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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


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

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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.”

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

 


5th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini gunning for City of Cape Town success

5 March 2019 – The City of Cape Town will host two world-class Sunshine Ladies Tour events in the next fortnight. Starting on Wednesday, the Cape Town Ladies Open will set the stage for next week’s Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

The fifth Cape Town Ladies Open has drawn a field of 67 players, with a 40-strong international contingent competing in the curtain-raiser at Royal Cape Golf Club ahead of the R2-million Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece from 14-16 March at Westlake Golf Club.

The foreign campaigners have already enjoyed a fortuitous summer, coming up trumps in three of the first five events.

Flora Peuch and Marion Duvernay from France celebrated victory in the inaugural Serengeti Team Championship in February, while Jane Turner from Scotland went wire-to-wire at the Wild Coast Sun last week to capture the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International.

Well-known Nobuhle Dlamini pushed her winning tally on the local circuit to three trophies in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt three weeks ago.

Coming off a runner-up finish at the Wild Coast, Dlamini has banked 1 257 points this season and the big-hitting Swazi golfer holds the top spot in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

With her closest pursuers at Royal Cape this week Kim Williams and Ivanna Samu – respectively ranked third and fourth on 586 and 529 points – Dlamini is determined to open up an unsurmountable lead in the rankings before the circuit moves to Westlake.

“There are a lot of ranking points on offer next week, so I have to try to win it this week to increase my lead,” said the 27-year-old. “I was pipped at the post last year by Stacy Bregman. I definitely don’t want that to happen again.

“I think the field is wide open this year. Lee-Anne (Pace) is always a worry. She hasn’t played on the Sunshine Ladies Tour since the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, so she will be keen to get some points in the Order of Merit race.

“She won in 2016 and she’s defending. With the Investec South African Women’s Open next week, she is going to gun for the winner’s circle again. If she gets it going early on, she’ll be very tough to catch.

“But there are a few more players to worry about. Kim Williams has been in great form this season and Ivanna Samu could definitely pose a threat, because she has a great record at Royal Cape.

“The two Scottish rookies Gabrielle MacDonald and Hannah McCook did really well over the last two weeks in KwaZulu-Natal and Jane was in a class of her own last week.

“Jessica Dreesbeimdieke from Namibia and Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands have also been impressive so far this season. And Carrie Park is back. She’s a three-time winner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and she’s been playing the Ladies PGA Tour in Korea, where she’s also won.

“There are also a number of new players this week who have arrived early to warm up for the Investec SA Women’s Open. We don’t know much about them, so they could deliver a big surprise this week.”
Dlamini is confident, though, that she can protect her number one spot in the rankings.

“I’ve come to Cape Town this year in a very different mind-set,” she said. “I’ve always had a great game, but I didn’t have the self-belief that you need to compete at the highest level. Mentally I am stronger that I’ve ever been.

“I’ve had a mixed bag of results here in the past, but I believe I’ll do well. I trust my game. I trust my ability to grind and scramble to turn a bad round around. And I believe I can win. When you take mental strength and self-belief on to the golf course, you control the way you play.”

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CAPE TOWN LADIES OPEN
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.


17th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick delight for Dlamini

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Nobuhle Dlamini during day 4 of the 2019 Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt on February 17, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

17 February 2019 – She had the line. She had the pace. And she nailed the distance.

On a tense and dramatic Sunday at Fancourt, Nobuhle Dlamini drained a 32 foot uphill birdie putt at the final hole of the Outeniqua Course to seal a Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick with a two-shot victory in the Dimension Data Challenge.

Just a few minutes earlier, the big-hitting Swazi golfer tapped in for well-timed four at the par five 17th to take a one-shot lead. The birdie-birdie finish for a five-under-par 67 earned Dlamini a R70 000 pay-day on a winning total of two-under 214.

“I had to really stop myself from running around on the green when that last putt dropped,” said the delighted Dlamini, who banked an additional R30K for partnering amateur Francis Tremearne to victory in the Betterball Team Competition.

“I was so excited, but Brittney (Fay-Berger) still had to putt. I played the 17th hole exactly as I planned and I wanted to get the birdie at 18 to have a bit of a cushion. Britt and I both hit good tee shots up the 18th fairway, but her approach took a huge bounce off the back.

