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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.


16th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dagar drives to victory in Investec SA Women’s Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


14th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Two-way tie leads at windy Westlake

14 March 2019 – The Cape southeaster played havoc with scoring in the opening round of the R2-million Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday, with only two players in the 126-players field producing sub-par rounds.

Lina Boqvist from Sweden and Austrian Sarah Schober made the most of an early start to set an uncontested clubhouse target with rounds of one-under 71.

A level-par 72 on day one of the R2-million Investec SA Women’s Open left three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace one shot off the lead at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The pair will head into the second round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event with a slender one shot advantage over three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace from South Africa, Spain’s Silvia Banon and Sweden’s Julia Engstrom.

The afternoon field was in for particular punishment from the wind, which gusted over 50 kilometres per hour at times. Best placed among the late starters were Scotland’s Carly Booth and South African Stacy Bregman, who posted battling scores of two-over 72.

“It was really blowing out there,” exclaimed Kim Williams, a three-time former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner after a wild round that featured just three pars. The Pretoria golfer got off to a great start and held the outright lead at three-under midway. “I hit driver, 4-iron into the last hole, where we would normally be going in with a wedge.”

Williams eventually signed for a four-over 76, which was good enough for a share of 22nd.

Boqvist, who claimed a top-10 finish here last year, has started her season well and sits 18th on the Ladies European

Lina Boqvist from Sweden shares the first round lead in the R2-million Investec SA Women’s Open after an opening one-under-par 71 at Westlake Golf Club; credit Tristan Jones / LET

Tour (LET) Order of Merit.

“It’s been a long stretch away from home,” she said of a five-week spell that has taken her from her native Sweden to Abu Dhabi, across Australia and finally to Cape Town.

“I really want to finish well because I love this event. I finished strong here last year and I really want to do the same. My putting is really good right now and I feel like I can trust it, so hopefully it continues to get better through the rest of the week.”

Austria’s Schober mixed three birdies with two bogeys and managed to get into the clubhouse before the worst of the wind hit.

“Conditions were really tough out there,” she explained. “Off the tee it’s quite narrow and the holes that play into the wind can be very long.

“I think I made some really good decisions; that and some great was putting was the key to shooting 71. I had only 26 putts today. I didn’t hit many greens but I made some great up-and-downs at most of them to save par and keep the round going.”

Former top ranked South African amateur Kajal Mistry continued her fine run of form with a one-over-par 73 to grab a share of sixth.

More importantly for her, the GolfRSA Elite Squad player boosted her chances to make a run for the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit prize. Mistry currently second sits in third position, behind only Nobuhle Dlamini in the lead and less than 100 points behind Lejan Lewthwaite.

Dlamini from Swaziland, who won the sixth edition of the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge, carded 80, while SA Women’s Masters champion Lewthwaite signed for a battling 82.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai opened with 75, but will take comfort from the fact that she finished only four shots off the lead. The three-time champion failed to take advantage of the early start or the par fives and will need a better second round to get herself into contention for successive victories at Westlake.

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Xasa tees off the Investec SA Women’s Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


6th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

England’s Matharu on top at Cape Town Ladies Open

6 March 2019 – There were some familiar faces at the top end of the Sunshine Ladies Tour leaderboard as the first round of the Cape Town Ladies Open drew to a close at Royal Cape Golf Club on Wednesday.

Former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu fired a round of six-under-par 68 to surge to the top of the leaderboard.

The English golfer, who finished tie-sixth at the same venue a year ago, opened up a two-shot lead over last year’s runner up Anne-Lise Caudal from France, Tiia Kovisto from Finland and GolfRSA Elite Squad amateur Kajal Mistry.

Former SA Women’s champion Tandi McCallum, fifth last year, was a further shot back.

Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace got her campaign off to a solid start with a round of two-under 72 to share sixth with Lora Assad and Carrie Park from South Korea.

Matharu offset seven birdies, including five on the back nine, with a solitary bogey to stamp her authority on the event. “I didn’t really see that round coming to be honest,” the Leeds golfer explained.

“I’ve been struggling over the last couple of weeks, but it all came together today. If you’re accurate off the tee, Royal Cape offers a lot of birdie chances and I managed to do that today, so I’m very happy with the start.”

Caudal – still hunting a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – lost to Pace in a playoff last year and she was delighted to find form on a course that she feels very comfortable on.

“I played really well today,” she said. “I hit two bad drives, which cost me two bogeys and I missed two short birdie putts, but I’m very happy with four under. I just love this course.”

With the Royal Cape course set up to a par of 74 that includes no fewer than six par fives, there are lots of scoring opportunities for the players.

Finland’s Kovisto took full advantage on the back nine with a pair of eagles and a birdie en route to her 70 in her debut on the local circuit.

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kajal Mistry is in contention for a fourth week running after opening with a four-under 70 in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Mistry also continued her fine form in the Sunshine Ladies Tour series. The diminutive 18-year-old, who is headed to the University of Arkansas in the US later this year, has had finishes of tie-20th, tie-4th, 2nd and tie-8th this season. Returning to the same venue where she won the Nomads SA Rose Bowl Championship last year sparked another positive performance and her round of 70 included three birdies, an eagle and a bogey.

