day, but they staved off the chasing pack with birdies at three, five, eight, 11 and 15.

“Things went a bit south for us at 16,” said Peuch, a third season Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner.

“Marion hit her drive in the bush and of course, I followed her. We had to make a recovery, but it’s a pretty long par five. She went for the green from 235 metres, but didn’t make it. She had to take a penalty drop after going in the water, so I laid up and chipped in.

“Then I three-putted and Marion didn’t make her bogey putt either, so we had to take a zero for the double bogey. We took it on the chin and just tried to play the last two holes in pars and make no more mistakes.”

Peuch made sure of a par at 17 and Duvernay, whose approach pitched on the lower tier of the huge green, lagged her birdie putt to two inches from the hole. She tapped in for par to seal the win.

“We are so excited about this win,” gushed Duvernay, who made her debut on the South African circuit with a top eight finish in last week’s Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

“When the team event was added to the schedule, we entered immediately. We played a lot of team golf as amateurs, but there are just a few team events on the pro circuit. It was a great tournament on a fantastic golf course and we are thrilled to own our first Sunshine Ladies Tour trophies.

“The vibe was fantastic and it was a great way for us foreigners to meet the South Africans and other internationals. We saw a lot of high fives and hugging and laughing going on. Flora and I are travelling together for the full nine weeks, so this was a very good test for our friendship, too.

“Flora has told me that the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am is another great event, but the courses are quite tough. This has been a really good warm-up for George and hopefully one of us can keep the winning streak going.”

Samu and Taylor shared second on 83 points with Shawnelle de Lange and Pasqualle Coffa.

Rookies Catherine LauGeorgia Oboh from Nigeria tied for third on 82 with Givens and Matharu, as well as Tandi McCallum and Kim Williams from South Africa.

South Africa’s De Lange and Coffa from the Netherlands fired a staggering nine birdies on the last day to take the low round honours with 45 points. “I met Shawnelle last week at Irene and we clicked straight-away,” said Coffa. “We decided to pair up for the team event and we really dovetailed well, especially in the final round.

“For every birdie I sunk, she answered with one. I struggled a bit last week and shot 80 in the final round at Irene, but this tournament gave me a chance to hit more free and to fire at the pins. I feel much more confident for George Golf Club and Fancourt next week.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Ebotse Links and Kim de Klerk from Mossel Bay Golf Club posted rounds of 39 and 41 to take the Amateur honours with a top 10 finish on 80 points.

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


1st February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai goes wire-to-wire at Irene

1 February 2019 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai went wire-to-wire at Irene Country Club to complete a convincing four-shot victory on eight-under in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open on Friday.

She could not match her opening two rounds of 67 and 68, but with a lone bogey over three rounds, the win was never in doubt and she pushed her winning tally on the local circuit to 10 with a final round one-over 73.

Defending champion Stacy Bregman soared up the leaderboard with a closing four-under 68 to finish second on her own at four-under.

Yet another South African Lejan Lewthwaite also made strides with a third round 68 to take third on two-under. England’s Lauren Taylor was fourth on one-under and former Investec South African Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum from South Africa completed the top-five on level par for the week.

“I’m very happy to pull off the win this week in the first tournament of the year,” said Buhai, whose only drop in the tournament was a soft bogey at the 52nd hole.

“Today was quite scrappy, but that’s just what you have to do to try win. Thank goodness there were no pictures on the scorecard. I learnt that I just had to stay patient and keep grinding.

“The course I played a little tougher. There were some low scores, but thank goodness I had that seven-shot lead starting the round. I knew I had that comfort zone. After nine, I knew I wasn’t going to hit it close, so I just started going for the big part of the greens and taking my two-putts to make as many pars as I could coming in.

“I think a few years ago I would have got more frustrated with myself, and probably made quite a few more bogeys. Today, I trusted my ability, especially with my putter. I made one bogey in 54 holes, so I’m really chuffed with that.”