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Nobuhle Dlamini during day 3 of the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at George Golf Club on February 17, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

“You don’t want to hit it past the flag and leave yourself a slippery and fast downhill putt, so I told my caddie I’m going to hit it seven foot short. It came up a lot shorter, but it was the right call. I had a one-shot lead. At worst, I’d be in a play-off. The moment I stroked the ball it looked good.”

Dlamini posted rounds of 76 and 71 over the first two days at George Golf Club and was four shots behind joint leaders Monique Smit and Bertine Faber when the action moved to Fancourt.

Smit gave the local crowd reason to cheer with a birdie start, Faber matched her birdie with one of her own at the second and Dlamini kept pace with her first birdie at the second.

While Smit and Faber slowly faded out of contention, Kim Williams made a run for the lead with birdies at two, seven and 10. The three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner led the field on three-under for most of the day, but Dlamini put the field Williams on notice with a run of birdies from seven.

“I just holed a bunch of really good putts,” said the 27-year-old Dlamini

“I missed very few fairways and I hit my irons and wedges really good. I bogeyed 11 but I birdied 14 to stay within two shots of Kim. As I walked to the 17th tee, I saw Kim was in trouble and I figured she might drop a shot at shot.

“I hit three-wood down the middle, but I just missed the green with my approach. I chipped it give, though and that gave me a one shot lead after Kim made a double at 16.”

Dlamini had a short, but tense wait to know for certain. “Ivanna (Samu) or Lejan (Lethwaite) were level par and if one of them made an eagle, it would be a play-off,” Dlamini said. “It was a bit tense, because everyone was coming to congratulate me, but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.

I never count my chickens before they hatch. Only after they finished on level-par, I let that winning feeling flow over me.”

Dlamini battled with a knee injury at the start of the sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour season and posted an unmemorable top 20 finish in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, but the form that took her to winner’s circle twice last year showed up during Serengeti Team Championship.

“I saw a physiotherapist after Irene and I was back to full strength and was striking the ball really well at Serengeti. I felt I was playing well enough to win, and after the three birdies on the front, I knew I could win if I kept patient and stuck to the game plan.

“This is one of my absolutely favourite events and I look forward coming to Fancourt every year. I am extremely proud to join the list of Dimension Data winners. I only got into the one Ladies European Tour event and I decided to stay in South Africa. Next week I’m going trophy hunting in the SA Women’s Masters and I can’t wait to defend my SuperSport Ladies Challenge title the Wild Coast in two weeks.”

Samu and Lewthwaite both closed with rounds of 69 to tie for second.

Williams carded a 73 with a double bogey finish and tied for fourth on two-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad amateur Kajal Mistry, who also registered a 73.

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SOCIAL MEDIA DIMENSION DATA LADIES CHALLENGE
TWITTER – @DiDataMEA
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TWITTER – @AON_SouthAfrica
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HASHTAG – #AonSA

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


16th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Smit, Faber deadlocked in George

15 February 2019 – Home hero Monique Smit finished with a flourish on day two of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge to join compatriot Bertine Faber in a two-way tie for the lead in George on Saturday.

To the delight of the local crowd, the Oubaai golfer birdied the last two holes for a four-under-par 68 that handed her the clubhouse lead on one-under 143.

Faber (nee Strauss) returned a two-under 70 to join Smit at the top of a congested leaderboard, with rookies Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands and Scotswoman Gabrielle MacDonald leading the chasing pack.

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 15: Monique Smit during day 1 of the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at George Golf Club on February 15, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Thinus Maritz/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Smit won the first edition of the popular event in the Garden Route in 2014 for the first of her three Sunshine Ladies Tour titles. Looking to end the two-year title drought, she opened her account at George Golf Club with a 75 to start the second four off the pace.

“I was frustrated on the greens, but I came out hot this morning,” said Smit. “I birdied two and eight, and I was level through 16. The birdies at 17 came as a surprise. I didn’t hit a great tee shot and I had to hit a 7-iron in. I had a 20 foot putt, but as soon as I saw the line, I knew I’d nail it.

