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16th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dagar drives to victory in Investec SA Women’s Open

16 March 2019 – Inspired by a magical chip-in on the 16th hole, Indian rookie Diksha Dagar claimed victory in the Investec South African Women’s Open, celebrating a maiden Ladies European Tour win in just her fourth professional start at Westlake Golf Club on Saturday.

The 18-year-old left-hander from New Delhi tapped in for par at the final hole for a three-under-par 69 to edge out former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace by a stroke.

Fellow Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie Esther Henseleit of Germany and Scotland’s Michele Thomson shared third on three-under, with Lydia Hall from Wales and Scotland’s Carly Booth a further shot back in joint fifth.

For most of the final round, the tournament was Pace’s to lose as the nine-time LET champion looked in complete control in front of a vocal home crowd.

She held a three-stroke lead through 12 holes, but a surprise bogey on the par-five 13th cut her advantage to two shots. Dagar, who fired her first birdie at the par-four eighth, made her second at the short 15th to pull within a shot of Pace.

The Indian teenager’s approach at the par-five 16th landed just short of the green, but a precision chip dropped in the hole for a share of the lead.

She headed down 18 with a one stroke lead after Pace let another one slip at 17.

“I just went out today trying to play my normal game,” said the hearing impaired Dagar, who plays with a cochlear implant that helps her to hear at close-to-normal levels.

“I really didn’t expect to win, but it happened and I am very happy. I got two lucky breaks towards the end, with a long birdie putt on 15 and then the chip-in on 16. Normally I would just try to chip it close and make the par putt, but this time I had a feeling I could do it and it went in.”

Coming off a tie for fifth in last week’s Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia, Dagar got her tournament off to a nervous start with two double bogeys in the first three holes and signed for an opening round of four-over-par 76.

A flawless second round 66 propelled her into the leading group and a second consecutive bogey-free round was enough for the former World Deaf Championship winner and a silver medallist in the 2017 Summer Deaflympics to claim her breakthrough.

Victory came with a massive boost to fourth in the LET Order of Merit and the top spot in the LET Rookie of Year Race, but the teenager is keeping her feet on the ground for now. “My goal for the rest of the season is to just stay focused and take each tournament as it comes,” she said.

Investec South African Women’s Open champion Diksha Dagar from India and leading amateur Kajal Mistry with Cheryl Leicher: Head of Marketing Investec Property and Councillor Mzwahhke Nqavashe from City of Cape Town; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Cheryl Leicher: Head of Marketing Investec Property, was thrilled to see the young starlet rise to the occasion.

“Congratulations to Diksha on claiming this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open title,” said Leicher. “For the last five years, Investec Property has proudly supported women’s golf, through the sponsorship of this LET co-sanctioned tournament, our individual sponsorships and our support of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. These powerful partnerships allow us to grow the sport of golf for women in South Africa.”

While bitterly disappointed, Pace was gracious in defeat. “Diksha played great and didn’t make a mistake the whole day,” she said.

“I knew that I had to make birdies to win and unfortunately I left one short at 16 and then missed a par putt at 17. I’m not too disappointed because I played great golf, but I made two mistakes and they cost me the tournament.”

Despite it being her best finish in her short professional career, Henseleit was left mixed emotions after a bogey at the last dropped her to third.

“At the moment I’m a bit disappointed,” she lamented. “I needed a birdie at the last and I made bogey, so that was frustrating. In time I will look back and be quite happy about finishing third. I hit so many good iron shots but the putts just didn’t drop today. It wasn’t my day.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as amateur winner – marking the fifth successive time that the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member won the leading amateur honours on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season.

The 18-year-old Randpark golfer carded rounds of 73, 76 and 74. A joint 30th finish lifted Mistry to second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

SOCIAL MEDIA INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN’S OPEN
TWITTER – @SAWomensOpen
FACEBOOK – @sawomensopen
INSTAGRAM – @sawomensopen
HASHTAG – #InvestecSAWomensOpen

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #SunshineLadiesTour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

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


15th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Rookies in pursuit of Pace at Westlake

15 March 2019 – Former champion Lee-Anne Pace took control of the Investec South African Women’s Open on Friday and opened up a two-shot lead on the chasing pack at Westlake Golf Club on Friday.

