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14th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

GolfRSA duo throws down gauntlet at Glendower

14 April 2021 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour challenged its participants this season to #LevelUp, but on the opening day of the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, it was talented GolfRSA squad members Kyra van Kan and Caitlyn Macnab who stepped up to plate.

Macnab, South Africa’s No 1 ranked amateur, already sounded a warning with a fourth place finish in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open and, not surprisingly, the reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion laid down an early marker again.

Confident at the course where she lifted the 2019 Champion of Champions and the 2020 Ekurhuleni Womens Open titles, the 19-year-old Serengeti golfer mixed four birdies with a lone bogey for a solid three-under-par 69 to finish in second, a shot ahead of Lee-Anne Pace, second-season professional Lindi Coetzee and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne from France in joint third.

But even the country’s leading amateur was upstaged on the day by 15-year-old Van Kan, whom she beat in the 2020 SA Women’s Amateur final.

“I’m actually a little overwhelmed,” admitted the junior after a birdie-birdie finish propelled her to the summit on four-under. “I knew I was putting together a good round, but I hardly expected to be leading.”

The GolfRSA B-Squad member kept a clean card on her outward loop and turned two-under. “I had a bit of stumble after the turn, but I was able to eliminate both bogeys.

“I teethed it in the bunker on the first and made a good up-and-down for bogey, but I holed a birdie putt on the third to get back to two-under. On the fourth, I had a silly three-putt, but birdied the next hole. Going to the eighth tee I had no idea what was leading. I hit an okay drive, laid up with a 6-iron and pitched a sand-wedge close for birdie.

“When we got to the ninth tee, the nerves showed up. I smashed a drive with a baby draw and my caddie and I didn’t see where it ended up. We both burst out laughing when we found it just short of water. I guess the adrenaline was really flowing. I wedged it close and holed the putt. That’s when I found out I was leading.”

Although Glendower is her home course, Van Kan had to adjust her game considerably to navigate the set-up. “The course is playing a lot longer that I am used to, so although I know the greens and the bounces well, I couldn’t really count on the home course advantage.

“I had to adjust for the length, like on the seventh. I would usually hit driver, 9-iron or pitching wedge, but I had to hit driver, 3-wood on that hole. It was a learning curve, and I am really pleased that I could raise my game. My playing partners, Lauren Taylor from England and Lenanda van der Watt, were great and really helped me to get comfortable quickly on this the big stage.”

Joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on day two could be intimidating, but the Bedfordview teenager is excited at the prospect of playing alongside two of her golfing heroes.

“I know Cat really well as we both play for Ekurhuleni and I’m excited to play with Lee-Anne. She has been a big inspiration for us juniors and it should be another great learning opportunity for me,” said Van Kan. “I am going to stick to my game plan and the way I approached the course today. Keep a positive mindset and play the course to the strengths of my game.”

LPGA Tour champion Lee-Anne Pace will start the second round of the Jabra Ladies Classic just two off the pace after an opening two-under-par 70 at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Pace will be the one to watch on moving day.

The Paarl golfer has collected 13 trophies on the local circuit in addition to nine Ladies European Tour titles and success on the LPGA Tour. She started on the 10th and was two-under and bogey-free through 12 holes when she made successive bogeys on four and five, which she overturned with a brace of birdies on the seventh and eighth holes.

Spain’s Maria Beautell, Sweden’s Anna Magnusson and Michaela Fletcher share sixth on one-under, with five-time champion Stacy Bregman a further shot back in joint ninth with Nina Pegova from Poland and Belgium’s Charlotte de Corte.

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


13th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

French winners target more success at Jabra Ladies Classic

DOWERGLEN, 13 April 2021 – A six-strong French delegation led by 2019 champion Anne-Lise Caudal will be targeting more Sunshine Ladies Tour success when the Jabra Ladies Classic tees off at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April.

The French clique will be among 31 international golfers representing 13 countries hoping to deny the local line-up a home victory in the R600 000 showpiece.

Caudal will draw on the positive memories of her 2019 win at the acclaimed Dowerglen championship course.

