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9th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

A Mother City maiden win for Gidali at Royal Cape

CAPE TOWN, 9 April 2021 – France’s Manon Gidali holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of the Cape Town Ladies Open to claim her maiden professional victory in the opening event of the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season.

The Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigner, who started the day two shots behind leaders Cara Gorlei and amateur Caitlyn Macnab, fired a round of one-under-par 73 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish the 54-hole event tied with local hope Gorlei on four-under-par 218.

Ultimately, it took a special putt for birdie to separate the clubhouse leaders in the ensuing sudden-death playoff.

With Gorlei having already played an exquisite bunker shot to tap-in distance for par on the second trip down the closing hole, Gidali’s inspiration came from a similar situation in the recent Qatar Open.

“I was thinking about my friend Antoine Rozner. He sank a long putt to win on the European Tour two weeks ago in Qatar and I was thinking, ‘You can do it too.’ And I made it,” said the elated Gidali.

France’s Manon Gidali holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of the Cape Town Ladies Open to claim her maiden professional victory in the opening event of the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

For the 27-year-old French golfer, the victory extends an upward trend that kicked off in South Africa 12 months ago at Westlake Golf Club.

Despite starting the 2020 season with conditional status on the Ladies European Tour, the Parisian made the most of her nine starts to achieve a career-best 33rd ranking in the Race to Costa del Sol in 2020 in just nine starts – chiefly thanks to a tie for fourth in last year’s Investec South African Women’s Open, backed up by a runner-up finish in The Saudi Ladies Team International and sixth in the Andalucia Open De Espana.

Gidali is the 13th international champion and the fourth French player to enjoy success since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014.

In 2019, Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch combined for victory in the Serengeti Team Championship and LET winner Anne-Lise Caudal lifted the Jabra Ladies Classic title at Glendower in 2019.

Gidali opted to play in the Sunshine Ladies Tour series in order to prepare for her first full season in Europe in 2021.

“I’ve been training hard all winter so I was really excited to come out here and play,” she said.

“It means a lot to me to get my first professional win here on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. This gives me the confidence to know that I can win and obviously the next step is to win on the LET. I’m really excited to keep playing now.”

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite finished third on two-under.

Reigning South African Amateur champion Macnab edged to a three-shot lead after nine holes, but she lost momentum on the back nine and slipped out of contention with a double bogey when she found the water on the par-three 15th.

A closing bogey saw the GolfRSA No. 1 finish fourth on one-under.

Caitlyn Macnab during round 3 of the Cape Town Ladies open on 08/04/2021

“That double really hurt, but I guess it was just one of those days where things weren’t working. I feel like I can take a lot of positives away from this event and it is all part of the learning process,” said the 19-year-old. “I am happy otherwise with how my game held up and how I dealt with the pressure and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Macnab, who still took the Leading Amateur honour, won’t dwell too much on the missed opportunity, however, as the tour moves to Glendower for the next event, the Jabra Ladies Classic.

The Ekurhuleni golfer has tasted success before at the former SA Open venue, with wins in the 2020 Ekurhuleni Open and the 2019 GolfRSA Champion of Champions event.

Gorlei had mixed emotions after recording the best finish of her short professional career.

“It was awesome to be back in contention,” said the 25-year-old Arkansas University graduate, who joined the pro ranks last year. “I had lots of emotions going into today with a share of the lead, but after I made that double bogey at the 10th I was five shots back of Caitlyn. I had to gather myself and concentrate on my own game and I’m proud of the way I pulled things back. Onwards and upwards from here. I have stepped it up a level already and it’s only week one. There is still a lot of golf to be played this season.”

The City of Cape Town threw its support behind the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2015 and celebrated the seventh edition of the Cape Town Ladies Open this year. The City also extended its backing to promote and develop women sport in the Western Cape as the host of the season-ending Investec South African Women’s Open since 2018.

‘We are really thrilled to be welcoming the Sunshine Ladies Tour back to the Mother City in 2021. In a period marked by uncertainty for many sporting activities and events due to Covid-19, it is encouraging that the Sunshine Ladies Tour remains resolute in achieving its goals,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

“Our support of these golf tournaments goes back many years. This speaks to our commitment to enabling women’s sport, especially those aimed at developing the women’s game while also nurturing the next generation of the country’s top golfers. We have seen some progress over the years and we’re looking forward to continuing this partnership.”

