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28th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Double delight for Dlamini in Soweto

28 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini put an exclamation mark behind a dominant season with an emphatic four-shot victory in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club on Thursday.

Her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and her second win this season after her Dimension Data Ladies Challenge success last month – confirmed Dlamini as the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion for the 2019 season and earned the 27-year-old a bonus worth R100 000.

The big-hitting Swazi national carded a final round two-under 70 to triumph on a two-under 214 total.

“It’s a massive victory for me,” said a delighted Dlamini. “I didn’t expect to win the Joburg Ladies Open, but I put in a lot of work for this season.

Nobuhle Dlamini from Eswatini celebrated a double victory when she claimed the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit with an emphatic four-shot win in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“Coming into the final event, I knew I didn’t have to win at Soweto to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I really wanted it After the first two rounds, I knew I could win. The order of merit title would be even sweeter if I picked up a win. Two wins this season and the order of merit. I am really proud of what I’ve achieved.

“I was very excited about trying to win the Order of Merit, I think my performance at Glendower sort of sealed it for me, although it was still close. I knew I didn’t have to win the tournament to win the Order of Merit. I was really excited, but I still had a tournament to play. I’m happy to have won both.”

Dlamini began the final round on even-par with a one-shot lead over SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite and two shots clear of Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall.

She fired seven straight pars before dropping two shots at the par four eighth. Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10 took her back to level, and she erased another double bogey at the 11th with three birdies on the bounce from the par four 13th.

Dlamini finished two shots ahead of former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum, whose final round 70 earned her a runner-up finish and bumped the Parkview golfer second in the season-long points race.

Ebotse’s Hall finished solo third on six-over following a third round 76.

The round of the day – and the tournament – belonged to Lora Assad. The Johannesburg golfer scorched her way around the Gary Player-designed championship layout in 67 strokes and rocketed to joint fourth on seven-over alongside Monique Smit from Southern Cape.

Dlamini picked up her maiden pro win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International at the Wild Coast just over a year ago and it proved a watershed moment for the Glendower professional.

“This season has been the best of my life, but the Wild Coast was the pivotal moment. That’s when I knew for certain that I could compete against the best and beat them. It changed my mind-set and I’ve just become mentally stronger since.

“I made changes to the preparation for my tournaments, and since that first win last year things have changed. I’ve been more relaxed. I trust my process and my decisions on the course. I commit to my shots and I feel much more confident.”

Playing in the heart of Soweto, made the double triumph even sweeter for the 27-year-old.

“When they first told us that the Joburg Ladies Open would be hosted here I couldn’t believe it,” Dlamini said. “I played here three years ago and it was not looking good. The greens were not good and the fairways were bumpy. It was like coming to a whole different course when we played the pro-am here on Monday. I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed.

“We owe a huge debt to Selwyn Nathan for championing the refurbishment of this course. The Sunshine Tour rallied the support of the City of Joburg, the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the R&A and sponsors like Investec, Dimension Data, Telkom, SuperSport and PPC Cement to create something incredibly special here.

“I know a lot of golfers who live in Soweto and who had to travel by taxi to go and practice at the better courses in Johannesburg. One of them lives two minutes away from the course. He came to support me in the first round and cannot wait to start practicing here.

“Selwyn, together with the sponsors have created jobs here and a fantastic legacy for the people of Soweto. The course is young, but already a great layout. It will just get better and better, and I really believe this is a championship course.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Zethu Myeki carded rounds of 80, 76 and 73 to claim the leading amateur honours on 13-over. The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member tied for 13th with Lewthwaite, who finished third on the order of merit after closing with a final round 84.

Kim Williams finished fourth and Hall fifth to make it an all-Southern-African sweep of the top-five in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini poised for success in Soweto

27 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini fired three birdies on the bounce down the back nine of Soweto Country Club to line up a fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory in the Joburg Ladies Open on Wednesday.

Dlamini began the second round tied for the lead with reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite, but she opened up a one-shot lead with a second successive level par 72.

The Investec golfer is still nipping at her heels on one-over following a second round 73, while Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall lies a further stroke adrift on two-over, courtesy of a brace of 73s.

Former SA Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum got into the mix at four-over with an even-par 72.