“Winning the first Jabra Ladies Classic will definitely always stand out as one of the best weeks of my career,” said the former Ladies European Tour (LET) winner, who broke a seven-year winning drought to capture the inaugural title by two shots.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour plays such a vital role in our preparation for the LET season and we were extremely pleased when Jabra extended their fantastic support of women’s golf to South Africa. I had so many close calls on the Sunshine Ladies Tour over the years and to finally pull it through it in a Jabra event was very special. Hopefully I can do it again this week.”

Compatriot Manon Gidali is also targeting a repeat performance, following her maiden win in last week’s Cape Town Ladies Open.

The 27-year-old Parisian drained a 25-foot clutch putt on the 18th hole in a play-off at Royal Cape Golf Club to beat South Africa’s Cara Gorlei for glory in the season-opener.

“I only competed in the Investec South African Women’s Open before and I am really happy that I decided to play the full Sunshine Ladies Tour this year. The win has sunk in now and I am eager to see if I can win two this season. It would be a dream start to 2021,” said Gidali.

Young gun Ivanna Samu hopes to celebrate her comeback to professional golf with strong performance in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

South African rising star Ivanna Samu warns that the South African young guns have even more reason to raise their games this week with a fantastic incentive from Jabra on the table.

“A lot of the younger girls had planned to compete on the international mini-tours or to go to qualifying schools for the LPGA or LET and everything was put on ice by the pandemic,” Samu said. “The Sunshine Ladies Tour not only gives us an opportunity to get back on track, but the leading player in the top five this week who is not already exempt on the LET will get to play in the Jabra Ladies Open.

“That is a huge incentive, because the Jabra Ladies Open is the qualifying tournament for the Evian Championship. The international players will have to bring their A-game to keep us at bay.”

For the 20-year-old Supreme Golf Academy player the 2020 season was particularly trying, as she had to delay her comeback to competitive golf once again.

“I made a really great start to my pro career on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, but then I suffered a series of setbacks. A back injury took me out of the game for months, and I lost another year when I battled with cancer. Then the pandemic stole last year, so I am raring to go.”

Samu said the challenges over the last two years have taught her some important lessons.

“I was used to dominating and winning as an amateur, and turning pro was a much bigger learning curve than I expected. The last two years have taught me to dial back my expectations; to be patient and to take things one day at a time.

“I’m really looking forward to returning to Glendower. It’s one of my most favourite courses and the layout sets up nicely for me, but I am also taking that philosophy on to the golf course. Don’t look too far ahead, but rather play shot-for-shot and hole-by-hole.”

Gorlei, too, has put the disappointment of last week’s play-off loss in the rear-view mirror.

“I drew a lot of positives from Royal Cape. I had to come from behind to get myself in the play-off. Now I just need to step it up another level,” said the 25-year-old Arkansas University graduate.

South Africa’s No 1 ranked Caitlyn Macnab, coming off a fourth place finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open, will lead the 11-strong amateur challenge at the layout where she lifted the 2020 Ekurhuleni Open and the 2019 GolfRSA Champion of Champions titles.

Other amateurs to watch include 2020 Swiss Junior National champion Elena Moosmann, Amanda Majsterek from Poland and Ekurhuleni junior Kiera Floyd, who impressed with a third place finish in the first edition of the Jabra Ladies Classic.

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


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


6th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai completes brilliant wire-to-wire win at Glendower

6 March 2020 – Ashleigh Buhai slept on the lead for two straight nights and on Friday, South Africa’s top ranked golfer completed her march to victory in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club in fine style.

The only player in the 77-strong international field to break the 200 mark, Buhai celebrated her 11th Sunshine Ladies Tour title – and 14th career win – with a winning total of 17-under-par 199.

The 30-year-old honorary member opened her campaign at the championship layout with a blistering 63 and retained the overnight lead with a 69 in the second round. She began the final day three shots clear of Stacy Bregman and four ahead of local fan favourite Casandra Hall.

Birdies at the first and third holes kept Bregman at bay and a third gain on the par four ninth took Buhai through the turn with a four-shot cushion.

