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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


16th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 


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


18th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Park times swansong to perfection in Dimension Data

Carrie Park of South Korea sealed a hat-trick of Sunshine Ladies Tour titles with a stunning wire-to-wire victory in the 2018 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am on Sunday.

The 21-year-old from Seoul came into the final round with a four shot lead after rounds of 68 and 69 at George Golf Club. A 65 at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt extended that margin to a nine shot victory over nearest challenger Stacy Bregman.

The Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader mounted a late charge, as did Valeria Martinoli from Switzerland, but it was all too little, too late.

Two under at the turn, Park birdied the par four 13th and made four one-putts for four birdies on the bounce over the last four holes to blast the opposition away.

Celebrations at the 18th! Carrie Park’s peers celebrate her wire-to-wire victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt; credit Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images

“I’m really, really happy,” said an elated Park. “This is one of my favourite events and one I’ve loves since I was still amateur. In my heart I really wanted to win, because I won’t play the rest of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. I return to Korea next week, but I am leaving on a really high note.”

And it was a double celebration for Park and amateur partner Louise del Balzo, who won the Pro-Am competition by four shots on 22-under from Martinoli and partner Simona Stanton.

“We were tied through 12 holes and I thought I’d better start making some putts,” said Park. “Louise carried us on the front nine, but I was able to help her win with the four birdies to finish. I love the format and playing with the amateurs is a lot of fun. Louise and I dove-tailed really well and it’s so much fun when both players contribute. We had a lot of laughs and made a lot of great shots, so I am really happy that I could help her to victory, as well.”

The victory was the culmination of a meteoric rise for Park, who played for Gauteng North Golf Union from the age of 14.

She topped the Womens Golf South Africa Rankings before she joined the pro ranks in July 2016. In just her second start on the local circuit last year, Park celebrated a maiden victory in the South African Women’s Masters and collected her second trophy with a play-off win in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic, presented by Canon South Africa.

“I am very sad that I can’t defend my title next week and that I am missing the Investec South African Womens Open,” said Park. “Unfortunately I have a schedule conflict with the Korean LPGA Tour, so I have to go home.

“I love every minute that I play on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. I have learned many lessons, because this is a great tour for young professionals and for the amateurs. Playing with Lee-Anne and Stacy taught me to play my own game and to shut out everything my playing partners are doing. I was well-prepared when I started playing the second tier of the Korean LPGA Tour and it was thanks to the lessons I learned here on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”

Reigning Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Bregman has a frustrating start, but warmed up the short stick to rack up four birdies over the last nine holes for a 70 and second on five-under.

Martinoli offset four early bogeys with a trio of gains, but a late bogey at the par four 16th for a 72 saw the Swiss golfer slip to third on two-under.

Defending champion Nicole Garcia bogeyed 13 after 12 straight pars. She dropped another shot at 15, but rallied with birdies at 15 and 18 for a 72 to finish in fourth on level-par. Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams closed out the top five on one-over with a final round 69.

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


17th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Park poised to pounce in George

Carrie Park remains on course for a wire-to-wire victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Pro-Am after maintaining her overnight lead with a flawless 68 in Saturday’s second round at George Golf Club.

The 21-year-old South Korean will chase the lion’s share of the R500 000 purse at the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt with a two shot cushion on seven-under-par 137.

Park produced four birdies as her main rivals – former champion Stacy Bregman and defending champion Nicole Garcia – unravelled in the windy conditions.

One off the pace and joint second with Garcia, Bregman kept in touch, but a three-putt bogey at the final hole for a 71 saw the five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner slip to third on three-under. Garcia made a fine start with back-to-back birdies, but she dropped three shots around the turn. Another drop at the 18th for a disappointing two-over 74 will see the Ebotse golfer start the last round in joint fifth on even-par with fellow South African Lora Assad, who returned a 71.

Swiss golfer Valeria Martinoli came to closest to catching Park.

The 25-year-old – off in the final group off the first – fired two birdies on the front nine and she moved to five-under with further gains at 11 and 15. However, successive bogeys at the two closing holes put paid to her challenge and she finished in third on three-under with a round of 69.