The R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic from 14-16 April offers the leading non-exempt LET player a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open – the qualifying event for the fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in July.

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


8th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

First Sunshine Ladies Tour showdown set in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 8 April 2021 – Amateur Caitlyn Macnab lived up to her No. 1 billing when she surged into a share of the lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Serengeti golfer fired a flawless five-under-par 69 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish alongside overnight leader Cara Gorlei.

Milnerton’s Gorlei lost some traction over the first 10 holes, but re-ignited her campaign with an eagle-birdie combination at the 11th and 12th holes. She regained a seat at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie finish for a two-under 72.

Sitting at five-under, both golfers will look to make history in Friday’s final round with a maiden victory on Africa’s premier professional women’s golf circuit.

Macnab, a champion for the strength of the women’s amateur game in South Africa, backed up her successful title defence in the South African Women’s Amateur Championship in February with victories in the KwaZulu-Natal Championship and Free State Open.

Ahead of the first event, the GolfRSA Elite Squad member said she was looking forward to raising her game and soaking up experience competing against the professionals before she took up a golf scholarship at Texas Christian University in August.

So far, her game has held up rather nicely and she doesn’t plan to change a thing.

“I am not going to change a thing,” said the 19-year-old Elite Squad player. “I came into the tournament with a strategy for this course and I am going to stick with it. I will try to capitalise on the par fives and to keep the ball in play. The greens are rolling very true and if I can position myself well off the tees, the birdie opportunities are out there.”

Cara Gorlei kept her bid for a maiden title on track with a second round 72 to tie for the lead on five under in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club.

For Gorlei, the putter will be key.

“I was putting beautifully before the round, but I left everything short over the first nine holes. After another close miss on the 10th, I took out another ball. I told my coach Wayne Bradley, who is on the bag this week, hopefully this one won’t be afraid of the dark,” said the 25-year-old.

“Then I eagled the 11th and the momentum changed right there. I made a few more birdies coming in and that’s what I need to bring to the final round. The rest of the game is in good nick and I’m looking forward to going head-to-head with Caitlyn. She was in the group ahead of me and playing really well, so I’m looking forward to a great battle on Friday.”

The young guns will have to bring their A-game, though, with Frenchwoman Manon Gidali and three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace in hot pursuit.

Gidali, who tied for fourth in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake in her last visit to South Africa, is looking for a strong start to her first full Sunshine Ladies Tour season and will start the final round two shots behind the joint leaders.

“I played really nicely in the first round, but I just didn’t score, so that was the focus today,” said the 27-year-old Ladies European Tour campaigner, who had a lone bogey in her round of 71.

“I didn’t even know what I shot today; the focus was just to keep the card clean and to pick up some shots on the field. It’s been four months since I last played competitive golf, which is why I came out to make an early start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. It’s really great to have this tour where we can prepare for the start of the LET season. And playing in the sun is just fantastic.”

Former LPGA Tour winner Pace closed the gap on the frontrunners with a four-under 70.

“I’m really happy with the way my game is shaping up,” said Pace, the winner in 2016, 2018 and 2020. “The start was a bit scrappy but got it to level before the turn and everything fell into place on the back nine. I’m striking the ball well and I’m close. I’m pleased that I made four birdies and didn’t drop a shot over the last nine holes.

“I have always loved this tournament and this course and it would be great to start the season on a winning note again after such a disappointing 2020.”

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite returned a 73 to finish alone in fifth on one-under.

Dutch golfer Pasqualle Coffa matched Macnab’s low round of the day to move to sixth position on one-over, with Scottish pair Jane Turner and Rachael Taylor, Emie Peronnin from France and Stacy Bregman rounding out the top 10 on two-over.

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


7th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Gorlei soars to Cape Town Ladies Open summit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

SA’s top pros primed to throw down the gauntlet in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 5 April 2021 – South African leading lights Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit and Lejan Lewthwaite aim to make statement of intent when the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour launches in Cape Town this week.

The eighth season gets underway with the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April, where the field will vie for the lion’s share of the R200 000 prize fund and an early move on the season-long Investec Order of Merit race.

“Six weeks, six events, more than R6-million in prize money and a load of amazing incentives; you bet we are champing at the bit to get going,” said Garcia.

A three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Garcia missed a full season in 2019 due to hip surgery. She had high hopes of making a comeback last year, but the global Covid-19 pandemic put paid to her plans.