“I hit the best drive of the day at 18, picked a target and stuck an 8-iron 10-feet pin high. Today was all about picking targets and committing to the shots.”

Smit had to quit the Sunshine Ladies Tour after the George event last year to emergency surgery on her knee. She was apprehensive at the start, but got the rust off quickly with a top 20 finish in the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

“I didn’t play competitive golf for 12 months, but I played half-decent at Irene and the Serengeti Team Championship definitely helped restore my confidence. I am travelling with Clara Pietri from Switzerland and we teamed up for Serengeti. She reassured me that my body knows what to do; I just needed to make a mental commitment and I did that well today.

“It’s great to be in contention again. I am looking forward to the Outeniqua Course in the final round and playing with Bertine. It’s been a while for both of us, so it should be a really good battle.”

It’s been three years since Faber launched her rookie season with a Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick.

After a first round 73, the Koster golfer stumbled out of the blocks with a double bogey at the first, but bounced back with birdies at two and six and reeled in two more at 10 and 16.

Bertine Faber hopes to break a three-year winning drought after surging into a two-way tie for the lead in round two of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge at George Golf Club on Saturday; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour / Thinus Maritz.

“Ironically, I watched a bit of the Genesis Open last night. Justin Thomas started with a double and when I checked the scores this morning, he was leading. It’s not the end of the world. I just stayed patient, made a few birdies and kept the bogeys off the card for the rest of the round. I made a really good par-save at 13 and it is that kind of moment that keeps the round going, more so than making a birdie.”

Strauss has some major swing problems in the last two years, and the Investec Property golfer is eager to get back in the winner’s circle.

“I’ve been in a couple of dark places in the last two years and it’s very exciting to be in with a chance this week. It’s been a while, but it’s not a new thing for me, so I’ll draw on past experience and I’ve luckily got my husband (Wian) on the bag. He was carrying for me with my first three wins, so hopefully he will be my lucky charm.”

Coffa was one-under with the last hole to come, but her approach shot pitched on the green and rolled off the back. “I had a tough chip and I couldn’t make the up-and-down, but I’m really happy to be in the top four,” she said after signing for a 70.

“It’s only my third start as a pro and it’s great to have a chance to play for my first win. I love the Outeniqua Course. It’s a lot more open and not so heavily tree-lined as here at George Golf Club, so you can get away with a less than perfect drive. I can’t wait.”

Macdonald was five under for the round after a trio of birdies at 13, 14 and 16, but gave a shot back to the field when she missed the green at the par-three 17th. “This is my first pro event and I’m over the moon to be in contention,” said the Craigielaw golfer, who tied Smit for the low round of the day.

“I played really well today and I made a lot of putts. I left a couple short for birdies coming up to 13, so it was nice to roll that one in and get the momentum going. I’m excited for the final round and hopefully I can keep the putter warm overnight.”

Joint overnight leader Kajal Mistry returned a battling 74 to tie for fifth on one-over with England’s Lauren Taylor and three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams. Frenchwoman Marion Duvernay, who shared the first round lead on one-under, finished at four-over after a 77.

Crizelda van Niekerk and Ash Pagden lead the Betterball Medal Pro-Am on nine-under after rounds of 66 and 69. Smit and four-time winner Larina King moved within two shots after a second round 66, with a further five teams also tied on seven under.ds

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AON SOUTH AFRICA
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HASHTAG – #AonSA

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


15th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bold move lands Mistry share of Dimension Data lead

Former GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kajal Mistry from Randpark birdied the final hole at George Golf Club to grab a share of the first round lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour / Thinus Maritz.

15 February 2019 – Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry stole the headlines on Friday after she birdied the closing hole at George Golf Club to tie Marion Duvernay from France for the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge lead on Friday.

Recent Serengeti Team Championship winner Duvernay’s sub-par 71 went uncontested for most of the opening round, triggering hopes of a French double on South African soil. But the 18-year-old Mistry – playing in the final group – hit two great shots at the final hole and boxed a five-foot putt to force her way to the top of the leaderboard.

“I took driver off the tee and left myself 131 metres to the pin middle back,” said the former GolfRSA Elite Squad member who cancelled bogeys at seven and eight with birdies at nine and 13.