The nine-time Ladies European Tour winner mixed five birdies with a solitary bogey for a four-under-par 68 and she will start the final round in familiar territory, having previously lifted the SA Open title in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Playing alongside Pace in the final group on Saturday will be two fearless rookies, both of whom navigated the tight, tree-lined layout with flawless performances.

Indian left-hander Diksha Dagar took route 66 to move into second on two-under with a low round of the tournament and Esther Henseleit, whose five-under 67 lifted the German to third on her own on one-under.

Pace set herself a second round goal of four-under after an even-par 72 in the windy conditions on the first day. “I really wanted to be in contention, especially here in Cape Town where I have some family and friends watching,” said Pace. “I’m so pleased I was able to achieve it.”

After struggling in strong winds on day one, the morning starters arrived to sunny, wind still conditions, but Pace was one of only a handful of players to take advantage of early the scoring opportunities.

In what should serve as an ominous warning to her pursuers, the 11-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner feels that the hard work she had put in over the off-season has given her complete control of her game. “I’m shaping the ball nicely both ways and I’m feeling like I have a lot of control on my approach shots, which is key because some of these greens are quite small,” she explained.

“I didn’t miss many shots today. I left a few putts out there and didn’t take advantage of the par fives I hit in two, so there is still room for improvement.”

Indian rookie and former World Deaf Championship winner Diksha Dagar fired a tournament low six-under-par 66 in the second round to finish within two shots of leader Lee-Anne Pace in the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dagar was four-over after the first three holes in her opening round, but she settled quickly after the nervous start and signed for a 76. The 19-year-old former World Deaf Championship winner and 2017 Summer Deaflympics silver medallist showed none of the first round nerves as she went around the course in 66 strokes.

“I was on fire today,” said Dagar, who earned her Ladies European Tour card at Qualifying School last December and is making only her fifth start in the pro ranks in Cape Town.

“I only missed one green so I had a lot of birdie opportunities. I had trouble reading the greens in the first round, but I read them really well today. The grain slopes away from the mountain to the sea.

“I really attacked the flags and I hit almost every approach inside 15 feet. I’m happy that I was able to make some putts. It’s the first time that I’m playing in the leading group, so I am just going to shut out what the others are doing and play my own game.”

Rookie Esther Henseleit from Germany fired a five-under-par 67 at Westlake Golf Club to pull within three shots of Investec Investec South African Women’s Open leader Lee-Anne Pace in the second round; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Twenty-year-old Henseleit is another exciting young talent, who turned professional with an impressive handicap of plus seven.

The German racked up birdies on two, seven, eight, 13 and 16 to put herself in contention to claim her maiden Ladies European Tour title. “I’m really happy to be where I am,” beamed the former PING Junior Solheim Cup player. “It’s only my fourth start and I can’t wait to play in the final group. I’m going to go out there and have fun.”

Former Ladies European Tour winners Lydia Hall of Wales and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne of France sit a shot behind the German at level par, alongside England’s Charlotte Thompson.

Two-time Ladies European Tour champion Carly Booth and Meghan MacLaren, who defended her Women’s New South Wales Open title in Australia last week, are within five shots of Pace.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai is the next best-placed South African. The three-time winner carded a level-par 72 to finish at three-over, one shot ahead of compatriot Stacy Bregman, who returned a 74.

Meanwhile GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry was the only amateur to make the cut to 50 and ties, which fell at 10-over.

The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member is five over after rounds of 73 and 76. Mistry is the guaranteed winner of the Jackie Mercer Trophy for the leading amateur and she could overtake Lejan Lewthwaite for second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit if she finishes in the top 40 after the SA Women’s Masters champion missed the cut.

SOCIAL MEDIA INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN’S OPEN
TWITTER – @SAWomensOpen
FACEBOOK – @sawomensopen
INSTAGRAM – @sawomensopen
HASHTAG – #InvestecSAWomensOpen

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #SunshineLadiesTour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

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