Share on:
Print

6th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Young guns ready to raise the bar on the Sunshine Ladies Tour

CAPE TOWN, 6 April 2021 – Alice Hewson’s winning putt in last year’s Investec South African Women’s Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour summed it all up.

The 23-year-old English professional represented the emerging breed of young golfers primed to become a dominant force in the game for many years to come.

Casandra Hall – one of eight South Africans campaigning on the Ladies European Tour (LET), says Hewson’s winning performance at Westlake definitely inspired the country’s young talents to raise their game.

“Alice won the 2019 English Ladies Amateur, turned pro and won on debut here in South Africa. We definitely got the message that if you work hard and you make the most of the opportunities that come your way, the world can be your oyster.

“It may take some of us a little longer, but it was inspiring to watch someone our age defy the odds. She beat some seriously seasoned players at Westlake a lot of younger golfers like myself were motivated to level up this year.”

Hall finished her rookie season in 2019 in sixth spot on the Investec Order of Merit and her second season was equally solid.

A few months after a top 25 finish at Westlake, the Glendower golfer took a page out of Hewson’s book. The new kid on the block held off LET campaigners Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit, Stacy Bregman, Nobuhle Dlamini and Lejan Lewthwaite for her maiden success in the Investec Royal Swazi Open at Sun City.

“Although I won twice on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series, we had spent so many months waiting out the lockdown, so to beat Sunshine Ladies Tour winners with my game still a bit rusty was the greatest feeling ever. It was great to tick that box,” said the 21-year-old Glendower golfer.

“It was frustrating to sit with a new LET card and not being able to travel to Europe, but 2020 was still a great year for me. I had the win at Sun City and I was the first woman to play on the Virtual Sunshine Tour series. In November I made the field for the Saudi Ladies International and although I didn’t do well in the individual competition, I did hole the winning putt for the International Team in the Team Competition and I flew home after a pretty decent pay-day.

“I am so excited to step it up another gear this season and win one of the six tournaments, if not two. I’d really like to win the Investec SA Women’s Open. It’s the one title we all want, but it also comes with some incredible perks, like the LET exemption. The prize money is huge and, as a South African, you’d also bank the R100 000 Investec Homegrown Award. That would go a long way in setting me up for Europe this season.”

Hall will start her title chase in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club on Wednesday, but she expects some tough competition.

“Besides all the seasoned pros, you have the likes of Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Brittney Fay-Berger, who will all looking for a fast start,” said Hall.

“Ivanna was one of our best amateurs and she made a great start in the pro ranks, but then she suffered a back injury and a battle with cancer. She fought really hard to come back and she will be so eager to push the reset button.

“The others had all just started their pro careers when the pandemic struck so they will be just as keen to get out of the blocks fast. It’s going to get interesting this week.”

Randpark’s Myeki is also ready to push the reset button, especially after losing her brother to the corona virus just before New Year.

“The vibe this morning at Royal Cape during the practice round was electric. You could literally feel the excitement in the air. We are all amped to get the season going and I think this year we will see a lot of players’ answer the Sunshine Ladies Tour to level up,” she said.

“I am personally really excited about this season. I had to put my plans for Europe on ice, so I am going all out. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to soak up experience and I want to win.”

Myeki, who represented South Africa on the international stage seven times, was thrilled to see a 17-strong amateur field led by reigning SA Women’s Amateur and GolfRSA No.1 Caitlyn Macnab tee it up in the season-opener.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour is the best platform for these girls to test themselves and get a realistic look at where their games are, and of course, to gain experience. We lost so many great amateurs because there wasn’t a professional circuit around to transition from amateur golf up to 2014. I was so fortunate that I could play the circuit as an amateur to prepare me for the next level and I hope they also embrace this opportunity with both hands,” Myeki said.

SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Hashtags: #LevelUp #SunshineLadiesTour

Facebook – @sunshineladiestour
Twitter – @SLadiesTour
Instagram – @sunshineladiestour
YouTube – Sunshine Ladies Tour


5th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bregman, Hall give chase at Jabra Ladies Classic

5 March 2020 – Ashleigh Buhai signed for a three-under 69 to retain the lead on Thursday, but Stacy Bregman and local fan favourite Casandra Hall are hot on her heels with 18 holes to play in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.

Buhai could not quite hit the heights of a blistering 63 on day one, but another flawless trip around the championship layout kept her at the summit. She will start the final round on 12-under-par 132, four shots clear of Bregman, who returned a bogey-free 68.