“The last 12 months has been frustrating, especially for the Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigners,” she said. “South Africa went into the Level 5 lockdown shortly after the Investec South African Women’s Open and the LET also pressed pause on their 2020 schedule until August.

“With the long breaks between events and trying to work around all the travel restrictions, the season was really a write-off for most of us. That’s why we all are so eager to push the reset button.

“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times. The Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline this season is “level up” and it is certainly the right time for all of us to embrace that and take things to the next level.”

Smit echoed Garcia’s thoughts.

“It was definitely a season of highs and lows,” said the George golfer, who won the 2020 Investec Order of Merit, courtesy of victory in the Joburg Ladies Open and a runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open.

“It was ironic that I hit the best form of my career in the worst year ever. I had such a fantastic season at home, and qualified for my first AIG Women’s Open. The rest of the season is hardly worth mentioning, but I did qualify as a barista during the lockdown, so there is that silver lining.

“I am really excited to kick off this season with a bang. Besides the prize money, we have so many incentives to shoot for this year. There are chances to secure starts in the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the qualifying event for The Amundi Evian Championship, and the Big Green Egg Dutch Ladies Open in the Netherlands, not to mention all the opportunities this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open offers the South Africans.

“Besides earning tour winner’s status for the LET, it’s the qualifying tournament for the U.S. Women’s Open. Imagine having the chance to qualify for the biggest major right here on home soil.

“Plus, if the winner is a South African, she’ll win the Investec Homegrown Award, which is worth another R100 000. For a seasoned pro or an up-and-coming rookie that’s a huge bonus to use towards travel costs. And, of course, R100 000 for winning the Investec Order of Merit. It’s all to play for this year.”

Lewthwaite, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, hosted by Sun International last year, finished third on the Investec Order of Merit and was primed to play her first full season on the LET.

“I definitely had high hopes after a successful season at home, but at least I did get to play a few LET events and gain some invaluable experience. So I am ready to pick up where I left off and I think this season is going to be incredible.
“We see more international players come out to South Africa year-on-year because the Sunshine Ladies Tour is so perfectly positioned to build competitive form before the European season starts.

“And this year we should see even more top professionals on the tour with the Investec South African Women’s Open being a qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open. That’s great news for the seasoned pros and the rookies and the amateurs, too. I cut my teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when I came back from college in the USA and it is such a great circuit to build experience.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most prolific winner Lee-Anne Pace will headline the field in the season-opener in the Mother City. The LPGA champion will be chasing an unprecedented fourth Cape Town Ladies Open title, having won the event in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Other players on the watch list include LET campaigners Stacy Bregman, Casandra Hall and eSwatini standout Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Jane Turner from Scotland and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal and rising stars Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Tara Griebenow.

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29th January 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

New dates set for 8th Sunshine Ladies Tour season

The Sunshine Ladies Tour announced its revised schedule for the 2021 season and will launch in April with a bumper run of six events, including an exciting format change for the season finale Investec South African Women’s Open.

“While the country was still in the throes of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in January, we took a decision for the safety of our players to postpone the start of our eighth season. Our amazing sponsors, partners and host venues embraced this decision and we are excited to announce the new dates, starting in April,” said Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager Pauli van Meersbergen.

The Cape Town Ladies Open will kick off the season at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April. Over the next four weeks, the tour will travel to Gauteng, Sun City and the Garden Route before returning to the Mother City for the season-finale.

The Jabra Ladies Classic celebrates its third season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April, followed by the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

The sixth Joburg Ladies Open returns to its home at Soweto Country Club from 28-30 April and the annual Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am – played concurrently with the Sunshine Tour’s Challenge Tour co-sanctioned Dimension Data Pro-Am – takes place from 7-9 May in George, before the tour circles back to the Mother City for the final showpiece.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open will once again be co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour,” Van Meersbergen added.

“Our flagship event will carry a prize fund of €200 000 (approximately R3.6-million) and Westlake Golf Club will host the event for a fourth consecutive year from 13-16 May. We are excited to announce that, for the first time on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the tournament will be decided over 72 holes.

“We may be starting later than originally planned, but we are delighted to offer our members nearly R6-million in prize money, some exciting incentives and the race to the Investec Order of Merit bonus prize of R100 000.”

The 2021 Investec Order of Merit is based on a points system and the race for glory commences at the Cape Town Ladies Open and wraps up with the Investec South African Women’s Open.