“I don’t how it happens, but somehow is always above your feet at this golf course. I had to take that in account and, coming from altitude in Johannesburg, I had do recalculate the distance. I played it about 140-ish and I wanted to leave myself with an uphill putt, so I hit a full 8-iron in. It landed pin-high left and as soon as I saw the line, I knew I could sink it.”

South Africa’s former number one amateur matriculated from Crawford College Lonehill last year and is heading to the University of Arkansas on a golf scholarship in August.

“Golf had to take a back seat last year, so it’s great to be out here, competing again,” said the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member. “I got the rust off with a top 20 in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open and I played nice, steady golf today. I hit 10 fairways and 13 greens today, but I was never in any real trouble. No bushes and no lost balls, just a steady round. I have to admit it’s great to be in the hunt again.”

Marion Duvernay from France shares the first round lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge; credit Tyrone Winfield

By contrast, the French golfer handed in a rather colourful card that featured six birdies.

“I made some great birdies over the first nine holes, and had only the one bogey, but I had a bit of a bogey run coming back,” said Duvernay, who turned three-under.

“I dropped 12 and 13, finally birdied a par five (14) and made a double at 15. I missed the green and had to chip from thick rough, but I only moved the ball a metre with my first chip. I gave the second one a good whack and two-putted. I was very happy with the birdie at 17 to get back in red numbers.”

Duvernay showed her mettle in team events when she partnered compatriot Flora Peuch to victory at Serengeti Estates last week. The Evian Resort golfer dovetailed to perfection with amateur Joanne Govender for a six-under-66 that netted the pair a share the lead in the Betterball competition.

“When I hit the bogey train, Joanne really pulled us through,” said Duvernay. “She made three birdies in a row from 12 to keep the momentum going. And we had a lot of laughs. It’s such a fun format.”

Niinja Liias from Finland finished level-par to tuck in just behind the leading pair, avoiding the crush at one over par.

Lejan Lewthwaite and Bertine Faber both carded rounds of 73 to lead the local challenge and were joined by French pair Emilie Piquot and Anne-Lise Caudal, English campaigner Rachael Goodall and rookie Sophie Lamb, also from England.

South Africa’s Ivanna Samu and Brittney-Fay Berger completed the top 10 on two over alongside Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands.

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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.ng or copying it.


6th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

French Flair seals success at Serengeti Teams

6 February 2019 – Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch became the first French winners on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a wire-to-wire performance in the inaugural Serengeti Team Championship on Wednesday.

The French pair posted rounds of 46 and 38 for a total of 85 points to win the first golf team event with a three-point margin at Serengeti Estates.

Duvernay and Peuch made a fast start to the tournament as they burned up the front nine of the Jack Nicklaus signature course on day one. They fired five birdies and surged into the lead with an eagle from Duvernay at the par five eighth. Another eagle from the Evian Resort golfer and further brace of birdies earned them a three-point lead over English pair Kiran Matharu and Ellie Givens.

South Africa’s Ivanna Samu and partner Lauren Taylor from England finished a further shot adrift.

Admittedly, the French duo couldn’t replicate their first round fireworks on the last day, but they staved off the chasing pack with birdies at three, five, eight, 11 and 15.

“Things went a bit south for us at 16,” said Peuch, a third season Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigner.

“Marion hit her drive in the bush and of course, I followed her. We had to make a recovery, but it’s a pretty long par five. She went for the green from 235 metres, but didn’t make it. She had to take a penalty drop after going in the water, so I laid up and chipped in.

“Then I three-putted and Marion didn’t make her bogey putt either, so we had to take a zero for the double bogey. We took it on the chin and just tried to play the last two holes in pars and make no more mistakes.”

Peuch made sure of a par at 17 and Duvernay, whose approach pitched on the lower tier of the huge green, lagged her birdie putt to two inches from the hole. She tapped in for par to seal the win.

“We are so excited about this win,” gushed Duvernay, who made her debut on the South African circuit with a top eight finish in last week’s Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

“When the team event was added to the schedule, we entered immediately. We played a lot of team golf as amateurs, but there are just a few team events on the pro circuit. It was a great tournament on a fantastic golf course and we are thrilled to own our first Sunshine Ladies Tour trophies.