Despite the comprehensive triumph, the 29-year-old Buhai said she was not totally satisfied.

“My goal was to get to double-figures, and then push on from there. When I had a six-shot lead with nine to go, it was just about grinding it so no one could catch me. Double figures was still my goal, even coming down the last. I was still trying to make birdie even though I just bogeyed 17.

“Overall, it was a good tester to see where I’m at and where I can improve. The main positive is that if I’ve got a sharp short game when I’m not hitting it well, I can still score.”

Buhai had just hit her tee shot into the par three 13th when play was suspended due to lightning. It turned out to be a short delay, with the players resuming within the hour. The disruption was far from ideal, but Buhai was still up to the task of closing out an emphatic victory.

“On 13, I hit one of the few iron shots that I flushed the whole day,” she said. “I thought I finally got something going and then we went off. I just had to accept it. Luckily we weren’t called off for too long. My first drive back, my hand slipped in the rain and I hit it out right. I had to punch out but I got it up-and-down from 60 metres to keep the momentum going. Overall, I’m happy with the week but disappointed with today.”

“Any time you shoot under par, you take the positives out of that,” said Buhai. She paid tribute to the sponsors for helping the event proceed.

“A huge thanks to Canon for coming on board and for sticking with us these last three years,” said the world number 116. “Without sponsors, it wouldn’t be possible. And to Investec, they have been our biggest supports and it’s great to have them on board again. The Sunshine Ladies Tour is growing every year and that’s what we want to see.”

Buhai leaves on Saturday to compete in two LPGA events and one LET event in Australia and returns in March to take up her title defence in the R2-million Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake, which is co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

Bregman, who won the 2018 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit last year and former LPGA Tour winner Lee-Anne Pace, who withdrew after nine holes in the second round after the onset of a migraine, will also be making the trip down under.

Eighteen-year-old Symone Henriques was second after an opening round 70.

She slipped from contention with an 80 in the second round, but bounced back to overtake fellow GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry with a final round 74 to win the amateur honours on eight-over 224.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour moves to Serengeti Estates next for the inaugural Serengeti Team Championship on 5 and 6 February. Teams of two will compete in the Betterball format for the lion’s share of the R100 000 prize fund. 

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


31st January 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai bursts clear in Canon Sunshine Ladies Open

31 January 2019 – South Africa’s top ranked Ashleigh Buhai  remains the player to catch with 18 holes remaining in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club.

A bogey-free five-under-par 67 on the opening day boosted Buhai to the top of the leaderboard and she continued her stunning start in the 2019 season-opener with another flawless performance on day two.

1. Ashleigh Buhai set the 36-hole mark in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at nine-under at Irene Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The Johannesburg professional will take a staggering seven-shot lead into the final round after a four-under 68 moved her to nine-under 135.

“Obviously I am very happy with my score, although I felt I played a lot better in the first round,” said Buhai, who is gunning for her 10th title on the local circuit.

“You know, two weeks ago I was really glad the Sunshine Ladies Tour was starting a little later this year. I took a five week break after a long stretch on the LPGA Tour at the end of last year and I was so rusty. I worked hard in the past two weeks and it’s great to see really positive results.”

Buhai started the second round three shots clear. She extended her lead with a birdie at the par five second and kept her advantage intact with a further gain at eight.

“Coming into the round, I wanted to maintain that three-shot lead,” she said. “I managed to do that with the two birdies on the front nine, but the back nine was a little iffy. I managed to scramble well to keep myself in it.

“I made a really good par-save at 10 after I hit it in the trees. I had to punch out and made the up-and-down for par from 60 metres out. I birdied the next hole and I stayed patient, because I knew I had some short holes coming where I could take advantage with wedges.

“I missed two greens, but I didn’t feel that I hit bad shots. I kept it going with good pars. I hit a good shot into the 17th and lipped out for birdie, but I finally got rewarded with the birdie on 18.”