“I’m really enjoying myself out here. I think it’s the relief of being finished with school and having golf as my main focus for the next few months,” explained the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member.

“I’m really excited about going to college, but until then it’s going to be golf, golf and more golf. I’ve played with a lot of good professionals and learned a lot about course management, which I’ve applied to my own game and it’s paying off.”

Pace is still very much in the hunt for a 12th Sunshine Ladies Tour title after carding 72.

Two-time champion Lee-Anne Pace was happy to get her title defence off to a solid start in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“I struck the ball fantastically,” Pace said. “I just received my new Apex irons from Callaway. They go quite a bit further, but I’ve adjusted well. I had the speed of the greens, but I just wasn’t hitting them on line. If a few more dropped, I might even have been leading.”

Having experienced the course in benign conditions during the opening round, players can look forward to some challenging conditions for the rest of the week, with rain predicted for the second round and strong winds expected in the final round.

“I’m normally pretty good in windy conditions, so it won’t bother me,” explained Pace. “I’m only a few shots behind, and on a course like this anything can happen.”

Park, who led the South African Amateur rankings for two years, and holds three Sunshine Ladies Tour trophies, could be the dark horse to watch.

The petite Seoul golfer only landed in Cape Town last night and got it to four-under and co-led the opening round at one stage on four-under. “I was a little tired today, but that’s nothing a good night’s sleep won’t fix,” said Park, who took her winning form on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last year to her native Korea, where she landed a card for the Korean LPGA Tour this year with a top 20 finish on the qualifying tour.

“I timed coming back to South Africa so I could play Royal Cape this week. I’ve always loved this course. I’m just four shots behind and with six par fives, you can make that up pretty quickly if you’re driving the ball well and the putter is behaving.”

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


5th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini gunning for City of Cape Town success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


28th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Turner cruises to victory at Wild Coast

28 February 2019 – Scot Jane Turner produced a stunning display of front running golf as she fired a closing two-under 68 to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, by four shots at the Wild Coast Country Club on Thursday.

The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club player ended on a four-under 206 total, four ahead of her nearest challenger and defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini. The three-time Sunshine Tour winner carded rounds of 68 72 and 70, meaning Turner was the only player to finish under par for the week.

In third on her own was fellow Scot Gabrielle Macdonal of Craigelaw Golf Club on two-over after rounds of 72 70 70. Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Kelsey Nicholas, who plays out of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, finished a further shot adrift after posting scores of 78 68 67.

England’s Kiran Matharu and another Scot Hannah McCook – in her second start as a professional – tied for fifth on four-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad star Kajal Mistry.

The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member, who lost in a play-off in last week’s SA Women’s Masters, won the leading amateur prize for a second week running.

Turner began her round with a birdie three on the second after chipping in for birdie when it looked like a bogey was on the cards. That was just the impetus she needed, as she picked up two more gains before the turn.

On the 10th, she holed a long putt for birdie to get to six-under and open a five-shot lead over Dlamini. Two bogeys in a final three holes ultimately mattered little, as the 29-year-old had done enough to claim an emphatic triumph.

“It feels amazing what I was able to do today,” said Turner. “I can’t even begin to describe what this feels like. I have no control of what anyone else does, so I needed to keep the ball in play and hit greens in regulation and make my birdies.

“Once the putts started dropping, it gave me confidence. I actually holed a great putt on 10 for birdie. Everything just came together.”

The bogeys on 16 and 17, made it a slightly more nervy finish for Turner – but she said her mind-set still remained the same.

“I had my first bogey of the day on 16 and just like nine yesterday, it was because of a bad drive,” she said. ‘I almost managed to save my par, but left the putt short. 17 was just a bad three-putt – my first one of the week.

“The mind-set was the same coming down 18, hit the fairway and hit the green and I almost made my birdie.”

Turner has a category 12 exemption (meaning limited status) on the Ladies European Tour (LET), but has tasted victory once before as a professional at the 2017 Bossey Ladies event on the LET Access Series.

“This is my second win and they both sit right up there. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you’re going home with a trophy – although I’m not sure how it’s going to fit on the plane!”

The win at the Wild Coast though, will give Turner a massive confidence boost as she heads to the Cape Town Ladies Open and then the Investec South African Women’s Open in two weeks, where the winner will receive full exemption on the LET for the rest of the season.

“The SA Open will be a great springboard for any player who does well there,” Turner said. “It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I put together a lot of birdies this week, and I just need to keep that going in Cape Town.”

In response to the question why the purple shirts on the final day, Turner responded.

“I was diagnosed with epilepsy almost seven years ago. I do my bit to raise awareness for the condition and I hope to make a tradition of wearing purple in the final round, because purple is the colour for all epilepsy charities. Under Armour give me my clothing, and there are quite a few purple tee shirts. So all my final days are going to be purple, just like Tiger and his red.”

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