Share on:
Print

16th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite goes wire-to-wire in Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

16 February 2020 – Lejan Lewthwaite slept on the lead for two straight nights and on Sunday she finished the job – winning the R600 000 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt by eight shots.

It was a second successive triumph for the Benoni golfer, who claimed a play-off victory against Tandi Cunningham in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Gary Player Country Club last week.

Lewthwaite opened the tournament with a stunning six-under-par 66 at George Golf Club and produced a four-under 68 on her second trip around the scenic Parklands layout to carry an eight-shot lead into final round at the Outeniqua Course.

She got off to a birdie start and briefly gave the chasing pack a glimmer of hope when she bogeyed five and nine.

Defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini reeled in a trio of birdies before the turn, but her challenge faded with a bogey at the par five 11th. Emie Peronin from France also gave chase, as did former winner Stacey Bregman, but it was all too little, too late.

The 28 year old Lewthwaite, who had been remarkably poised all week, did not let adversity upset her rhythm and she restored her lead with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11.

Having regained the momentum, the Serengeti member shut the door on her pursuers with further gains on 13 and 14 and came home with three solid pars for a one-over 73.

“I can’t describe how happy I am in this moment. For six days really, I played awesome golf; first at Sun City and then here in George. I am just so happy right now,” said Lewthwaite, cradling the trophy that comes with winner’s cheque worth R84 000.

No victory in professional golf comes easy, and wire-to-wire victories are perhaps even more difficult, as they require a player to deal with the inevitable thoughts of winning for days on end.

“I’d say I was pretty happy with my position after the first day, but I don’t allow myself to think too far ahead. I try very hard to stay in the moment as much as possible. I try to stick to my process and hit every shot where I plan to and make every putt count.

“I played another great round on the second day, and I thought to myself, ‘just continue with your strategy, your plan and the way you’re playing.’

“I did briefly wonder how it would feel if I won, and also what my strategy would be if the gap was reduced, but I always made sure I didn’t let my thoughts drift too far. It would be a fleeting thought, and then I’d be back in the zone.”

The victory cemented Lewthwaite’s number one spot in the Investec Order of Merit and she is another step closer to collecting the R100 000 bonus. She leads on 1 390 points and is nearly 500 points ahead of Dlamini.

Meanwhile Stacy Bregman carded 71 for a one-under total, making it a one-two finish for the Investec stable on one-under. Peronnin took third on level par and Dlamini had to settle for fourth on one-over after closing with 75.

Lewthwaite now travels to San Lameer Country Club with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where she will gun for a hat-trick of titles when she takes up her title defence in the Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters.

“There will be some celebrations tonight, but probably not too late,” said Lewthwaite, who will also be celebrating a runner-up finish with amateur partner Marj Davidson.

The pair posted rounds of 66, 68 and 68 for an impressive 14-under total, but Lewthwaite lost out on an additional R30 000 pay-day to Sharmila Nicollet. The Indian golfer and her partner Nicci Taylor fired a superb 64 at the Outeniqua Course to seal victory on 15-under.

SOCIAL MEDIA
HASHTAG – #DDProAm
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
OTHER – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere

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

 

 

 


15th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Former champs in pursuit at Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

15 February 2020 – No less than four former champions of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am hope to chase down a red-hot Lejan Lewthwaite, who opened up an eight-shot lead in the second round at George Golf Club on Saturday.

Just one week after she had to fight Tandi McCallum in extra time to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, Lewthwaite is on cruise-control in the R600 000 Sunshine Ladies Tour event.

The 28-year-old Serengeti golfer began day two with a four-shot advantage and moved clear of her competitors with a four-under 68.

Unlike the flawless production in the first round, Lewthwaite dropped three shots in her second trip around the traditional Parklands layout, but she countered every bogey with a pair of birdies and knocked in one more for comfort on the par five 16th.

“It was extremely hot out there today and I really struggled with the heat, especially when we had to wait on some holes. I duffed my tee shot on the ninth after a long delay and had a bogey, but managed to make a few putts coming home,” said Lewthwaite, who leads on 10-under 132.

Defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini finished a distant second, but she improved dramatically on her opening 74 with a six-under 68 to finish alone in second on two-under.

With the action moving to the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt – where the eSwatini golfer holed a 25-footer for birdie on the final hole to win last year – Lewthwaite is taking nothing for granted.

“If there is one thing you can’t control it’s what someone else is going to do,” said Lewthwaite. “Last year Nobby fired seven birdies to come from behind and win. She birdied the last two holes to beat me by two shots. So no, I’m not taking anything for granted. If Nobby gets her eye in early and the putter starts running hot, she will definitely come for me.”

And Dlamini is not the Investec-backed Lewthwaite’s only concern.

Granted, Monique Smit (2014), Stacy Bregman (2015) and Lee-Anne Pace (2016) are 10 shots off the pace in a tie for third with American Jordy LaBarbera, but the trio share 21 Sunshine Ladies Tour titles – with Pace taking her tally to 13 two weeks ago in the Cape Town Ladies Open.

“I don’t for a minute believe I’ve got this in the bag. A bogey here, a double bogey there and an eight-shot lead can evaporate quickly,” she said.