Is she surprised to be leading by such a huge margin after two rounds?

“The course is playing relatively long after all the rain and the kikuyu is heavy,” she said. “Although the greens are soft and you can fire at the flags, you have to keep it in play. I’ve missed very few fairways and greens and I’m still bogey-free after 36 holes, which is a first for me, but I think that’s why I’ve pulled away from the field.”

2. Rookie Casandra Hall from Benoni moved to second at the 36-hole mark of the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Benoni rookie Casandra Hall and former Ladies European Tour winner Anne-Lise Caudal from France join Buhai in Friday’s leading group.

Hall was even-par at the start of the round and got it four-under during her outward loop. The 2018 SA Amateur Women’s Stroke Play champion made three bogeys on the bounce coming home, but a birdie-finish for a round of 70 moved her to two-under.

Caudal also returned a 70 to finish a further shot back.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Anne-Lise and Cass,” said the world number 116. “Anne-Lise and I have known each since I first went to play the Ladies European Tour and we are good friends. She is very solid tee to green and I expect her to go low in the final round.

“We actually played in Tuesday’s pro-am together. She is a great girl and a talented golfer and she can bomb the ball. She takes photos of my drives! She’s played really well over the last two days and it’s nice to see her in the leading group in her first event as a rookie.”

AMATEUR CHALLENGE

3. The youngest starter to make the cut and in her first start! SAGDB member & GolfRSA TDI Squad player Pheletso Mota (16) during the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Top ranked Kajal Mistry leads the leading amateur challenge on five-over after carding rounds of 72 and 77. Fellow GolfRSA Elite Squad player Symone Henriques is a further shot back.

Three more amateurs made the cut to the top 30 professionals and ties, which fell at 156.

Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Larissa Du Preez (153) and Alison Muirhead from Scotland (156) will join the line-up alongside SADGB member Pheletso Mota.

The GolfRSA Talent Identification Squad player from Kroonstad bounced back after an opening 81 with a 74 to finish on 155, making her the youngest starter at 16 years old in Friday’s final round at Irene Country Club.

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


30th January 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai fires warning shot Canon Sunshine Tour Ladies Open

30 January 2019 – Ashleigh Buhai sounded a warning shot to the field of the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open field with a flawless five-under 67 in the first round at Irene Country Club on Wednesday.

The bogey-free round for Buhai meant she opened up a three-shot lead in the 54-hole event over countrywoman Symone Henriques and Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann, who both carded tidy opening rounds of two-under 70.

A further stroke adrift in solo fourth was France’s Emie Peronnin, while six South Africans shared fifth spot on level par, including former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Lee-Anne Pace and Bertine Faber, rookie Casandra Hall, amateur Kajal Mistry, 2018 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner Stacy Bregman and Ivana Samu, making a welcome return to competitive golf after undergoing back surgery last year.

Buhai ended the 2018 season on a high note, winning the Investec South African Women’s Open for a third time, and the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golfer was understandably chuffed with her first competitive round of 2019.

“I’m very happy with the way I played with it being my first tournament back after I took five weeks off starting in December,” said Buhai.

“I started practicing three weeks ago, and I was very happy to put what I was working on into play. I had five birdies and no bogeys, so a very good result at the start of the season.”

When Buhai missed shots, they were in the right places and her short-game came through with flying colours.

“I made a lot of good saves and my short game was very sharp, considering I haven’t played that much. My coach Doug Wood and I have a plan and we’ve worked on that. Consistency-wise I was never really in trouble, even my bad shots were just right or just off the green. They weren’t difficult up-and-downs so that also made it a little bit easier for me to make those pars.”

Following a second place finish on the final Order of Merit last year, Buhai produced some strong performances abroad which saw her end the year as the top-ranked SA player on the global stage.

At 116th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Buhai is some way ahead of Pace, with SA number three Bregman even further back at 308th.

“I was happy with the way I finished off last season,” Buhai said. “There was definitely some inconsistency and we’ve built something into my swing which I hope will help me with that.