Bregman managed to close the gap with back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12 and a Buhai bogey on the par five 13th reduced the deficit to two shots, but Buhai extinguished Bregman’s title hopes with a brilliant approach into par five 15th. After holing a confident 15-foot putt for three, she drained a 20-footer on the short 17th and closed out a five-shot victory with par at the last.

“Obviously I’m thrilled with the golf I played over the last three days; to shoot 17-under in three rounds is pretty to good golf, even if I say so myself,” said the delighted Buhai after her final round five-under 67.

“Coming home after a top 13 on the LPGA Tour in Australia and then playing the kind of golf I did here shows that the work I’ve been doing with my coach Doug Wood is really paying off.

“I knew going into the final round that Stacy and Casandra were going to come at me. Although we had sunny weather the last two days, the course was still soft and you could fire at the pins.

“The way I am swinging it, I just trusted what I was doing. They had to catch me. If I make a few birdies, they would have to make two or three more, so I felt very comfortable going out there.”

Buhai found the water on the par-five 13th but atoned for the lone bogey with a strong finish.

“Stacy pulled it back after the turn, but I just continued to hit to the spaces I needed to. I stood on the 14th after the drop and thought if I made two birdies going home I’d be good. And I made an eagle and a birdie,” she said.

“I had 194 metres to a tucked pin on the left and I went with a 5-wood. The ball was lying perfectly, just a little above my feet. I could trust what the slope would do and drew it into the flag. It came out perfectly. On 17, the pin was also tucked on the left but the wind helped off the right. It was a similar yardage to the second round. I hit a flighted 7-iron in and it held the line beautifully.”

Buhai enjoyed sharing another victory on home soil with husband David on the bag.

“Dave and I don’t do this full-time anymore, because we want to stay married,” she joked. “No-one knows my game better and there is no-one I trust more. It’s brilliant to celebrate another win with him. We almost have a full-house now. The only one I haven’t won is the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, because it doesn’t fit in with my schedule.”

Buhai also applauded Jabra for extending their investment in the women’s professional game to the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“It’s really fantastic to see a foreign company backing golf in South Africa and to have JB (Jean-Baptiste Pain – Jabra Managing Director South EMEA) driving this is incredible, because he is so passionate about growing women’s professional golf. Not only did Jabra increase our prize money from R200 000 to R600 000 this year, but they also offered the first non-exempt player in the top five a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour. This event has two qualifying spots for the Evian Championship.

“The international interest from the players continues to increase, because our tour is perfectly positioned at the start of the season. I sincerely hope that JB and Jabra will inspire more foreign investors so we can grow the tour.”

Meanwhile Bregman may have had to settle for second after a final round 69, but the runner-up finish carried 620 points, which propelled her to the summit of the Investec Order of Merit. It’s an advantageous position for Bregman ahead of the final event – the Investec South African Women’s Open. The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner topped the standings in 2018 and could bank the R100 000 bonus again with another strong showing at Westlake Golf Club next week.

Ladies European Tour (LET) rookie Hall was equally pleased with her performance ahead of the co-sanctioned €200 000 season-finale in Cape Town.

“It will be my first LET start and I’m taking a lot of confidence from this performance to Westlake. Hopefully the wind is merciful and I can get my foot on the Order of Merit,” the 20-year-old said.

With Buhai, Bregman and rookie Hall already exempt it was Scotland’s Jane Turner that earned the start in the Jabra Ladies Open as the first non-exempt player in the top five.

Turner, who won the Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters at San Lameer just two weeks ago, made a trio of birdies on the bounce from the 12th and a further gain at 17 to register a final round 71 that lifted her to fourth on five-under 211.

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


4th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sizzling 63 sees Buhai surge to the top in Jabra

4 March 2020 – Olympics-bound Ashleigh Buhai equalled her lowest career round at Glendower Golf Club with a stunning 63, which saw her surge into a four-shot lead in the opening round of the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Open on Wednesday.

It was a spectacular start to the penultimate event of the 2020 Sunshine Ladies Tour season for Buhai, who overhauled Stacy Bregman for the top spot.