India’s Tvesa Malik followed a one-over opening round with a 76 on day two to slip to a tie for fifth with 2019 SA Women’s Longest Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt, who returned a 74.

Yolanda Duma fired a one-under-par 71 for the shared low round of the day. The Border golfer rocketed to joint seventh on six-under, and will have former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Stacy Bregman and Monique Smit for company in the final round.

Dlamini is justifiably in a confident frame of mind.

She will be gunning for the double in Thursday’s final round – win the R500 000 Sunshine Ladies Tour season-finale and bank the R100 000 bonus for winning the season-long points race and it will take something special to stop her.

“I’ve had two good days as I’ve played solidly from tee to green,” said the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader.

“If I play like this tomorrow and make a couple more putts I should take it home “I’m looking forward to the incentive, but it would be great to win the Joburg Ladies Open.”

Dlamini followed a birdie start with a trio of bogeys and went out in two-over.

Coming home, the Glendower golfer birdied the 10th but a careless double-bogey on 11 got her into the right frame of mind. She fired three birdies in a row from the par four 13th to steady the ship and cemented herself at the top of the leaderboard with solid pars over the last three holes.

“I dropped on two of the par threes on the front nine, which was annoying,” Dlamini said.

“I made a good birdie on 10 over I overshot the green, but at the next hole I pitched it too close to the pin and it flew off the back. I chipped it short of the green two-putted for a double. I hit a great drive, so to drop two shots after being 78 metres from the hole hurt. But I’m proud of the way I came back after that.

“The greens were slightly softer in the second round, but not by much, so you really have to think your way around the course. My short game, especially the shorter pitches, was really good. If you can get it inside 12 foot, you’ve got a look at birdie, because the greens are very true.”

Aside from her obvious title ambitions, Dlamini was pleased to be playing an important golf event in the heart of Soweto.

“Whoever took the decision to make this a championship golf course has done so much for the people of Soweto, for the nation. I’ve got a lot of friends from Soweto, so they have to travel a long way to the nicer courses. Most of them can’t afford to play so it’s great to have a championship layout in their back yard.

“One of my friends actually lives a two-minute walk away from here and he came through yesterday and he said he can’t wait to play after we finish.

“A big thank you goes out to the sponsors for helping development. I’m happy that people from Soweto have jobs now, working at their own club. Hopefully we look after it, and it leaves a long lasting legacy.”

Lewthwaite, meanwhile, couldn’t replicate the fireworks from the first round, but she usually saves her best golf for the final round and could be strong contender on the last day.

“It was a little boring; no holes-in-one today,” Lewthwaite joked. “I played steady golf and I’m right where I want to be – within one shot of the leader.

“I don’t know what it is about final rounds, but I always seem to get going. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow. I feel different in the body and the mind, I love the pressure and the tight competition at the end.”

Hall made a disastrous start with a triple bogey seven at the opening hole, but the Ebotse golfer rallied with a trio of birdies after the turn to stay firmly in contention.

“I hit it left on the first and paid the price and I was a bit panicky after that seven, but I just trusted my swing after that and I began to feel comfortable over the ball,” said last year’s SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion.

“I held it together for the rest of the front nine and I was feeling great after the birdie run, but unfortunately I let another one slip at 17. I’m quite happy being two behind. Anything can happen in the final round, especially on this golf course.”

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


25th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bregman targets successful first foray to Soweto

25 March 2019 – Stacy Bregman is hoping her first visit to the iconic Soweto Country Club is a winning one as the sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour season wraps up this week with the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open.

The five-time champion will go in search of a first victory this season when the fourth edition of this prestigious tournament, sponsored by the City of Joburg, takes place at the recently renovated Soweto venue from 26-28 March.

The season-finale represents a last hoorah for Bregman to end a disappointing season on a high note.

“I felt so confident when I left for Australia after coming second in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, but I had a disappointing run on the Ladies European Tour,” said the 32-year-old Johannesburg native.

“I picked up a niggling shoulder injury that got worse as the weeks past. I struggled to swing and you just can’t compete at your best when you’re not hitting the ball with confidence.

“I still had title hopes for the Jabra Ladies Classic after a tie for 12th in the Investec South African Women’s Open, but I woke up after the pro-am round in unbearable pain. I had to withdraw, but I went for intense therapy to be match ready this week.”