“I played a lot of golf last year, I think it was 31 tournaments. I’m looking to space things out a lot better this year and hopefully play well in the bigger events and then to not have to play as much golf either.”

Husband Davis is back on the bag this week, a partnership which clearly works on local shores.

“Dave is back on the bag when I’m in South Africa, but when I compete abroad, I use Gary du Plooy from Zimbabwe,” Buhai explained. “He’s been caddying for me for just over six months now. I enjoy it when Dave caddies for me, since he knows my game the best, but I think it’s good to have that time apart when we hit the long run in the States.”

The 29-year-old has a busy schedule ahead, and will not have much time to dwell or savour from this week’s event.

“I leave for Australia on Saturday, where I will be play three weeks and then I’ll come back for the Investec SA Open. Straight after Westlake, we leave for the United States for a six-week stretch.”

Glenvista amateur Symone Henriques tied for second with a two-under 70 in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Henriques will also be heading for the United States, although not as quickly as Buhai.

The Glenvista amateur will be taking up a golf scholarship at East Carolina University in North Carolina in August.

“I’m excited to play the Sunshine Ladies Tour without the pressure of school and to take in as much as I can from the pros,” said the 18-year-old. “I also hope to get into seriously competitive shape for the national amateur circuit. It would be great to win one more time before I leave.”

 

 

 

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


23rd January 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bregman heads to Irene with lofty goals

PRETORIA, 23 January 2019 – Five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Stacy Bregman is embracing the pressure that comes as defending champion as she prepares to tee it up in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at the end of the month.

The sixth season launches with the R200,000 event at Irene Country Club on 30 January.

Bregman, who captured her first Sunshine Ladies Tour title in the Zambia Ladies Open five years ago, racked up victories in the Sun International Ladies Challenge, Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and Cape Town Ladies Open in 2015.

Last year she ended a three-year winning drought when a closing 71 at Pretoria Country Club helped her towards a four under par total and four-shot victory for her fifth triumph.

Bregman travelled to the United Arab Emirates earlier this year for the Fatima Bint Mubarak Open on the Ladies European Tour. “I took time off over the festive season, so I wasn’t very sharp. And I got the bad side of the draw with really windy conditions in the first two rounds, so I was really pleased to kick off the season with a top 16 finish.”

Since she returned from Abu Dhabi, Bregman has been hitting the gym hard and working with her coach, Grant Veenstra. She feels positive heading to Irene to defend the title and her 2018 Investec Property Order of Merit crown in the season-opener.

“It’s always nice to play at home, especially when the weather turns warm,” said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer. “I have always enjoyed playing Irene, because it’s a thinker’s course and if you are swinging it well, you can go low.

“Being the defending champion is an added bonus. It doesn’t happen as often as you would like, so it does put a bit more pressure on you, but I always enjoy a bit more stress. I’ll have a good week regardless.”

Bregman said it’s always nice to draw on positive memories at the start of the season.

“It was a very exciting finish. I hit some smart shots to stay in front and played more conservatively at the end, relying on my short game. I’m really strong off the tee, but I live by my short game. It’s a huge part of my game. “I’m very happy with a lot of aspects of my game. I need to put it all together on the golf course to have a win, but there are a lot of positive signs. My expectation is the same every time I play. You’re trying to play as well as you can to get yourself into contention for the final round. I know that if I can get myself into that position I can win coming down the stretch.”

Bregman expects tough opposition from the leading South African players, who will also be keen to get a foot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit ladder in the first event.

She headlines the 66-strong playing field that will feature former LPGA Tour champion Lee-Anne Pace, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Ashleigh Buhai, Bertine (Strauss) Faber, Kim Williams, Monique Smit, Tandi Mc Callum and Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland, former LET winner Laurette Maritz, as well as 21 international campaigners from 14 countries.

A number of rookies will also be making their Sunshine Ladies Tour debut including 2018 Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Casandra Hall.