“I’m just going to stick to my process. It’s something my mental coach Mark Fairbanks and I work on all the time. Play shot for shot, focus on making the best score on every hole, try to limit the bogeys and hopefully it goes well enough that I’m standing with the trophy at the end of the day.”

Among the quartet tied for third on level par, Smit produced the best second round when she signed for one-under 71. Pace carded successive rounds of 72, LaBarbera from Texas returned a 73 and Bregman followed her opening two-under 70 with a 74.

Bertine Faber – the last player to score three successive victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2016 – carded 70 to tie Vodacom Origins of Golf winner Casandra Hall (72) on one-over 145.

Lewthwaite will also have the added pressure of trying to win the R100 000 Pro-Am, sponsored by Cisco Systems.

Lewthwaite and Marj Davidson posted 68 to set the clubhouse target on 10-under.

A 67 from LaBrera and Madelein de Wet made it two at the top until local favourite Smit and Jenny Church combined for a blistering 65 to force a three-way tie at the top. Dlamini and Franci Coetzee were also on fire, carded 65 to move within two shots of the leaders.

PRO-AM LEADERBOARD (final top 10)
134 Lewthwaite / Marj Davidson 66 68; LaBarbera / Madelein de Wet 67 67; Smit / Jenny Church 69 65
136 Dlamini / Franci Coetzee 69 65
137 Nicollet / Nicci Taylor 71 66; Pace / Sharon Leith 68 69; Taylor / Mimi Franklin 67 70
138 Bredenhann / Linda Smith 72 66; Fletcher / Jo Morley-Joseph 69 69; Faber / Sandy Hird 69 69

SOCIAL MEDIA
HASHTAG – #DDProAm
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
OTHER – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere

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


14th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite off to a flier in Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

14 February 2020 – Lejan Lewthwaite is bidding to become the first player in four years to win back-to-back Sunshine Ladies Tour titles after firing a leading six-under-par 66 on day one of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in George.

The Serengeti golfer, who won the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at Sun City last week, has the chance to match Lee-Anne Pace and Bertine Faber, who recorded the last successive victories in 2016.

Lewthwaite signed for a flawless 66 at the George Golf Club to take pole position in the R600 000 event and grabbed a share of the lead in the R100 000 Ladies Pro-Am, backed by Cisco Systems, with amateur partner Marj Davidson.

The dynamic duo set the early target on six-under in the Betterball competition, which was match Hartebeespoort’s Lindi Coetzee and amateur Missy Hughes.

“We had such a great time out there, even when we both struggled at times and the putts just didn’t want to drop,” said Lewthwaite. “I really enjoy this format. We are both out there trying to put the best score together that we can, that you can manage, but there is a lot of banter and high fives and laughter, so you tend to stay pretty relaxed. It’s very different to competing in a straight stroke play event and it makes for a really nice change of pace.”

Lewthwaite leads by four from former champion Stacy Bregman, who carded four birdies and two bogeys in an up and down round 70.

American Jordy LaBarbera, former SA Women’s Masters champion Maria Beautell from Spain and Coetzee finished a further stroke adrift, while Cape Town Ladies Open champion Lee-Anne Pace and young gun Kelsey Nicholas share sixth on level par.

LaBarbera from Texas and Madelein de Wet tied for third on five-under with Lauren Taylor from England and amateur Mimi Franklin.

Rookie Tara Griebenow and Joanne Shields posted four-under late in the afternoon to force a three-way tie for fifth with Pace and Sharon Lee and India’s Sharmilla Nicollet and her partner Nicci Taylor.

Lewthwaite got off to a birdie start on the par four 10th and picked up her second gain on the short 15th to turn two-under. It was on inward loop where the magic started to happen.

“To be honest, I really wasn’t hitting the ball well over the first 12 holes or so, but everything just kind of clicked into gear on the back nine,” said the Investec-backed golfer, who followed a birdie at the par five second with three more on the bounce from the sixth.

“I just holed a lot of putts today and that kept the momentum going. I missed a few fairways, but the short game was spot on. All my birdie putts were in the 15 to 20 foot range and all my chips landed within three to four feet.”

Lewthwaite entered the winners’ circle for the first time after beating amateur Kajal Mistry in a one-hole play-off at the South African Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club last year. And it took another extra hole to win at the Gary Player Country Club after she tied former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi McCallum for the lead in regulation play.

Retaining her Ladies European Tour card for the 2020 season, winning at Sun City and signing a sponsorship deal with TaylorMade South Africa has Lewthwaite oozing with confidence.

“It’s been an incredible start to the season and I am very careful not to let the stuff off the course influence me on the course. It’s easy to get caught up and lose focus, so I am sticking to the basics so I can hit the shots I need to hit.”

Lewthwaite said the Dimension Data Pro-Am and the Investec South African Women’s Open has been on her mind since the season launched in Cape Town a fortnight ago.

“I lost by two shots to Nobuhle (Dlamini) last year, so you can bet your bottom dollar that I want to hit a winning putt at the Outeniqua Course on Sunday,” she said. “The Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am is one of the most popular events on the circuit. We play for big money and winning would give me a huge leg-up in the Investec Order of Merit.

“My game is also taking shape and building the kind of form I want to take to Westlake and then on to the Ladies European Tour. I’m in a good head-space right now and I just want to keep on improving.”

SOCIAL MEDIA
HASHTAG – #DDProAm
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
OTHER – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere

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