Bregman had earlier ramped up the fans with a flawless five-under 67, while 21-year-old Kelsey Nicholas stunned with a four-under 68 to finish a further shot back in third.

Mimmi Bergman from Sweden and Nicole Garcia carded rounds of 69 to share fourth, but local favourite Casandra Hall missed out on the three-way tie for fifth after a late bogey on the par four 16th saw her sign for 70.

Nobuhle Dlamini – back in action after a two week stint on the Ladies European Tour in Australia – dropped two shots early in the round, but the eSwatini golfer rallied with a trio of birdies to grab a seat on the distinctly international bus on one-under.

The 2019 Investec Order of Merit winner shares seventh with Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters champion Jane Turner from Scotland, India’s Shamilla Nicollet, Caroline Rominger from Switzerland, Dutch golfer Pasqualle Coffa, Leticia Rad-Anderica from Germany and South Africa’s Nicole Schoeman, who leads the 10-strong amateur challenge.

The day belonged to three-time former Investec SA Women’s Open Champion Buhai.

After an opening pair of birdies, the 28-year-old Johannesburg golfer followed a third gain on the seventh with an eagle on the par five eighth. She atoned for a lone bogey on the ninth with five birdies on the bounce from the par four 12th, which propelled her to the summit.

Just a little over a year since Buhai picked up her 10th title on the local circuit with a wire-to-wire performance in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene Country Club, South Africa’s leading golfer was delighted to set a blistering pace in her first start of the season.

“I’ve had a couple of other 63s before – on the East and West courses at my home club (Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club), at Durban Country Club and at Greenbay on the LPGA Tour – so it’s tough to compare, but it felt great to put a 63 on the card at Glendower, ” Buhai said.

“I believe it’s the lowest score since the changes to the course, but we had placing, so it won’t be an official course record. After all the rain on Sunday and Monday, the course played long and it was challenging in the wind. I played really well in Australia so my game was in good shape and I did some work with my coach Doug Wood last week. I hit my drives and long irons really well and I could wedge it close because the greens are still soft and receptive.

“I holed a nice 20-footer on the first and nearly holed my approach on the second, so it was a really great start. The next couple of holes is a tough stretch, but I kept it going and took advantage on seven and eight. I hit a bad tee shot on nine and took my punishment.

“I hit it close on 10 and 11 and missed the putts, but on 12 holed the birdie putt and that sparked the run. I hit a great bunker shot from 30 metres to eight foot on 13, a good 9-iron on 14 and holed a downhill putt and I got a little lucky on 15 after pulling my tee shot. Just knocked it on and holed a 25-footer for birdie. I Nice birdies, but that’s what happens when things are going your way.

“On 16, I made a really good birdie. I was in the left rough and I hit a hybrid about 20 foot left of the pin where I had to hit it too, and holed the putt. The last two holes was a little scrappy, but I scrambled well and I was proud of myself for saving two great pars. Really pleased with this start.”

The round was by no means stress-free, but her more relaxed attitude took the edge off.

“I’ve worked hard to stay more relaxed during the round and it is definitely helping me to score. I knew there is an expectation for me to do well, but I try not to put pressure on myself.”

Bregman has also been working hard on improvements to her game in the off-season and began to see the fruit of her labour in the Joburg Ladies Open last week.

“I played really well at Soweto Country Club, but I got a few unlucky bounces and I couldn’t quite get the measure of the greens,” Bregman said. “I felt confident, though, with the game I was bringing to Glendower. I hit a lot of fairways and greens today and I putted really well.

“Unfortunately I lipped out for birdie on the par five eighth, but I’m happy with birdies on two. The greens are absolutely awesome; you just have to allow enough break and trust your green reading. This course is such a good test of golf and probably one of the best courses in the country. To shoot five-under in a bogey-free round; I’m pretty chuffed with that.”

Nicholas, playing in her second season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, was equally delighted with her performance. “I had four birdies on the front and I made a great birdie on 17. It was so unexpected. I was 15 metres away, but my caddie and I agreed on the line quickly and I just committed to the putt.

“It was in the whole way. I’ve never thrived at Glendower. My caddie kept saying its home course advantage and I kept saying Glendower and I don’t get along; I’m just over the moon with a 68,” said the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington golfer.