“It’s a strong field and it should be a really good event,” Bregman said. “If I’m in the mix, I will push really hard. It would be great to win the first one; it really sets you up for the rest of the tour.

“The course has lots of trees, but it’s quite open and there is not a huge amount of rough. If the weather stays nice, we’ll see very good scoring.”

Canon South Africa’s Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive, Dana Eitzen, said Canon is proud to be part of the Sunshine Ladies Tour for a third successive year.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour has enjoyed tremendous growth and support since its inception in 2014 and is certainly the most illustrious ladies’ professional circuit in Africa,” Eitzen said.

“Canon is once again proud to sponsor the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, which is traditionally the kick-off event when some of the best female golfers in the country and the world, convene for the start of the season. We are certain that the 2019 edition of this prestigious event will once again showcase tremendous skill and unrivalled sportsmanship and we look forward to watching the tour unfold over the next few months.”

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HASHTAG – #CanonSLTOpen

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


13th December 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour unveils 2019 schedule

Five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner and 2018 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion Stacy Bregman; credit Michael Edwards

JOHANNESBURG, 13 December 2018 – Another bumper season awaits the leading lights of South African women’s golf, and international participants from around the globe, when the Sunshine Ladies Tour tees off in 2019.

The tour launches on 30 January, and the prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open will fittingly draw the curtain on the sixth season in mid-March. The crown jewel of South African women’s golf will once again carry Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned status and boast a purse of R2 million.

“When we launched the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2014, we could not anticipate how incredibly well the circuit would be supported by players and sponsors alike,” said Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan.

“Thanks to initial investment and the ongoing commitment from Investec Property and support from the primary key stakeholders and sponsors Dimension Data, Sun International, the City of Joburg, the City of Cape Town, the City of Tshwane, SuperSport, Canon and the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, the Sunshine Ladies Tour has shown tremendous growth over the last five years.

“Participation has increased tenfold, with more than 40 international golfers playing the full circuit last year. Prize money has quadrupled from the first season, and the knock-on effect for our rising amateurs has been fantastic, with many young golfers flourishing on the international stage over the past two years.

“Investec Property has been with us every step of the way since the first season and has continued to find ways to make the Sunshine Ladies Tour more attractive.

“The 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour, raised the profile of our national championship to global status. The Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, which was launched in 2018 with a bonus pay-out of R100 000 to the leading player at the end of the season, cultivated a well-supported and highly competitive circuit.

“We are confident of hosting another memorable season in 2019, culminating in the Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town.”

Cheryl Leicher, Head of Marketing for Investec Property, said the partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour aptly showcases the incredible talent of women in sport and ensures that the athletes are recognised for their dedication.

“We are thrilled that the Investec South African Women’s Open is a platform that can aid the promotion and growth of South African women in sport. It’s encouraging to see that our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour is giving local players the opportunity to compete on a global stage and further the growth of the sport as we continuously strive towards building women champions,’ said Leicher.”

The 2019 season kicks off with the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club from 30 January to 1 February.

The Soweto Country Club makes its first appearance on the women’s professional circuit as the host venue for the Joburg Ladies Open from 6-8 February. The Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am returns in its regular slot opposite the Dimension Data Pro-Am from 15-17 February in George.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour then swings through KwaZulu-Natal for the South African Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club from 21-23 February and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club from 26-28 February.

The Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 6-8 March will precede the season-ending Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 14-16 March.

Margie Whitehouse, the returning chair of the Women’s PGA of South Africa, added:

“As the oldest and most prestigious professional women’s golf tournament since 1988, the Investec South African Women’s Open is the WPGA’s flagship event.  On this 31st anniversary, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Investec Property for their sponsorship, as well as to the City of Cape Town for their continued support.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to all our other partners and sponsors as we look forward to a successful 2019 season.”