Bregman had to watch from the side-lines at Glendower Golf Club as good friend and fellow Ladies European Tour campaigner Anne-Lise Caudal from France became the sixth first-time winner and sixth foreign champion.

“I was really sad to miss out last week, but I enjoyed watching Anne-Lise and Nobby duel it out in the final round. We have this rivalry on the course, but off the course we are really good friends and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. In my view, they were both winners,” Bregman said.

Bregman beat Dlamini in the final event last year to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but Dlamini has turned the tables this season and has one hand on the trophy ahead of the season-finale.

While Caudal returned to France on the weekend, Dlamini will join Bregman in the 42-strong player field to challenge for the R70 000 first prize pay-out.

“The Joburg Ladies Open is on everyone’s bucket list since it launched in 2016,” said Bregman, who tied for fourth in the inaugural event at Royal Johannesburg in 2016 and lost to Ashleigh Buhai at Modderfontein last year.

“We all want the win this week and I think the course will be a great leveller. It’s a new venue for all of us and no-one has the home course advantage. It’s another fantastic Gary Player course and the design is really awesome. The greenkeeping team has done an amazing job with the greens. It’s going to be another tightly contested battle to the end this week.”

Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dlamini’s remarkably consistent form this season has kept her in the number one spot since she added a third career Sunshine Ladies Tour title to her repertoire with a two-shot victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge.

The Swazi national is primed for one final push to end a breakthrough season on a winning note to pocket the R100 000 bonus that comes with victory in the points race.

“It’s about being here now and trying to win the first event at Soweto,” said Dlamini. “You play golf until you’re really old, but these moments are the kind of ones you want to remember at the end of your career.

“It has been a great season for me and consistency was really key. Even when I haven’t played my best I still scored well, which was probably the biggest difference. And I’m looking forward to finishing the season with another strong push. It’s going to be an exciting week.”

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


20th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini jets to Jabra Ladies Classic lead

20 March 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini fired a flawless four-under-par 68 to get off to a flying start in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic in Wednesday’s opening round at Glendower Golf Club.

It was a real statement of intent from the reigning Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader, whose local knowledge came into good use on day one as she laid down a marker for a fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and the start in the Ladies European Tour’s Jabra Ladies Open that comes with the trophy and winner’s share of the R200 000 prize fund.

The big-hitting Swazi national leads by three strokes from French golfer Anne-Lise Caudal and Lora Assad.

Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry – second in the points race – carded a level-par 72 to tie for fourth with Kim Williams and India’s Tvesa Malik.

Emilie Alonso from France and reigning SA Women’s Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt finished a further shot back.

Two years ago, Dlamini fired a final round 67 to force the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon into extra time at Glendower. She traded pars with Carrie Park for the first three trips down the 18 before the South Korean won at the fourth play-off hole.

“I wanted a fast start to put some space between myself and the field because I I don’t want to go down that road again,” admitted the home crowd favourite.

Dlamini started with three straight pars from the 10th hole, but three birdies on the bounce from the par five 13th left the field in her wake. She set the uncontested first round target with a final birdie at the par five eighth.

“I was a little frustrated after I hit it close on the first two holes and missed both birdie putts, but I told myself to relax; I had a lot of holes left,” Dlamini said. “On 13, I hit driver down the middle, 4-iron into the green and two-putted for birdie. If I’d hit the first putt harder, it would have gotten to the hole.

“I had 143 metres at the par three and I hit a 9-iron that pitched and spun back to a foot. On 15, I got caught in the rough with my second, but I nearly holed my chip shot. Made the short putt for birdie and then pars to the turn.

“I made seven straight pars coming home before I birdied the par five (eight). I hit a big drive and 8-iron from 158 metres on the green and two-putted for birdie. I hit lots of fairways and greens and gave myself a lot of chances, but the putting wasn’t great. I didn’t have any three-putts, but I had nine two-putts. I wasn’t comfortable with the putter, but I stayed patient.

“If you hit fairways and greens at Glendower, you will roll one in eventually. It could have been better, but I’ll take 68. I controlled the ball pretty much how I wanted to and I got the cushion I wanted.”