Peta Dixon, Head of Sponsorships Investec SA, said:

“We at Investec take great pride in our involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour since 2014: Not only as the title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open and the Investec Order of Merit, but also through our support of our players performing on the international stage. We strive to create platforms and opportunities that further develop women’s sport in South Africa and are proud of how The Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown in the last seven years. The increase in international participation speaks volumes of the high standard of competition.

“Thanks to the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s partnership with the Ladies European Tour, the format change of the Investec South African Women’s Open is now befitting the status of South Africa’s flagship event. As a 72-hole tournament, the Investec South African Women’s Open now joins the premier events on the international calendar.”

Margie Whitehouse, chair of the Women’s Professional Golf Association, said:

“We are very pleased for all the competitors that the 2021 season is going ahead. We look forward to seeing our top talents in action, to welcome the international campaigners to our shores and to offer our new crop of rookies and the young amateurs coming through the ranks a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience to further their careers.”

2021 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR REVISED SCHEDULE

APRIL
7-9 Cape Town Ladies Open
      R200 000
Royal Cape Golf Club

14-16 Jabra Ladies Classic
      R600 000
Glendower Golf Club

21-23 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
      R400 000
Gary Player Country Club

28-30 Joburg Ladies Open
      R500 000
Soweto Country Club

MAY
7-9 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
      R600 000
R100 000 Better Ball Pro-Am

13-16 Investec South African Women’s Open*
      €200 000
Westlake Golf Club
* co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour


14th December 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour announces 2021 schedule

14 December 2020 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour today announced its 2021 schedule and women’s golf fans can look forward to six weeks of action, capped by the Investec South African Women’s Open from 18-20 March in the City of Cape Town.

The eighth season of the local women’s professional circuit launches with the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 3-5 February.

Next up is the annual Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am from 12-14 February. The eighth edition will boast a purse of R600 000, with an additional R100 000 up for grabs for the leading 10 teams in the Better Ball Pro-Am competition. The first two rounds will be played at George Golf Club and the final round will be contested at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt.

From George, the circuit travels to Sun City for the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, where the immaculate Gary Player Country Club – host venue of the 2020 South African Open Championship – will once again serve up an exciting challenge from 24-26 February.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour then spends two weeks in Johannesburg for the Joburg Ladies Open and the Jabra Ladies Classic before returning to the Mother City for the season-finale showpiece.

The popular Joburg Ladies Open makes its sixth appearance on the circuit from 3-5 March and returns to the Soweto Country Club for a third successive year. The following week, the Jabra Ladies Classic celebrates its third edition at Glendower Golf Club.

Westlake Golf Club will bring down the curtain on what promises to be another exciting season of building women champions when it hosts the country’s flagship event for a fourth successive year. The Investec South African Women’s Open will once again be co-sanctioned between the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour and carry a prize fund of €200 000 (approximately R3.6-million).

“Although we have a slightly shortened schedule in 2021, we are excited to offer our players some wonderful incentives next year,” said Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager Pauli van Meersbergen.

“The 2021 Investec Order of Merit will commence with the Cape Town Ladies Open. It will be based on a points system and the winner at the conclusion of the Investec South African Women’s Open will receive a bonus prize of R100 000.

“At this time, we are unable to confirm the incentives on offer to the winners of the Jabra Ladies Classic and the Investec South African Women’s Open.  However, once confirmed by the Ladies European Tour, they could result in life-changing opportunities for our players.

“These incentives will add up to huge rewards for the players supporting the Sunshine Ladies Tour and will undoubtedly make for another highly competitive season of inspiring feats, rousing shot-making and contests to savour.”

Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt said it is wonderful to see the Sunshine Ladies Tour continue as strong as ever, despite the hardships golf in South Africa experienced in 2020.

“Since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014, the circuit has blossomed and grown into a wonderful stage where the next generation can cut their teeth and build experience competing against the top talents from South Africa and abroad,” said Abt.

“Over the last seven years, the tour has showcased the talents of international champions Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace and campaigners Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and our 2020 Investec Order of Merit winner Monique Smit.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour has also proven highly successful in building future champions, including Lejan Lewthwaite, Nobuhle Dlamini and Casandra Hall, who are all competing on the Ladies European Tour now. The next generation have also greatly benefitted from the experience of competing at this level, with the likes of Zethu Myeki, Kajal Mistry, Kaiyuree Moodley, Caitlyn Macnab and Kaylah Williams all excelling at amateur level.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour increasingly draws a growing pool of international competitors, who come out to South Africa to take advantage of our weather, our great golf courses and a highly competitive circuit at the start of the year. And our partnership with the Ladies European Tour provide our local players great opportunities to gain access to the international stage. We look forward to another successful Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2021.”

