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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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19th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Gorlei soars to summit at San Lameer

19 February 2020 – Cara Gorlei shrugged off any suggestions of pressure on the opening day of the Standard Bank South Africa Women’s Masters to surge into the first round lead at San Lameer Country Club.

With rain beating down intermittently on the coastal layout, the 24-year-old Milnerton rookie made the perfect start to her fourth event, reeling in a trio of birdies to set the tone for a flawless round and she set the early mark with a three-under-par 69.

Her target was matched by Scotland’s Jane Turner, who got it to four-under through 12 holes, but a bogey at the par five 13th and a double-bogey finish for a round of 71 left Gorlei with a two-stroke advantage and some welcome breathing room.

A former star of South African amateur golf, Gorlei spent four years on a golf scholarship at the University of Arkansas, where she represented the Arkansas Razorbacks women’s golf team. It was during this stretch that she also won the prestigious South African Women’s Amateur Championship.

After graduating with a major in kinesiology last June, the South African closed the book on a glittering amateur career and signed up for golf’s most gruelling test. She was the only South African to make the first cut at the First Stage of the LPGA Qualifying School, but a round of 79 in the final round put paid to her campaign.

“I competed in some of the Sunshine Ladies Tour events as an amateur, so I knew this would be good way to start my career before I head back to the States to compete on the Women’s All Pro Tour,” said Gorlei.

With many twists and turns still to come in this enthralling Sunshine Ladies Tour season, Gorlei was pleased to have laid down an early marker in her fourth start.

“Coming into the season, my expectations were unrealistically high, especially starting the Cape Town Ladies Open in my back yard. Nerves got the better of me, but as we have eased into the season, I’ve started to find my game a bit more. I’m starting to feel more comfortable and enjoying it a lot more.

“There is still of lot of golf to play, but a good finish this week could prove significant towards the end of the season. I’m pleased to be in an attacking position at last.”

Buoyed by a top 12 finish in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am on Sunday, Gorlei birdied the par four fifth and on both par threes – the 14th and 16th – while keeping her round ticking over with pars.

“With all the rain, I knew the course would be playing long. A lot of the holes were gettable, though, and I hit a lot of 4-irons and 3-woods to keep it in play. The strategy was just to hit fairways and greens and to pick up some birdies along the way.

“I was just playing good golf and making good putts. I hit a lot of fairways and I didn’t miss many greens, maybe one or two, but marginally and I managed make a lot of pars.”

Despite the unfortunate finish, Turner was in good spirits and happy to be just two shots back.

“I played really good golf and only made two mistakes that cost me three shots. I missed just three greens in regulation and I made four birdies, which I was really happy about,” Turner said.

“It was very, very wet out there and everyone was like ‘you should be used to this, coming from Scotland’. I’m sorry, but when a three-club wind blows or it’s pouring with rain, I stay indoors.

“The greens are very different to the courses we’ve played so far, but I handled it well. It always helps when you make the first few putts; that gave me a bit of confidence and I felt I could be a little more aggressive with the putter. I’m not too far off and hopefully the weather improves.”

Seasoned campaigner Kim Williams birdied the par four closing hole to finish three strokes adrift, while Monique Smit and Jessica Dreesbeimdieke from Namibia both finished on one-over-par 73.

Williams lauded the green staff at San Lameer for getting the course playable after a deluge forced the organisers to suspend the Pro-Am on Tuesday.

“It really has been bucketing down, but the staff have done an amazing job to get us on the course,” said the multiple Sunshine Ladies Tour winner. “I had to change the way I usually play the course. I couldn’t hit the big shots I would normally hit around here. I had to dial it back a little and I’m chuffed with the result. I’m just a few shots off with two rounds to go and that’s a good place to be.”

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and World Sports Promotions.


1st October 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Gorlei set to join new generation of SA women’s golf stars in pro ranks

1 October 2019 – As a number of Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals take advantage of the opportunity given by the Sunshine Tour to compete alongside the men in the Vodacom Origins of Golf series, it’s reaffirmed the belief that this new generation in South African women’s golf is ready to make their mark.

Cara Gorlei certainly thinks so, and is hoping to be one of them as she embarks on her professional career.

The former star of South African women’s amateur golf has just returned from a golf scholarship at the University of Arkansas, and is more motivated than ever to be part of a new generation of golfers hoping to fly the South African flag on the tours of the world.

“I think the women’s golf talent in South Africa has come through in stages. Recently we had Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace and that group of players. We’ve had a bit of a lull and age gap now. But hopefully we can start a new era of good players representing South Africa on Tour,” said Gorlei.

She has only just returned from competing in the South African Women’s Inter-Provincial, where she helped Western Province to a runner-up finish at the Riviera on Vaal Country Club, and will not be participating in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf in Stellenbosch.

But while practising at Stellenbosch Golf Club, she was keenly aware of the opportunity the Vodacom Origins of Golf series gives her generation of golfers.

The five-tournament Vodacom Origins of Golf series has thrown its considerable support by South African women’s golf by inviting Sunshine Tour Ladies professionals to participate in each of the 36-hole pro-ams on the series.

These golfers have the double incentive of competing with their pro-am team for the betterball prize money on offer, as well as in their own internal competition with exclusive prize money for them.

And most importantly, it gives them competitive playing time before the Sunshine Ladies Tour resumes in January.

“It’s great and I would have loved to play in this series. I’ve just played my last amateur tournament, so my plans are now to practice as much as I can and then start my pro career on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in January.”

Gorlei recently made an attempt at an LPGA Tour card. She made it through the first cut in the First Stage of the Qualifying School, but then shot 79 in the final round to miss progressing to the Second Stage.

“I was the only South African to make the first cut. My game is in good shape and I know if I try again I’ll make it. In my time in America I learnt a lot about playing other tours. I learnt to trust the belief other people have in me. Once I was over there and started doing well, I kind of surprised myself. It boosted my confidence a lot. I learnt that if you just put in the hard work, I’ll definitely make it.

“My coach at the University of Arkansas, Shauna Taylor, played a lot on Tour and she has been telling me to just believe in myself and I will win out there. On the college golf scene you play against the top amateurs in the world on some of the top courses in the world. You have the best coaches and facilities, and you just learn so much. I feel if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t be so confident to go onto the Tour right now.”

Written by Michael Vlismas; edits Sunshine Ladies Tour.