French golfer Anne-Lise Caudal has leader Nobuhle Dlamini in her sights after an opening one-under-par 71 in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Caudal, a two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour, offset an early bogey at 12 with birdies at 14 and 17 and negated a second dropped shot at the fifth with a birdie at eight to finish under par.

“It was just a solid round. Nothing spectacular; no stretches of brilliance, just a consistent round of golf,” said the Jabra ambassador. “I would love to go home with the trophy on Friday, but I need to get the putter to warm up. I struck the ball well, hit a lot of greens, but just couldn’t get the putts to drop.”

Assad, who is hunting a maiden win, was four-over after seven holes, but got her round back on track with a brace of birdies before the turn and racked up more gains at 14, 15 and 17 for her 71.

“I was a little bit hit and miss on the front, but holed quite a lot of nice putts from the eighth,” said the Texas State graduate. “I just tried to keep hitting fairways and greens to give myself chances and I knew if I got into a rhythm that some would fall and they did. Now I just need to keep it going for two more days.”

Mistry won the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the Investec SA Women’s Open, heads up the amateur challenge for a sixth successive week.

The GolfRSA Elite Squad player lost the advantage of a birdie start at 10 to a bogey at the par four 12th but turned level par with steady golf over the next six holes. She birdied the first to dip under par again, but bogeyed six and seven before a birdie at eight landed her a share of third. The next best-placed amateurs are 14-year-old Kiera Floyd from Ebotse, Symone Henriques from Glenvista and Nadia van der Westhuizen from Serengeti, who all signed for 74.

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


19th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Mistry fired up for Jabra Ladies Classic

19 March 2019 – Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry is targeting a winning performance in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic following her fifth low-amateur result of the season in the Investec SA Women’s Open on Saturday.

The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player wants to give it one last push in her final Sunshine Ladies Tour start to try and convert two runner-up finishes to victory at Glendower Golf Club.

“Glendower is a very tough course, but I’ve always enjoyed playing there,” said Mistry.

“I played my SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championships at Glendower when I was 14 years old and I tied for 21st. That week taught me a lot. You have to think your way around this course, stay patient and wait for birdies. And to keep it in play. It’s a tight course and very demanding, so you can’t let your focus drop for a minute.”

Mistry began the season with the goal of finishing inside the top 10 of the Order of Merit, but after a tie for 30th at Westlake last Saturday that saw her lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur for a fifth successive week, she leapfrogged reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite for second spot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

“I originally targeted a top 10 finish in the rankings, but I’ve reset my goal to top three,” said Mistry.

“I never ever expected to do so well on the Sunshine Ladies Tour; it’s been a massive confidence boost for my game going forward. I would have loved to have a go at winning the rankings, but I am going to miss the last event (Joburg Ladies Open).

“I am playing the Western Province Amateur next week, so the Jabra Ladies Classic is my last chance. I would love to finish with a win.”

Mistry rose to the number one spot in the Womens Golf South Africa Open Amateur rankings in December 2016 and never dropped outside top two until the middle of last year. Golf took a backseat as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member made her matric year a priority.

Having secured a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas, the chance to mix it up the country’s top professional golfers and international competitors on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year before she heads to the States has been a huge learning curve.

Mistry played alongside Lee-Anne Pace in the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene and was paired with the former LPGA winner again when the duo tied for the lead in the second round of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape two weeks ago.

“I learned a lot from Kim Williams and Lejan Lewthwaite during the SA Women’s Masters and I feel comfortable out there with the pros,” said Mistry. “I have been surprised at how easy it has been to build relationships with the pros.

“I have been learning a lot from watching them, especially around course management. They are easy to talk to and always keen to give advice. Players like Kim, Nicole Garcia and Nobuhle Dlamini, who were top amateurs in their time, didn’t have a Sunshine Ladies Tour to cut their teeth on. I am really thankful that we have this opportunity. It’s going to stand us in good stead going forward.”

Mistry will have her job cut out if she hopes to edge out the field for glory this week.

The Jabra Ladies Classic is the second new addition to the Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and the R200 000 event comes with an exciting incentive for the winner.

The champion – or the first non-exempt Ladies European Tour thereafter up to the 20th finisher – will be granted a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Resort Golf Club in May.