Margie Whitehouse, chair of the Women’s Professional Golf Association, welcomed the announcement.

“We are delighted that the Sunshine Ladies Tour will celebrate its eight season in 2021,” said Whitehouse. “Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdown, we will host a strong run of tournaments next year thanks to the incredible loyalty of our sponsors and partners.

“Globally, golf has proven itself as a sport that can be played safely. The South African golf industry has adapted quickly to manage the restrictions and has the operational experience and established GolfRSA Covid-secure practices to guarantee that the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour can tee off with great success next year.”

Peta Dixon, Head of Sponsorships Investec SA, said Investec is proud of their continued involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“Investec threw its support behind the Sunshine Ladies Tour since its inception and it has been an encouraging and rewarding journey to witness the growth of the local women’s professional circuit over the last seven years,” Dixon said.

“Investec is honoured and delighted to partner the Sunshine Ladies Tour in showcasing the incredible talent of women in golf and to help our golfers achieve the opportunity to compete on the global stage. We are invested in the next generation of women and we believe that these athletes should be recognised for their dedication and achievements. As the title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open and the Investec Order of Merit, we proudly promote the growth and development of South African women in sport.”

2021 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR SCHEDULE

FEBRUARY

3-5        Cape Town Ladies Open
               R200 000 / Royal Cape Golf Club

12-14    Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
               R600 000 / R100 000 Better Ball Pro-Am
George Golf Club / Outeniqua Course at Fancourt

24-26    SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
                R400 000 / Gary Player Country Club

MARCH

3-5        Joburg Ladies Open
               R500 000 / Soweto Country Club

10-12    Jabra Ladies Classic
               R600 000 / Glendower Golf Club

18-20    Investec South African Women’s Open*
                €200 000 / Westlake Golf Club
* Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned


31st January 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace seals Cape Town Ladies Open hat-trick in style

31 January 2020 – Lee-Anne Pace hopes her Cape Town Ladies Open hat-trick is a good omen as she begins to resuscitate her career on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2020.

Pace successfully wrapped up her 25th career victory with a five-shot victory on eight under par after closing with a five-under 67 on a blustery final day at King David Mowbray Golf Club on Friday.

Her last visit to the winner’s circle was in the same event two years ago at Royal Cape Golf Club and her first success was also at Royal Cape in 2016.

“I’m super, super happy,” said Pace as she hugged the trophy and flashed a big, white toothy smile at the applauding crowd during prize giving.

”I didn’t expect it this week. Last year was a write-off; I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. I missed two cuts and decided to take a total break from the game. The break did me the world of good, but I didn’t expect I played two events in the last six months and missed the cut in both, so I didn’t really expect to start this well. But time away from the game was really good for me. I am in a good place in my life and I felt very comfortable out there. I am enjoying it again. This is the perfect to start building form for the Ladies European Tour.”

Pace opened with an even-par 72 and dipped three shots below par in the second round to start the final day one shot behind Dlamini on four-under.

She reeled in three birdies over the first six holes, and managed to come through the second and fourth holes relatively unscathed. “I doubled the second hole and bogeyed the fourth in the first two rounds, so that cost me four shots,” Pace said. “I don’t know what it is about that second hole, but I bogeyed it again in the final round. Luckily the birdies on one, three and six gave me a boost.”

Lee-Anne Pace credited her young caddie, Jere Brits from Paarl, for her 13th Sunshine Ladies Tour title. The 16-year-old Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series finalist guided the former LPGA and Ladies European Tour winner to a hat-trick of wins in the Cape Town Ladies Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club.

Pace lauded her caddie, 16-year-old Bridge Fund Manager Junior Series finalist Jere Brits from Paarl, for guiding her to the winner’s circle.

“Jere had been absolutely brilliant all week and he deserves a lot of credit. He gave me all the right clubs, the lines and the pace and even an eagle at the 14th. I wanted to hit an 8-iron and he talked me into a seven, and we got the eagle.”

Two perfectly-timed shots on the ultimate hole set her up for a birdie finish and she nailed it.