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

 

 


3rd March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai, Caudal & company ready to blast at Glendower

3 March 2020 – The LPGA Tour’s loss is the definitely the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s gain as fan favourite Ashleigh Buhai joins the star-studded line up of the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March.

Buhai plans to play Thailand and Singapore following a top 13 finish in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open was derailed when the LPGA Tour cancelled three events in Asia due to health concerns and advisories around the coronavirus.

“I was due to play the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake next week, but things didn’t quite work out. In a sense it was disappointing, because I played nicely in Australia and I was looking forward to the next two events,” she said.

“It was like they pulled the handbrake on me just when I was catching some form, but at least it’s a win for me; I got to come home and compete in the Jabra Ladies Classic this week.”

The success of the first Jabra Ladies Classic led to an increased purse of R600 000. In addition the 77-strong player field will be also be vying for the prime prize – a start in the Jabra Ladies Open for the winner on the Ladies European Tour, which also serves the qualifying tournament for the Evian Championship.

“We are very happy and very proud to present the second Jabra Ladies Classic in partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Glendower Golf Club,” said Jean-Baptiste Pain, Managing Director South EMEA.

“We decided to raise the prize money for the second edition of this tournament from R200 000 and the  Jabra Ladies Open happening in France will also see a significant increase in its prize money and a full LET category for the 2020 edition. This shows a continuing commitment from Jabra to support women’s golf and women’s sports across the globe.”

South Africa’s top ranked Ashleigh Buhai will spearhead the local challenge in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March; credit Shannon Naidoo.

Buhai will lead the South African challenge alongside current Investec Order of Merit leader Lejan Lewthwaite, five-time winner Stacy Bregman and in-form Monique Smit, who triumphed in last week’s Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club.

The 30-year-old’s affinity with Glendower is well-documented and she lifted the first of her 10 Sunshine Ladies Tour titles at Glendower in the 2014 Chase to the Investec Cup.

“I attended the academy at Glendower from a young age, so I’ve been playing the course for about 20 years. ‘The Old Lady’ is one of my firm favourites and it’s to be back here,” Buhai said.

“I think a little local knowledge will help, but with all the rain in the last two days, you can pretty much fire at the flags. Hopefully we don’t get any more rain and the course can dry up and really show its teeth.

“There is an expectation that I should do well here, so there is a little added pressure, but I’ve been following the tour and the girls are playing some exceptional golf. I will have to play well and I can’t take anything for granted.”

Thirty-six international competitors from 15 countries will be in action at Glendower this week, spearheaded by defending champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France, three-time Ladies European Tour winner Florentyna Parker from England and eSwatini golfer Nobuhle Dlamini – last year’s Investec Order of Merit champion.

Defending champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France will spearhead the international challenge in the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 4-6 March; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Caudal is looking forward to taking up her title defence despite a niggling wrist injury.

“After a nice top six finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open I was feeling really confident about the season, but then I aggravated an old wrist injury,” said Caudal, who ended a seven-year title drought with a two-shot victory on four-under 212 last year.

“I have been resting my wrist and receiving treatment and it has improved. I couldn’t practice after I received an injection two weeks ago, but I hit the ball very well in the pro-am. The conditions were tough in the wind and the course is very wet, but I didn’t have too much discomfort.

“On this course, every aspect of your game has to be sharp. You have to drive it well to position yourself for your approach shots, your short irons and wedges have to be on point and you have to putt well. There is no hiding on this golf course. It will punish any weakness in your game.”

Dlamini has worn the bridesmaid tag twice at Glendower – losing a four-hole play-off to South Korea’s Carrie Park in 2017 and again to Caudal last year. The eSwatini golfer is also back from competing in Australia and hoping this week is third time lucky.

“I was a bit tired in my first start on the Ladies European Tour, but I was so happy to make the cut in the Women’s New South Wales Open last week. I had a few bad holes, but overall my game was solid and I was driving the ball well,” she said. “I’m dog tired after the flight from Australian, but I’m really happy we are playing Glendower this week. I love this course and I know it really well. You can’t get over-confident on this course, but if you show ‘The Old Lady’ respect, she will reward you.”