With the chance to tee it up in this Ladies European Tour event, where winner and runner-up will gain starts in two Majors, the AIG Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship, the professionals lining up this week will definitely raise their game.

Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland will spearhead the challenge at Glendower, while last year’s points list winner Stacy Bregman leads the local contenders alongside Lewthwaite, Williams and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Tandi McCallum.

Some of the foreign campaigners expected to rise to the occasion are the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge champion Jane Turner from Scotland, rising Swedish stars Emma Westin and Moa Folke, Serengeti Team Championship winners Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch from France and compatriot Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England.

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


18th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big incentive drives up Jabra Ladies Classic stakes

18 March 2019 – Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini will be looking over her shoulder when the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic tees off at Glendower Golf Club on Wednesday.

Dlamini knows there is a target on her back after her lead was trimmed with a frustrating tie for 47th in the Investec South African Women’s Open last weekend, but with two events to go, the big-hitting Swazi national is determined to cement her position at her home course ahead of the season-finale Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club next week.

Dlamini returned to a happy hunting ground and was on the course at first light on Monday morning to fine-tune her game.

The Jabra Ladies Classic is the new addition to the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and this week’s winner will not only bank the lion’s share of the R200 000 purse, but will also join the field in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in May.

Gunning for her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title, Dlamini said a win would be a game-changer.

“I don’t have full status on the Ladies European Tour yet, right now, so I am on the reserve list for the Jabra Ladies Open,” explained the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Challenge Tour champion.

“To get the spot in the Jabra Ladies Open is huge. A good performance at the Evian Golf Resort Golf Club can boost your ranking on the Ladies European Tour and that’s another step closer to full status.”

Dlamini came close to victory at Glendower two seasons ago when she lost in a play-off to four-time champion Carrie Park from South Korea and although a firm favourite this week, she expects stiff opposition from Benoni golfer Lejan Lewthwaite, who is targeting the same goal.

Lejan Lewthwaite will spearhead the field in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 20-22 March 2019; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

The reigning SA Women’s Masters champion was hoping for another strong performance on home soil after a top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour in Australia, but she missed the cut and was overtaken by Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry, who moved into second in the rankings with a top-30 finish at Westlake.

“Six weeks in a row took its toll and I was dead-tired, but I know I can turn it around for the last two events,” said the Investec supported player.

Dlamini leads the rankings on 1 397 points. Mistry is second on 963 points and Lewthwaite third with 940 points, but the GolfRSA Elite Squad player will miss the season-finale to defend her Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl title, leaving the way clear for Lewthwaite to challenge Dlamini in the points race.

“There is a lot to play for in the last two events,” the Serengeti golfer explained.

“Victory gets you into the Jabra Ladies Open. I’m 11th on the reserve list, so that’s the first goal. The Jabra Ladies Open is also the qualifying event for the Evian Championship. The winner and the runner-up get starts in the Evian and another Major, the AIG Women’s British Open. Plus full category status on the Ladies European Tour for 2020.

“A win this week is worth 250 points, first place next week earns you 650 points. That’s the other big incentive this week. But the stakes are high and everyone wants to win.

“I’m not sure, but I think Stacy Bregman might be the only player in the field with full LET exemption. She had a great final round at Westlake to finish 12th, and she won’t cut us any slack. At least Jabra will give the spot to the next best finisher who isn’t exempt up to 20th place.”

Lewthwaite believes fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams and Scottish player Jane Turner, who won the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, could pose a serious threat.

“Both of them are strong ball-strikers with incredible short-games and that’s scoring at Glendower. Good, straight tee shots and good putting. I’ve played a ton of golf here and it’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s a great test of golf and I’m looking forward to a strong finish to the last two events.”

Sweden’s Emma Westin – a three-time winner on the LET Access Series – also made a strong case for victory this week with a top-20 finish at Westlake, as did Ellie Givens from England, whose final round 71 boosted her to a tie for 36th.

Two-time LET winner Anne-Lise Caudal, Williams, former SA Women’s Open winner Tandi McCallum and big-hitting Namibian Bonita Bredenhann – also lining up this week – finished a further stroke adrift.

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


14th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Xasa tees off the Investec SA Women’s Open

SA Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa hits the official opening shot of the 2019 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Tristan Jones / LET.