Hall – the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most recent Ladies European Tour graduate – hauled herself into the chasing pack with a joint best of the day 66 to finish four shots adrift on eight-under.

Scotland’s Jane Turner, who visited the winner’s circle just two weeks ago at San Lameer, reeled in a trio of birdies over the last six holes for a 69 to move to fourth on four-under.

Kelsey Nicholas, who rallied after a nervous bogey-bogey start to keep pace with playing partners Buhai and Bregman, signed for 73 to finish alone in fifth on three-under, while last week’s Joburg Ladies Open winner Monique Smit is tied for sixth on two-under alongside 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner Nobuhle Dlamini from eSwatini, India’s Sharmila Nicollet and Rachel Rossel from Switzerland, who shared the low-round honours with Hall.

Ashleigh Buhai leads the 2020 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club on 12-under after rounds of 63 & 69. Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai had a great start to the season with a fine top 13 finish in Australia before she was forced to return home when the LPGA Tour cancelled events in Thailand and Singapore due to health concerns about the Covid-19 virus.

She was pleased with her form over the first two days and looking forward to the final round battle.

“If it was offered, I would have taken 12-under before I teed off. I had a number in mind; I thought if I shot three rounds of four-under, I’d have a good chance to win,” the 30-year-old Buhai said. “I’m already at 12-under, but I’ll have to keep my foot on the gas in the final round. Stacy played really well and I saw that Cas also had a great second round. Stace and I grew up playing this course and its Casandra’s home course, so the local course knowledge is definitely coming into play.

“It helps that I know where the ball is going and stayed patient, because I didn’t have to chase. The pins were a little more tucked today and I didn’t hit it as close, so you play to the big spaces and work it into the flag. If you don’t, at least you still have a putt.”

Bregman was chuffed with the result of her careful course management.

“I think nine-under is a great score. Glendower is a tough test; it’s a true test golf. You have to hit fairways and you have to put yourself on the right side of the flag to score well and I’ve done that well for the last two days,” said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer.

“It’s been a while since I struck it this good and it’s coming at the right time of the season. A win this week gets you into the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the qualifier for the Evian Championship. Next week, we have the Investec SA Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour (LET). I want to perform well at Westlake and take that form to our next LET event in Saudi.

“My wedge-play has been really good and I’m holing a lot more putts. The greens here are really good and fast and if you read it good and hold you lines, you can get it going. This course has its challenges, but it’s also fair, because there is always a side to miss it. I worked really hard in the off-season with my new coach and it’s so good to see it all come to fruition here in the Jabra Ladies Classic. I’ll need to shoot four- to five-under to beat Ash, because she is just playing fantastic golf at the moment, but I’m really happy with the direction my game is moving.”

Casandra Hall is four off the pace after a sizzling 66 on day 2 of the 2020 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Hall attributed her sizzling 66 to a strong iron-game.

“I saw my coach Robbie Stewart after I got back from the LET Q-School in Spain and we worked on my game up,“ she said. “I hit a few bad drives, but I missed it in the rights spots. I didn’t sink many amazing birdie putts, but I hit my irons unbelievably well, I was throwing darts at the pins all day.

“After all the rain the course, and the greens, are a lot softer than last week. It’s a big change and that has really helped me to attack the flags. But I also love the course. It’s my home course and it sets up nicely for me, especially the faster greens, which I love.”

The course also suited South African Longest Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt, who fired three birdies and eagled the tough par five 13th for a flawless five-under 67 that catapulted the Pretoria golfer from joint 37th to a tie for 10th.

“I drove the ball incredibly well and I hit every fairway. My wedge-play was good, too and I only missed two greens all day. I needed a low round to make the cut, and now I just have to do it all over again tomorrow so I can play myself into the field for the Investec SA Women’s Open.”

SOCIAL MEDIA JABRA LADIES CLASSIC
TWITTER – @We_are_Jabra
FACEBOOK – @Jabra
INSTAGRAM – @Jabra
HASHTAGS – #jabraladiesclassic #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour

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


25th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Soweto Country Club in top condition for Joburg Ladies Open

25 February 2020 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners were full of praise for the Soweto Country Club green-keeping staff ahead of Wednesday’s first round of the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open.

Seeing the course for the first time, three-time champion Nicole Garcia was positively gushing about the greens.

“I didn’t play last year because I was still on the bench after my hip surgery. The girls told me that the greens were incredibly firm, and the fairways were still patchy but I saw none of that today,” said the Ebotse golfer – the most recent trophy recipient after a double victory in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on Sunday.