“The vibe was fantastic and it was a great way for us foreigners to meet the South Africans and other internationals. We saw a lot of high fives and hugging and laughing going on. Flora and I are travelling together for the full nine weeks, so this was a very good test for our friendship, too.

“Flora has told me that the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am is another great event, but the courses are quite tough. This has been a really good warm-up for George and hopefully one of us can keep the winning streak going.”

Samu and Taylor shared second on 83 points with Shawnelle de Lange and Pasqualle Coffa.

Rookies Catherine LauGeorgia Oboh from Nigeria tied for third on 82 with Givens and Matharu, as well as Tandi McCallum and Kim Williams from South Africa.

South Africa’s De Lange and Coffa from the Netherlands fired a staggering nine birdies on the last day to take the low round honours with 45 points. “I met Shawnelle last week at Irene and we clicked straight-away,” said Coffa. “We decided to pair up for the team event and we really dovetailed well, especially in the final round.

“For every birdie I sunk, she answered with one. I struggled a bit last week and shot 80 in the final round at Irene, but this tournament gave me a chance to hit more free and to fire at the pins. I feel much more confident for George Golf Club and Fancourt next week.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Ebotse Links and Kim de Klerk from Mossel Bay Golf Club posted rounds of 39 and 41 to take the Amateur honours with a top 10 finish on 80 points.

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


13th December 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour unveils 2019 schedule

Five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner and 2018 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion Stacy Bregman; credit Michael Edwards

JOHANNESBURG, 13 December 2018 – Another bumper season awaits the leading lights of South African women’s golf, and international participants from around the globe, when the Sunshine Ladies Tour tees off in 2019.

The tour launches on 30 January, and the prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open will fittingly draw the curtain on the sixth season in mid-March. The crown jewel of South African women’s golf will once again carry Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned status and boast a purse of R2 million.

“When we launched the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2014, we could not anticipate how incredibly well the circuit would be supported by players and sponsors alike,” said Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan.

“Thanks to initial investment and the ongoing commitment from Investec Property and support from the primary key stakeholders and sponsors Dimension Data, Sun International, the City of Joburg, the City of Cape Town, the City of Tshwane, SuperSport, Canon and the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, the Sunshine Ladies Tour has shown tremendous growth over the last five years.

“Participation has increased tenfold, with more than 40 international golfers playing the full circuit last year. Prize money has quadrupled from the first season, and the knock-on effect for our rising amateurs has been fantastic, with many young golfers flourishing on the international stage over the past two years.

“Investec Property has been with us every step of the way since the first season and has continued to find ways to make the Sunshine Ladies Tour more attractive.

“The 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour, raised the profile of our national championship to global status. The Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, which was launched in 2018 with a bonus pay-out of R100 000 to the leading player at the end of the season, cultivated a well-supported and highly competitive circuit.

“We are confident of hosting another memorable season in 2019, culminating in the Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town.”

Cheryl Leicher, Head of Marketing for Investec Property, said the partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour aptly showcases the incredible talent of women in sport and ensures that the athletes are recognised for their dedication.

“We are thrilled that the Investec South African Women’s Open is a platform that can aid the promotion and growth of South African women in sport. It’s encouraging to see that our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour is giving local players the opportunity to compete on a global stage and further the growth of the sport as we continuously strive towards building women champions,’ said Leicher.”

The 2019 season kicks off with the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club from 30 January to 1 February.

The Soweto Country Club makes its first appearance on the women’s professional circuit as the host venue for the Joburg Ladies Open from 6-8 February. The Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am returns in its regular slot opposite the Dimension Data Pro-Am from 15-17 February in George.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour then swings through KwaZulu-Natal for the South African Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club from 21-23 February and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club from 26-28 February.

The Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 6-8 March will precede the season-ending Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 14-16 March.

Margie Whitehouse, the returning chair of the Women’s PGA of South Africa, added:

“As the oldest and most prestigious professional women’s golf tournament since 1988, the Investec South African Women’s Open is the WPGA’s flagship event.  On this 31st anniversary, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Investec Property for their sponsorship, as well as to the City of Cape Town for their continued support.