14 March 2019 – South Africa’s Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa put in a surprise appearance on day one of the Investec South African Women’s Open, and hit the ceremonial tee shot to officially open the R2-million event at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday.

This year is the second successive year that the event is co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET).

The field of 126 represent 26 nations and among the top starters are past and current LET champions Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace from South Africa, English duo Florentyna Parker and Megan MacLaren and French pair Astrid Vayson de Pradenne and Camille Chevalier.

The honourable minister was in Cape Town for cabinet meetings, but made space in her busy schedule to pop in at Westlake after a phone call from women’s sport journalist Cheryl Roberts on Wednesday afternoon.

“I was in back-to-back meetings, but I noticed a missed call from Cheryl. When I called her back, she asked me if I knew about the Investec SA Women’s Open and said I really should come to Westlake and see for myself what wonderful things the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa are doing in women’s golf,” said Xasa.

“Women’s sport is very close to my heart and I like to support all initiatives that grow and develop women’s sport. I immediately confirmed with Lesley Copeman from World Sports Promotions that I would attend the opening and when they asked me if I would like to hit the opening tee shot, I thought, ‘Why not’?”

The honourable minister received a quick lesson from WPGA’s Barbara Pestana, herself a two-time former winner of the SA Women’s Open, and enthusiastically struck the ceremonial tee shot.

“It took three tries, but I got some good flight with my third shot,” laughed Xasa. “It’s a lot tougher than it looks on television.

“What a wonderful event and what a fantastic opportunity to see world class golfers in action while the young rookies and amateurs cut their teeth in a highly competitive environment. What you see her today is that golf represents much more than just a game; it is a platform that brings players from across the globe together and the Sunshine Ladies Tour helps drive South Africa forward by showcasing to the rest of the world the natural beauty and talent the country has to offer.”

3. SA Minister of Sport and Recreation Tokozile Xasa with 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member Kajal Mistry (centre) and Candice Buitendach from Investec ahead of the first round of the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Tristan Jones / LET.

The field contesting the 54-hole tournament this week also features eight amateurs, who will compete for the Jackie Mercer Trophy, awarded to the leading amateur.

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kajal Mistry spearheads the group. Having rubbed shoulders with the professionals since the start of the Sunshine Ladies Tour season, the 18-year-old Randpark golfer has surged to second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, courtesy of a top four, a top eight, a top 20 and two runner-up finishes.

“It was pretty special to take a selfie with the Minister of Sport and Recreation,” said the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member.

“That’s not something that will happen every day. It was a great honour to meet her and I think it’s really cool that she came to the tournament. We watched her hit the opening shot and hopefully the golf bug has bitten her. It would be great if she could play in next year’s pro-am with us.”

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

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OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

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


12th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite pitching for Sunshine Ladies Tour double

12 March 2019 – Lejan Lewthwaite has her sights set on a Sunshine Ladies Tour double in the 2019 Investec South African Women’s Open, which tees off at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday.

The Benoni golfer already enjoyed a stellar start to her 2019 campaign with a play-off victory in the SA Women’s Masters and is riding a wave of confidence after a top 10 finish in her second start on the Ladies European Tour last Sunday.

Lewthwaite had been knocking on the door since the start of the sixth season with a third place finish in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

She tied for seventh with partner Nobuhle Dlamini in the Serengeti Team Championship and then chased the Swazi golfer all the way to the finish line in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge in George the following week.

A week later, the 28-year-old Investec standout celebrated her maiden win at San Lameer and now she is relishing the prospect of doing it all over again at Westlake Golf Club.

“I’m definitely a much better golfer now than I was a year ago heading into the Investec SA Women’s Open,” said the Serengeti golfer following her tie for 10th in the Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia.

“I am handling a big stage a lot better than I was last year. Competing on the IGT Challenge Tour last year and winning twice taught me a lot on how to keep your perspective when you get into contention and how to win.

“In my previous starts on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and in Europe, I let the status of the event dictate my game and frustration got the better of me. This time, I didn’t paint the Women’s NSW Open as such a big event. I just treated as any other golf tournament and I was able to play my own game. I went into the Women’s NSW Open with a strong mind-set and that’s what I’m bringing to Cape Town this week.