Park might be playing under the South Korean flag, but she is a household name in South Africa with a strong amateur track record that includes the titles of the Sanlam SA Amateur and Stroke Play Championships.

In her second pro start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last year, Park rubber-stamped her status as a future world beater when she beat the likes of Garcia, Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Buhai and English golfer Kiran Matharu for her maiden win in the South African Women’s Masters. Just a few weeks later, she defeated Nobuhle Dlamini in a play-off for a second title in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic, presented by Canon, at Glendower Golf Club.

Having campaigned on the Korean LPGA Tour for the last nine months, Park has brought a bounty of confidence the Sunshine Ladies Tour and that self-assurance, combined with lethal long irons and a hot putter, has taken her to the top of the pile in George.

“I had eight straight pars and only got my first birdie at the ninth, but it gave me good momentum for the back nine,” said the petite Park. “The course played very different to the first day, because the wind blew into us and it was gusting a lot.

“I hit my long and short irons really well and I made a lot of putts, but it wasn’t easy to score on the front nine with the wind into us, I birdied both par fives (11 and 14) and a holed another putt for birdie at 12. I had a chance at 15, but left it short and I hit a very long putt at 16 to give to save par, so it was that kind of round. A little up-and-down. I’m pleased that I kept it going and I’ve given myself a good chance for the win.”

Bregman was one of the favourite starters this week.

She won the Canon Tshwane Ladies Open and leads the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit after a tie for second in the Joburg Ladies Open and a top five finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open. The Country Club Johannesburg golfer was ready to forget the second round.

“It was a struggle, but it’s by no means over,” said the 31-year-old.

“Four shots is a lot, but the Outeniqua suits me better and I’ve always found it an easier scoring course. I have a lot of positive memories from my victory at the Outeniqua and if I can make a fast start, we’ll have a fight down the back nine.”

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


16th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Park has Bregman, Garcia in pursuit at Dimension Data

It’s her all-time favourite golf course and it showed as Carrie Park overcame a shaky start at George Golf Club to claim the first round lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge on Friday.

The South Korean took the sting out of a double bogey at the opening hole with a birdie at the second and racked up four further gains to set the early clubhouse lead with a three-under-par 69.

The early starter’s score went unmatched as defending champion Nicole Garcia, 2015 champion Stacy Bregman, Nicole Bekker and Swiss golfer Valeria Martinoli all came up a shot shy of her target.

“This is my last event before I have to return to Korea because the rest of the schedule conflicts with the Korean LPGA Tour, and I’m just where I want to be,” said Park.

“I really, really love George and this golf course. It’s been my favourite since I came out to South Africa eight years ago and I played a lot of amateur golf here. I’ve always wanted to win the Dimension Data event, because it’s one of the best tournaments on our schedule. It’s a lot of fun to play with the amateurs and there is such a great atmosphere at this tournament with the men and the women playing together.”

The reigning SA Women’s Masters champion was pleased with her comeback after a dreadful start.

“It was not the start I expected, so I was so relieved when I made a birdie at two,” said Park. “It got back on track and I birdied nine to get back to level. I birdied 10 and 11, but it’s not an easy scoring course. It’s very tight, so you have to make the par fives count. I made one more birdie at 16 and then I just hoped that I had done enough.”

Garcia got it to three under at the turn, but gave herself a lot of hard graft on the back nine with a double bogey at 10.

“I had a three-putt at the third for bogey, but I managed to cancel it and then we had quite a long wait at the turn,” said Garcia. “I just lost focus in the 10 minute wait. I got a flier out of the rough and short-sided myself and I didn’t hit a good shot and made a quick double.

“I struggled to get it back; made birdies at 11 and 14 but dropped a shot at 12. I wanted to be close to the top, so I’m pretty happy that I’ve put myself in a strong position with 36 holes to play.”

In-form Bregman won the season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and leads the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit after a tie for second in the Joburg Ladies Open and a top four finish in Cape Town. She dropped two shots in her outward loop but made up for it with birdies 14 and 16.