“I was so pleasantly surprised. The course is a great test like every other Gary Player design and the greens are beautiful. The green-staff must have worked incredibly hard in the last 12 months. You can go for a lot of the pins this year, and we will see a lot more birdies. Everyone that played last year can’t stop gushing. The staff can be so proud of what they have achieved in just a short year.”

Three-time winner Monique Smit echoed Garcia’s sentiments.

“It was amazing to see the difference,” exclaimed the Oubaai golfer. “I told my caddie – the same one I had this year – walking to the first tee that we will have to plan for the firm greens, but they have settled so incredibly well. The greens are receptive and the fairways have grown in nicely. It was super-fun playing the pro-am, and watching our seeing our partners making birdies.

“This is probably one of the tightest courses we play all season, and you are going to have to keep it in play and stay out of the trees if you want to go low. Keep finding the greens. Keep it simple.”

Former South African Open champion Tandi McCallum and rookie Casandra Hall chased champion Nobuhle Dlamini all the way to the finish line last year and both players will be gunning for success.

McCallum, second last year, already wore the bridesmaid tag twice this season.

The Parkview golfer lost the SuperSport Ladies Challenge to Lejan Lewthwaite in a play-off and, this time partnering Lethwaite, they were beaten by Garcia and Scottish golfer Gabrielle Macdonald in a four-hole play-off in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge Pro-Am.

Although she was peppering the flags in the final round at Serengeti, McCallum’s putter wouldn’t cooperate. “I had two chances in the play-off to win it with birdies, and the putts died on me. I spent some quality time with the flat-stick on Monday and I’m ready to fire. I’m driving the ball really well, so I’m confident that I can keep it play. And the girls are raving about how the greens have matured, so hopefully it’s third time lucky for me.”

Hall returned from Spain in January with a brand-new Ladies European Tour card in her pocket.

She is still chasing a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title and this week and the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic next week at her home course, possibly represents her best two chances. Third in last year’s event, the Glendower pro is keen to rekindle her love affair with Soweto Country Club.

“A lot of people didn’t like the course last year, but I loved it from the word go and it’s even better this year. I love the layout; it suits my game. The pressure will probably be a bit more this year with so many international players in the field, but competing on the Vodacom Origins series last year helped me settle into the pro environment. I survived the LET Q-School, so I’m ready to fight.”

If she can channel some positive energy, hit it straight and roll in some putts, Hall could very well be crowned the sixth Joburg Ladies Open champions on Friday.

SOCIAL MEDIA – TOURNAMENT
Hashtag – #joburgladiesopen
TWITTER – @CityofJoburgZA
FACEBOOK – @CityofJoburg
INSTAGRAM – @cityofjoburg

SOCIAL MEDIA – SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
Hashtags – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour

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


16th October 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini dominates in wind to lead at Selborne

SELBORNE, 15 October 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini lined up her fourth victory this season when she tamed the wind to take the lead in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at Selborne Golf Estate, Spa and Hotel on Tuesday.

Teeing off in a three-to-four club wind that raced around the championship layout on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the big-hitting Swazi golfer was in imperious form.

Dlamini fired six birdies, including three over the four closing holes, to offset a double bogey at the par five third and further drops on six and 17 and a two-under-par 70 propelled the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner straight to the top of the leaderboard.

The 36-hole women’s event is played concurrently with the Vodacom Origins of Golf Pro-Am and serves as the curtain-raiser for Sunshine Tour’s main tournament.

Dlamini leads by three shots from Sunshine Ladies Tour regular Lauren Taylor and is five shots clear of reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite.

Taylor got off to a birdie start and eagled the third. The English golfer three-under after 10 holes, but she gave shots back to the field with successive bogeys on 12 and 13 and dropped a further three shots after a final birdie on the par four 14th to post  a one-over 73.

Lewthwaite overcame a bogey-bogey start with birdies on three and nine and made two more on the bounce after the turn to dip two-under, but her good work was undone with double bogeys on 14 and 15 and a third bogey on 16 will see the Serengeti golfer start the final round on three-over.

Jane Turner withstood the wind for three days at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club to win the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, but the Scottish golfer also had trouble navigating the strong winds on Tuesday and carded four-under 76 to finish fourth.

Serengeti’s Casandra Hall – already a two-time winner in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series – posted 82 and fellow rookie Brittney-Fay Berger from Kloof Country Club signed for 83.

More wind is forecast for today’s final round, but a later start could see the chasing pack go low enough to catch Dlamini.

Written and released by Lali Stander.