2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour Schedule
30 January – 1 February
Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open

Irene Country Club
Prize fund: R200 000

6 – 8 February
Joburg Ladies Open

Soweto Country Club
Prize fund: R500 000

15 – 17 February
Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

George Golf Club and the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt
Prize fund: R500 000
Pro-Am Prize Fund: R100 000

21 – 23 February
South African Women’s Masters

San Lameer Country Club
Prize fund: R250 000

26 – 28 February
SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International

Wild Coast Sun Country Club
Prize fund: R400 000

6 – 8 March
Cape Town Ladies Open

Royal Cape Golf Club
Prize fund: R200 000

14 – 16 March
Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour

Westlake Golf Club
Prize fund: R2 million

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


27th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big target on Bregman’s back at Wild Coast

26 February 2018 – Nobuhle Dlamini, Ivanna Samu and Laura Fuenfstueck will want to reel in Stacy Bregman when the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader tees off in the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Wednesday.

Bregman wants to strengthen her vice grip on the standings in the penultimate event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour before the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town.

The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner is enjoying her best season yet and is keen to put more daylight between herself and her nearest rivals. Bregman shot straight to the top of the standings with her victory in the season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and strung together an impressive sequence of top five finishes to anchor herself in top spot.

She leads the standings with 1 635.00 points and, with a R100 000 on the table for the point list winner, Bregman wants to consolidate her lead with another stirring performance before the final event at Westlake Golf Club from 8-10 March.

She enjoys a very handy 548.33 point advantage over Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am champion Carrie Park and is 555 points clear of Joburg Ladies Open winner Ashleigh Buhai, but Park is fulfilling her obligations on the Korean LPGA Tour, while Buhai is campaigning on the LPGA Tour.

It’s the trio behind Park and Buhai that pose a realistic threat this week.

“I have a pretty big cushion and I want to keep it that way,” said the 31-year-old Country Club Johannesburg golfer after her practice round on Tuesday.

“I’ve done the math. A win in the Investec South African Open is worth 1 100 points. That brings Ash, Nobby, Ivanna and Laura into play. I’ll need at least 2 000 going to Cape Town to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit. A win this week is worth 520 points; second place is 420 points. Those are two spots I’m aiming for.”

It is big ask, even for Bregman, especially since she has never set foot on the daunting par-70, Robert Trent Jones designed course before her practice round.

“I enjoyed my first look,” Bregman said. “It’s a really good course and it will play really tough when the wind is up. But I love playing new courses, so I’m looking forward to the tournament. The resort is really nice, too, and I am really keen to try the slides in the Water Park.”

Fuenstueck became the fifth alternative winner this season and third international champion on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when she annexed victory in the SA Women’s Masters by a single shot and the affable 23-year-old German rookie is a strong contender to go back-to-back at the Wild Coast Sun.

“At first it was just about making cuts, but I have definitely raised my expectations,” she said. “I only have conditional status on the Ladies European Tour, so I am hoping for another good week to take momentum to the Investec South African Women’s Open. I have to make this week count.”

Dlamini has also been making noticeable strides this season with a sequence of good results.

She let the chance of a maiden title slip with a double bogey at 14 at San Lameer, but rose to fourth spot in the standings on the back of a four-way tie for second place and feels that she is within touching distance now of a breakthrough victory. Playing a course with a layout similar to her home course, the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club, could just be what the big-hitting Swazi golfer needs to get inside the winner’s circle.

“I’m there at the door, knocking all the time,” said Dlamini. “It’s frustrating, but I am just staying really patient. If you knock long enough, the door has to open.”

The local favourite Melissa Eaton found herself neatly tucked into the runners-up cluster in the SA Women’s Masters and also feels she’s edging closer to a big payday.

“To be honest, I was ready to pack it in after a disastrous back nine in final round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am,” she said. “I knew the only positive I could take away was learning the tough lesson it taught me. So I didn’t allow my emotions to get the better of me. I came back strong and I am taking a lot of positive energy into the SuperSport Ladies Challenge this week.”

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