“I was going around steadily and then at the eighth, my approach hit something on the green and almost ricochet out of bounds,” said Bregman. “I nearly wrapped my pitching wedge around a tree at the last hole, but it came off and I made a great par. A bit of an up-and-down day, but I’m in a strong position. It was a good start.”

Jamila Jaxaliyeva – the first Kazakhstani to compete on the Sunshine Ladies Tour – moved into sixth place after she cancelled a quartet of bogeys with birdies at four, five, seven and 15.

She is one shot clear of a group of eight players that include 2017 Canon Ladies Tshwane Open champion Kiran Matharu from England, former South African Women’s Open winner Tandi McCallum and Ladies European Tour winner Anne-Lise Caudal from France, who lost the Cape Town Ladies Open in a play-off to Lee-Anne Pace last week.

Sarah Bouch from Ekurhuleni, Kingswood talent Zane Naude and Lindi Coetzee from Gauteng North lead the amateur chase on two-over 74. The trio share 16th place with Camilla Hedberg from Spain, England’s Lauren Taylor, South Africans Kim Williams and Francesca Cuturi, Norwegian Mariell Bruun and  Clara Pietri from Switzerland.

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


15th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Determined Dlamini seeking strong start at Dimension Data Challenge

Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini will be aiming for a fast start in the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge at George Golf Club, starting on Friday.
The 26-year-old Dlamini occupies fifth place on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit after three events following fourth in the Joburg Ladies Open and top-15 finishes in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and last week’s Cape Town Ladies Open.

Despite her lofty positions on the leaderboard, it was – by her own admission – costly opening rounds that have robbed her of the chance to seriously challenge for victory.
“I’ve noticed in my last three tournaments that’s I’ve had poor first rounds,” said Dlamini who opened with 76 at Pretoria Country Club and rounds of 77 at Modderfontein and Royal Cape Golf Clubs. “My goal is not take myself out of contention this week.

“I could prepare better in my practice rounds, just to be sure of what I’m doing and have no doubt in the tournament. It’s all a work in progress and it comes unexpectedly. I’m still working it out as I go.”
The former world number-two amateur has not broken through for her first victory on the Sunshine Ladies Tour yet, but that maiden title could be just around the corner, Dlamini said.
“I’ve been close a couple of times, but a win just comes when the time is right. I feel good, and I feel like I can do it. It’s just about putting those three good rounds together.”
The first two rounds will be played at George Golf Club, with the final round played at Fancourt’s testing Outeniqua course. The demanding layout at Outeniqua suits her power game.

“I know George Golf Club and I’ve played it a couple of times. Also when I played amateur golf I played there quite a bit. I love the course, and I love Outeniqua as well. It all depends on the wind. I’m in good form to perform well on both courses.
“I have to make quite a few adjustments at George to make sure that I score well. You have to place it more off the tee box, you hit a lot of irons and three-woods of the tees. Therefore your approach shots get a bit long as well. Outeniqua is a longer course that suits my game and I find the greens much easier to read.”

Despite her poor opening rounds in each of the three events on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season, Dlamini feels consistently good scores are around the corner.
“I’m happy with my start to the season. I’m swinging well, but I’ve just been struggling to score. I’ve put in good practice for Dimension Data and looking forward to it. Being fifth on the order of merit is also a positive, and there are some big tournaments coming up that can help me improve my position.
“I’m going to try my best to win. If I don’t, I’d still like to be top five. I believe I’m going to be able to put in three good, consistent rounds and that should put me up there.”
Aided with a natural power game, Dlamini also spends a good deal of time making sure she is in great physical shape for every tournament. That also includes long distance running during events.
“When I’m not playing tournaments, I do gym with a lot of strength training. I do a lot of lower body and core work and a lot of sprints .During tournaments I do a lot of long distance running – between 10 and 16 kilometres.”
One thing is for sure, like her running, Dlamini is not far away from going the distance in search of that breakthrough triumph on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Defending champion Garcia returns to happy hunting ground

Defending champion Nicole Garcia is looking forward to the relaxed atmosphere of playing in the Pro-am format at the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at George Golf Club starting on Friday.
“I love the Pro-am format of this tournament,” said Garcia. “It makes the whole event feel a little bit more relaxed. I’ve played well in this tournament a few years in a row, and obviously I won last year, so I’m taking a lot of positives into this year’s event.”
The field will be chasing R600 000 in total prize-money for the three-day event, with R500 000 up for grabs in the main tournament and a R100 000 purse for the Pro-am.
“When you’re playing with the amateurs it almost lightens the mood a little bit,” said Garica.