“We would also like to express our gratitude to all our other partners and sponsors as we look forward to a successful 2019 season.”

2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour Schedule
30 January – 1 February
Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open

Irene Country Club
Prize fund: R200 000

6 – 8 February
Joburg Ladies Open

Soweto Country Club
Prize fund: R500 000

15 – 17 February
Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

George Golf Club and the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt
Prize fund: R500 000
Pro-Am Prize Fund: R100 000

21 – 23 February
South African Women’s Masters

San Lameer Country Club
Prize fund: R250 000

26 – 28 February
SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International

Wild Coast Sun Country Club
Prize fund: R400 000

6 – 8 March
Cape Town Ladies Open

Royal Cape Golf Club
Prize fund: R200 000

14 – 16 March
Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour

Westlake Golf Club
Prize fund: R2 million

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


27th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big target on Bregman’s back at Wild Coast

26 February 2018 – Nobuhle Dlamini, Ivanna Samu and Laura Fuenfstueck will want to reel in Stacy Bregman when the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader tees off in the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Wednesday.

Bregman wants to strengthen her vice grip on the standings in the penultimate event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour before the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town.

The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner is enjoying her best season yet and is keen to put more daylight between herself and her nearest rivals. Bregman shot straight to the top of the standings with her victory in the season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and strung together an impressive sequence of top five finishes to anchor herself in top spot.

She leads the standings with 1 635.00 points and, with a R100 000 on the table for the point list winner, Bregman wants to consolidate her lead with another stirring performance before the final event at Westlake Golf Club from 8-10 March.

She enjoys a very handy 548.33 point advantage over Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am champion Carrie Park and is 555 points clear of Joburg Ladies Open winner Ashleigh Buhai, but Park is fulfilling her obligations on the Korean LPGA Tour, while Buhai is campaigning on the LPGA Tour.

It’s the trio behind Park and Buhai that pose a realistic threat this week.

“I have a pretty big cushion and I want to keep it that way,” said the 31-year-old Country Club Johannesburg golfer after her practice round on Tuesday.

“I’ve done the math. A win in the Investec South African Open is worth 1 100 points. That brings Ash, Nobby, Ivanna and Laura into play. I’ll need at least 2 000 going to Cape Town to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit. A win this week is worth 520 points; second place is 420 points. Those are two spots I’m aiming for.”

It is big ask, even for Bregman, especially since she has never set foot on the daunting par-70, Robert Trent Jones designed course before her practice round.

“I enjoyed my first look,” Bregman said. “It’s a really good course and it will play really tough when the wind is up. But I love playing new courses, so I’m looking forward to the tournament. The resort is really nice, too, and I am really keen to try the slides in the Water Park.”

Fuenstueck became the fifth alternative winner this season and third international champion on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when she annexed victory in the SA Women’s Masters by a single shot and the affable 23-year-old German rookie is a strong contender to go back-to-back at the Wild Coast Sun.

“At first it was just about making cuts, but I have definitely raised my expectations,” she said. “I only have conditional status on the Ladies European Tour, so I am hoping for another good week to take momentum to the Investec South African Women’s Open. I have to make this week count.”

Dlamini has also been making noticeable strides this season with a sequence of good results.

She let the chance of a maiden title slip with a double bogey at 14 at San Lameer, but rose to fourth spot in the standings on the back of a four-way tie for second place and feels that she is within touching distance now of a breakthrough victory. Playing a course with a layout similar to her home course, the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club, could just be what the big-hitting Swazi golfer needs to get inside the winner’s circle.

“I’m there at the door, knocking all the time,” said Dlamini. “It’s frustrating, but I am just staying really patient. If you knock long enough, the door has to open.”

The local favourite Melissa Eaton found herself neatly tucked into the runners-up cluster in the SA Women’s Masters and also feels she’s edging closer to a big payday.

“To be honest, I was ready to pack it in after a disastrous back nine in final round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am,” she said. “I knew the only positive I could take away was learning the tough lesson it taught me. So I didn’t allow my emotions to get the better of me. I came back strong and I am taking a lot of positive energy into the SuperSport Ladies Challenge this week.”

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