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


22nd March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Caudal charges back to winning ways with Jabra

22 March 2019 – The slogan this past week at the first Jabra Ladies Classic on the Sunshine Ladies Tour was ‘Make Life Sound Better’. Life is definitely sounding super sweet for Anne-Lise Caudal after she edged out crowd favourite Nobuhle Dlamini to win the inaugural tournament on Friday.

The French golfer closed out a two-shot victory on four-under 212 with a one-over-par 73 to end a seven-year winning drought at Glendower Golf Club.

Dlamini from Swaziland carded 75 to finish second, while 14-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Ebotse returned a 73 to take the amateur honours with a third-place finish on level par.

Victory earned Caudal a winner’s cheque worth R28 000, 250 points that lifted her to fifth in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit race and a start in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in May.

Sopping wet, but smiling broadly after her fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour pros doused her on the 18th green, the Saint-Jean de Luz native said: “This is my first win since I beat Laura Davies in the 2012 Unicredit German Ladies Open and this is a really special moment for me. A win is a win, and it doesn’t matter if it is here or on the Ladies European Tour. You still have to play to win. I am so very, very happy to be a champion again.”

Caudal and Dlamini were tied for the lead on five-under at the start of the final round, but Dlamini had the early advantage after Caudal got off to a bogey start.

“I hit a bad tee shot and I had a bad lie; I struggled to make a bogey, but I like the par five, the second,” said Caudal. “I hit two great shots, pitched it close and made the birdie putt to get back to level for the day. It’s always good to make a birdie after a bogey when you are leading, because that puts the pressure on your opponent.”

Caudal had further bogeys at four and six, while Dlamini also backpedalled with bogeys at two and six and a triple at the par four seventh.

The Swazi national matched Caudal with a birdie at 10, but Caudal took a two-shot lead and never relented. Both players birdied the par five 15th and bogeyed the short 17 before closing out the round with pars at 18.

“It wasn’t pretty golf,” Caudal said. “Nobby hit a few bad shots off the tee, but she rallied with great par saves. I didn’t strike the ball as well as I did in the second round and I wasn’t in the best form with the putter, but I managed to make a bunch of pars to keep the momentum going.”

A recurring wrist injury hampered her comeback to the elite level in the sport, but Caudal believes she is back on an upward curve. “I feel like a winner again,” she said.

“I’ve been competing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour for six years, but this year is the first time that I have played the full season. I built a lot of confidence here; I came second and I was in the leading group a few times in the last two months. I’ve always built good form when I play three or four weeks in a row and I knew I was heading for a good week.”

Caudal was instrumental in bring Jabra to South Africa and elated that she could win the first event for her sponsor.

“I wanted to win for Jabra this week, to show them they are backing a winning horse. I wanted to get into the Jabra Ladies Open on merit, not with an invitation. I hope they will give the spot to Nobby,” she said.

“I’m really glad Jabra came out to the tournament this week and could see for themselves what a great circuit the Sunshine Ladies Tour is. The standard is high, it is a very competitive and there wonderful players who are great ambassadors for golf and South Africa.”

Caudal – the fifth new international champion on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season – will go head-to-head with Dlamini again in the season-finale Joburg Ladies Open and the French golfer backs herself for more success at Soweto Country Club next week.

“I think next week is going to be another tight one,” she said. “It’s always tight at the end of the season and we are playing for big prize money, too, but I think I could challenge for two in a row. But first we are going to celebrate with a braai tonight at Nicole Garcia’s house.”

2019 Jabra Ladies Classic champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France with leading amateur Kiera Floyd, who finished third overall at Glendower Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Floyd, who birdied the two par fives on the back nine and the par three 17th to finish third, received some special commendation from the 2019 Jabra Ladies Classic champion during prize giving.

“Kiera is going to be a star one day,” Caudal said. “She is just 14, but she didn’t back down from us in the last group and she played to win. She hits it so far and her short-game is really strong, so it won’t be long before she starts winning titles on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.”

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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.