“You also can’t take yourself too seriously because you still have to make it fun for the amateurs. That actually helps me quite a lot. Having that little bit of extra money for the Pro-am format, it’s also great. It also helps them enjoy it more if they can help you earn a bit of extra cash. It’s the highest money event after the Investec South African Women’s Open on our schedule, so I hope it keeps going.”
The Dimension Data Challenge featured on the Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule since the circuit launched in 2014 and it has produced top champions, including 12-time winner Lee-Anne Pace.

Garcia will have her work cut-out for her with past champion and good friend Stacy Bregman in the field.

In-form Bregman, who won in 2015, could pose a huge threat, having backed up a fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open at the start of the season with a joint runner-up finish in the Joburg Ladies Open and fourth in Cape Town Ladies Open last week.

“I’m just going to try play it hole by hole,” said Ebotse golfer.

“I’ll keep my game plan the same. I’m just going to try and enjoy myself. George is my favourite course in the country, if not the world. But there are a lot of strong players in the field this year, so I’m not going to expect too much. I’ll be happy for whoever wins.”

The desire to win for Garcia is especially strong in 2018. Her season last year was derailed in a freak injury right after the Women’s British Open in August that could have ended her professional golf career.
“I slammed my finger in a car door, and when I pulled it out I pulled the finger off,” Garcia explained. ”I mean, I pulled the bone and everything off. I was out for what was supposed to be 10 weeks, but I ended up playing after six weeks. I had to play with a protective finger sock on, but it wasn’t too bad.

“It looks semi-normal now. The surgeon I had was incredible. If I didn’t tell you that I pulled my finger off, you wouldn’t be able to tell. I don’t have any pain and it doesn’t affect my play. The very first event I played after my injury I came top-10.

“Unfortunately, being out for a few weeks meant that I missed out on qualifying school for America and some crucial Ladies European Tour (LET) events. I suppose everything happens for a reason. I did end up keeping my LET card, but I finished 63rd on the order of merit, which means I am not automatically exempt for all events.
Garcia had a top 10 in the season-opener at Pretoria Country Club and finished third at Royal Cape Golf Club, but the 27-year-old finds herself well down in 17th position on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit after missing the Joburg Ladies Open.

She opted to fly to Australia when she was offered a position in the Oates Vic Open, but missed the cut by one. So it is with renewed conviction that she returns to the scene of her three shot wire-to-wire triumph in 2017.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” Garcia said. “It was unfortunate that I missed the second Sunshine Tour event, but it couldn’t be helped. I’m feeling good for this week. If I do well, I’ll climb up the order of merit. I’m working hard with my coach Grant Veenstra. We had a practice round yesterday and both courses are looking good.”
Garcia said she and LET travel partner Bregman have a bet going that will hopefully see both ending the season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with victories to their names.
“My goal for the Sunshine Ladies Tour is to finish in the top-10 on the order of merit. I would like to win at least one or two events. I can’t predict if I will actually do that, but I would really love to.
“Stacy and I made a bet that we’ll go to Mauritius of we both win this season. She’s already won, so it’s my turn now. If I get to win more than one it will be a bonus. The girls at the top are really strong so you have to play really good golf to win these events.”
A strong performance at the Dimension Data Challenge could setup the top five on the order of merit with two more events before the season-ending Investec South African Women’s Open in March. It would take a brave soul to bet against Garcia being near the top of the pile as she once again stakes a claim for a place among the marquee players in South African golf.

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