“I’m looking forward to playing Westlake again. I am a lot more confident in my course management and on a tight, tree-lined layout like this, your positioning off the tee is crucial in setting up scoring opportunities. I’m looking forward to good week.”

Lewthwaite will join a host of local and international champions in the R2-million event, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai, a 10-time winner on the local circuit and three-time Ladies European Tour champion, will be gunning for a fourth victory.

South Korea’s Carrie Park claimed her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a five-shot victory in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape last week and Dlamini, who leads the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, has also been in threatening form this season.

England’s Meghan MacLaren will be flying high after successfully defending her Women’s NSW Open title with a three-stroke victory on Sunday, while Christine Wolf from Austria and Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland – fourth and sixth respectively – could also be on the radar in Cape Town.

German golfer Karolin Lambert and last year’s runner-up also showed some great form with a top eight finish in the Australia last week.

Other top contenders inside the top 30 on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit to keep an eye on include Olivia Cowan from Germany, Sweden’s Julia Engstrom, Spanish pair Noemi Jimenez Martin and Silvia Banon and the French pair of Manon Molle and Isabelle Boineau.

Several Sunshine Ladies Tour rookies have also laid down a marker this season for success in the national Open.

Jane Turner claimed a four-shot victory in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club, while fellow Scot Gabrielle Macdonald has climbed to fourth in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit in just four starts.

Entry is free to all three rounds of the Investec SA Women’s Open and there is ample public parking.

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.


8th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Park powers to Cape Town Ladies Open victory

CAPE TOWN, 8 March 2019 – Carrie Park turned on the style when it mattered most, making crucial birdies on the final three holes at Royal Cape Golf Club to claim her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory by five strokes in the Cape Town Ladies Open on Friday.

With just five holes to play, the Korean shared top spot on a bunched leaderboard with defending champion Lee-Anne Pace on three-under.

Amateur Kajal Mistry and Finland’s Tiia Koivistra were within striking distance just one shot back.

Park reeled off birdies on the par-five 14th and 16th holes and notched further gains at the par-four 17th and 18th holes to triumph.

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Mistry and Anne-Lise Caudal from France – last year’s runner up – tied for second on two-under, with South African Tandi McCallum, Swiss golfer Caroline Rominger and Koivisto a stroke further back in joint fifth.

Park headed into the final day one shot behind Pace and Mistry, who shared the overnight lead on four-under.

“I started the round very well and was feeling good, but I lost it a little bit at the turn,” she explained. “I felt like I couldn’t get my address right and everything started leaking right.

“The 14th was the turning point for me. I had 183 metres into the wind to the flag for my second and I hit a good 3-wood there to make a birdie. That really got me going.”

With the south-easterly wind gusting up to 50 km per hour at times, Park’s four-under-par 70 in the final round was the low score of the day. With earlier rounds of 72 and 73 at the par-74 layout, she was also the only player to break par on each day this week.

Even more remarkable is that Park only arrived in the country on the eve of the tournament and stepped into the first round without the benefit of a practice round.

“I prepared really well for the tournament. When we transferred, I did exercises to stay loose and I slept really well on the flights,” she said.

“It was really important to me to play this week. I wanted to get used to the distance at sea level and the ball flight to prepare for the Investec South African Women’s Open next week. My first Sunshine Ladies Tour win was the SA Women’s Masters. I would love to have the double.

“I don’t know Westlake. I have heard that it is also tight and tree-lined and the greens are very undulating. I plan to play at least three practice rounds to prepare well for next week.”

She often jokes that she is Korean by birth, but her heart is South African.

Her father enrolled the Seoul-born Park at Southdowns College at the age of 13. She joined Graeme Francis and the GFG Academy and soon after, began representing Gauteng North Golf Union.

A former SA Amateur and SA Stroke Play champion, Park was named Womens Golf South Africa Golfer of the Year in 2013 and she held the number one ranking for more than a year.

Following her third victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge last year, Park returned to Korea. She now plies her trade on the Korean LPGA Tour, having graduated to the tour courtesy of a win in the Phoenix Dream Tour in June last year.

Randpark golfer Kajal Mistry claimed the Leading Amateur honours for a fourth successive week with a joint runner-up finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Mistry, meanwhile, banked a second runner-up finish of the season, to go with the second place finish in the SA Women’s Masters and a further two top-10s.