With a record setting start to the 2020 season, how much would Pace like to finish it off with a record fourth triumph in the Investec South African Women’s Open in middle-March?

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind, as is winning the Investec Order of Merit,” she said. “I got so close last year, and I would love to get the win. That trophy comes with spots in the British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship and LET membership until the end of 2021. More than anything, it would be great to be the first four-time winner.

“It was a really great week with the putter and I was driving it better every day, so I am looking forward to the rest of the season, and to keep on building form. And hopefully Jere’s mom and dad will let me borrow him again for Westlake.”

While Pace was in blistering form, Dlamini struggled to recreate the magic of her second round 67.

The 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner paid the penalty of an errant drive at the par four second with a double bogey and had to settle for second on three-under.

Durbanville rookie Tara Griebenow played the final round with Pace and Dlamini and finished an impressive third on level par after rounds of 73, 71 and 72.

Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Larissa du Preez bagged the Leading Amateur honour.

The Silver Lakes golfer carded rounds of 73, 75 and 73 to tie American Jordy LaBarbera for eighth overall on five-over 221.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour travels to Sun City next for the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player and Lost City Courses from 4-6 February.

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

 


30th January 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini edges ahead in Cape Town Ladies Open

30 January 2020 – A well-rested Nobuhle Dlamini took advantage of a breeze caressing the King David Mowbray Golf Club fairways to edge into the 36-hole lead on day two of the Cape Town Ladies Open.

The big-hitting eSwatini golfer fired a bogey-free five-under-par 67 on Thursday to move to four-under, one shot clear of 12-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lee-Anne Pace, who posted 69.

Given Dlamini’s form and Pace’s extensive competitive experience, the smart money would be on the pair to go-head-to-head to bank the first winner’s cheque of the 2020 season, but Durbanville rookie Tara Griebenow and seasoned French campaigner Astrid Vayson De Pradenne are still both firmly in contention.

The pair returned rounds of 71 to stay in touch, finishing in a tie for third on level par.

Lejan Lewthwaite and last season’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Jane Turner are not completely out of the running. Reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lewthwaite carded 71 to finish on one-over, and a 72 left Scotland’s Turner sitting on two-over.

Dlamini had to hit the ground running after she only landed back in South Africa on the eve of the season-opening event, having secured her Ladies European Tour card with a top 8 finish at the Q-School in Spain at the weekend.

She made an impressive start and led the field by two shots after nine holes, but when fatigue set in on the inward loop, a number of bogeys saw her slip to one-over 73 and she started the second round one shot behind Pace.

“I slept really well and felt like a new person this morning,” said Dlamini, who racked up four birdies before the turn. “I felt really comfortable out there. I played the course for the first time during the first round and with the wind gusting so strong, it was pretty daunting.

“I liked the layout, but I wasn’t sharp. It’s not a course where you can pull driver out of the bag on every hole. Today I hit a lot of long irons and I drove the ball really well. I made some very good putts on the front, but the putter fell asleep on the back nine. I was happy to make two putts for pars until one finally dropped for birdie on 17.

“Playing with Lee-Anne in the final round will be interesting. She may not have played for a while, but she is so experienced. You can never underestimate her.”

Lee-Anne Pace; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace sandwiched a double bogey between birdies at the first and third holes. The former LPGA Tour champion erased another dropped shot at the fourth with gains on seven and nine and reeled in two more birdies coming home.

“Another up-and-down start for me,” laughed Pace. “I hit a much better drive today on the second, and doubled it again. Tomorrow I’m hitting 6-iron, 6-iron and hopefully a chip-and-putt will get me a par. I dropped the fourth again, too. Luckily I had a couple of early birdies to help me out.

“I made quite a lot of birdies when I struck the ball well and found the fairways, and I was happy to finish with a birdie at the last. At least it warmed up nicely. It’s a tough course. It’s really tight, especially when the wind blows.

“Overall, I’m happy that I can see my game improving in every round and I look forward to going toe-to-toe with Nobby in the final round.”

Dlamini and Pace will be playing in the final group with Griebenow, who held her own in the heady company of Dlamini and fellow Ladies European Tour campaigner Lewthwaite.

“It’s her Sunshine Ladies Tour debut and she properly being tested, but I was so impressed with how focussed and calm she was out there. She has a great attitude. Nothing beats experience and it’s great for her to be playing with us in the leading group on Friday,” Dlamini said.

Tara Griebenow; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Griebenow completed her PGA Diploma at The Golf School of Excellence at the Paul McKenzie Academy last year and the Western Province rookie tested the waters in a few Vodacom Origins of Golf series events last year.

“I won the Humewood event, which was a great experience but competing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour is a different league. The atmosphere on the Origins series is more relaxed because you are playing with amateurs, but this is the big time,” said the 23-year-old. “It was great to watch the way Nobby and Lejan managed their games and stay in the moment. Playing with Nobby and Lee-Anne in the final round will be another big learning opportunity for me and I can’t wait.”

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

 


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.

SOCIAL MEDIA
HASHTAG – #CapeTownLadiesOpen / #sunshineladiestour
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OTHER – #itstartshere #buildingwomenchampions

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


8th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Park powers to Cape Town Ladies Open victory

CAPE TOWN, 8 March 2019 – Carrie Park turned on the style when it mattered most, making crucial birdies on the final three holes at Royal Cape Golf Club to claim her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory by five strokes in the Cape Town Ladies Open on Friday.

With just five holes to play, the Korean shared top spot on a bunched leaderboard with defending champion Lee-Anne Pace on three-under.

Amateur Kajal Mistry and Finland’s Tiia Koivistra were within striking distance just one shot back.

Park reeled off birdies on the par-five 14th and 16th holes and notched further gains at the par-four 17th and 18th holes to triumph.

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Mistry and Anne-Lise Caudal from France – last year’s runner up – tied for second on two-under, with South African Tandi McCallum, Swiss golfer Caroline Rominger and Koivisto a stroke further back in joint fifth.

Park headed into the final day one shot behind Pace and Mistry, who shared the overnight lead on four-under.

“I started the round very well and was feeling good, but I lost it a little bit at the turn,” she explained. “I felt like I couldn’t get my address right and everything started leaking right.

“The 14th was the turning point for me. I had 183 metres into the wind to the flag for my second and I hit a good 3-wood there to make a birdie. That really got me going.”

With the south-easterly wind gusting up to 50 km per hour at times, Park’s four-under-par 70 in the final round was the low score of the day. With earlier rounds of 72 and 73 at the par-74 layout, she was also the only player to break par on each day this week.

Even more remarkable is that Park only arrived in the country on the eve of the tournament and stepped into the first round without the benefit of a practice round.

“I prepared really well for the tournament. When we transferred, I did exercises to stay loose and I slept really well on the flights,” she said.

“It was really important to me to play this week. I wanted to get used to the distance at sea level and the ball flight to prepare for the Investec South African Women’s Open next week. My first Sunshine Ladies Tour win was the SA Women’s Masters. I would love to have the double.

“I don’t know Westlake. I have heard that it is also tight and tree-lined and the greens are very undulating. I plan to play at least three practice rounds to prepare well for next week.”

She often jokes that she is Korean by birth, but her heart is South African.

Her father enrolled the Seoul-born Park at Southdowns College at the age of 13. She joined Graeme Francis and the GFG Academy and soon after, began representing Gauteng North Golf Union.

A former SA Amateur and SA Stroke Play champion, Park was named Womens Golf South Africa Golfer of the Year in 2013 and she held the number one ranking for more than a year.

Following her third victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge last year, Park returned to Korea. She now plies her trade on the Korean LPGA Tour, having graduated to the tour courtesy of a win in the Phoenix Dream Tour in June last year.

Randpark golfer Kajal Mistry claimed the Leading Amateur honours for a fourth successive week with a joint runner-up finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Mistry, meanwhile, banked a second runner-up finish of the season, to go with the second place finish in the SA Women’s Masters and a further two top-10s.

It was another remarkable result for the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member, who remains in third spot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

She has received a sponsor’s invitation to the R2-million Investec South African Ladies Open, co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and is relishing her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour start.

“I can’t wait to play in my first Ladies European Tour event,” said the 18-year-old Randpark golfer.

“So far the season has exceeded my expectations. Originally my goal was to finish in the top 10 on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I think I need to reset and aim for the top three.

“I’m happy with my performance at Royal Cape. Coming second is a great result, but I was not too happy with all the fairways I missed this week. I only hit six in the final round, but my irons and short-game has been really strong. It was all a really good learning curve for next week.”

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CAPE TOWN LADIES OPEN
TWITTER – @CityofCT
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HASHTAG – #CapeTownLadiesOpen

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