It was another remarkable result for the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member, who remains in third spot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

She has received a sponsor’s invitation to the R2-million Investec South African Ladies Open, co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and is relishing her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour start.

“I can’t wait to play in my first Ladies European Tour event,” said the 18-year-old Randpark golfer.

“So far the season has exceeded my expectations. Originally my goal was to finish in the top 10 on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I think I need to reset and aim for the top three.

“I’m happy with my performance at Royal Cape. Coming second is a great result, but I was not too happy with all the fairways I missed this week. I only hit six in the final round, but my irons and short-game has been really strong. It was all a really good learning curve for next week.”

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CAPE TOWN LADIES OPEN
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HASHTAG – #CapeTownLadiesOpen

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


7th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Another stab at Cape Town glory for Pace and Mistry

7 March 2019 – Lee-Anne Pace and amateur Kajal Mistry eased their way to the top of a tightly-contested Cape Town Ladies Open leaderboard in Thursday’s second round at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Battling steady rain to begin with and the addition of strong winds toward the end of the round, Mistry knocked in a short birdie putt at the last for a level-par 74 to set the clubhouse target at four-under. Meanwhile defending champion Pace mixed five birdies with three dropped shots for a second successive two-under-par 72 to give herself an excellent shot at her 12th Sunshine Ladies Tour title.

The joint leaders top a bunched and distinctly international leaderboard.

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Carrie Park from Korea and big-hitting Finnish debutant Tiia Koivisto a stroke behind the leaders, while Caroline Rominger from Switzerland is alone in fifth at two-under.

France’s Anne-Lise Caudal – a two-time former Ladies European Tour winner and last year’s runner-up after a play-off loss to Pace – a further stroke adrift, while Swedish duo Emma Westin and Sofie Bringner and overnight leader Kiran Matharu from England are tied on level par.

While the rain may be much needed in the water-scarce Western Cape, it made scoring very difficult for the players around the par-74 Royal Cape layout, with only five players managing to shoot under par for the day.

For Pace, who posted the day’s low round of 72, it was all about hanging tough and taking her chances when they came.

“I hit the ball really well,” she said. “I knocked it really close on 10 and 12 for tap-in birdies, but to be honest I was a little disappointed with how I scored on the par fives today.

“I’ve put in a lot of practise in the last few weeks and I can see it coming through in my game. I’m hitting the shots and making the birdies when I need to.”

The rain that fell during the second round is set to be replaced by strong winds for the final round, adding to the challenge the players will face on the final day.

“It is a tough course in the wind,” said Pace. “It’s very tight, and if the wind blows like they say it will, level par could be a very good score.”

Pace will be paired with Mistry and Park in the final round, but may need to look over her shoulder as there are 11 players within five shots of the lead.

GolfRSA Elite Squad amateur Kajal Mistry birdied the 18th hole at Royal Cape Golf Club to tie for the lead on day two of the Cape Town Ladies Open; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Mistry has been knocking on the door in her last four starts on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, including a play-off loss in the SA Women’s Masters. She will fancy her chances on a course where she won the Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship by a record eight strokes less than 12 months ago.

The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player, who heads to college in the USA later this year, was delighted to be part of the final group for the second time this season.

“Today was all about being patient,” said the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member. “I only hit five fairways all day, compared to 12 yesterday, so I really had to scramble my way round. I stuck it out to the very end and I can’t wait for tomorrow.

“I’m not thinking about winning, but about learning from two great golfers. I played with Lee-Anne in the first round of the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, so I’m really pleased that I’ll have another chance to tee it up with her, and Carrie is a class player. It’s should be a great experience for me.”

Park only in arrived in South Africa from her native Korea the evening before the tournament started.

She managed to play her best golf in the heavy rain, getting to five under courtesy of three straight birdies from the second hole, however, she undid her hard work with slips at the 15th and 16th, before grabbing a final birdie at the 17th.

“My putting was really good throughout the round,” Park said. “It really saved me today. I misread the wind at the end, because it was swirling a bit, and I let a few shots slip there but I’m really excited to be playing with Lee-Anne and Kajal tomorrow.”

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CAPE TOWN LADIES OPEN
TWITTER – @CityofCT
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HASHTAG – #CapeTownLadiesOpen

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