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16th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Magnificent Macnab makes history in Jabra Ladies Classic

16 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab made South African golfing history on Friday when she powered to an eight-stroke victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.

In a scintillating final round, the 19-year-old GolfRSA No 1 sealed the victory in breath-taking fashion, firing five birdies on the back nine for a closing five-under-par 67.

In doing so, Macnab became the first amateur winner on the South African women’s professional golf circuit since Ashleigh Buhai (née Simon) lifted her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007.

“It’s awesome; it’s such a great feeling,” said Macnab with a smile that could light up the world.

The Ekurhuleni golfer had squandered a chance to rewrite the history books in season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club with a double bogey late in the final round, and she was absolutely delighted to pull it through in her home union.

“There is a lot more pressure when you play against the pros, and last week in Cape Town I didn’t really know what to expect heading into the final day with a share of the lead. This week I felt a lot more comfortable, and playing here at Glendower was great. It’s such a great course.

“I won the SA Women’s Stroke Play and the Match Play twice and I’ve represented South Africa a few times, so this ranks right up there with my greatest achievements. I am over the moon, because this is huge for me. The theme this year is #levelup and I feel I’ve done exactly that. Following in Ashleigh’s shoes is pretty special.

“I wanted to come out this season to build experience and to test myself. There are still a lot of amazing opportunities ahead this season, but it’s a fantastic feeling to get it done. I’m really grateful to my whole team for getting me here.”

Macnab began the final round with a one-shot lead over Lindi Coetzee and had a three stroke advantage over seasoned winner Lee-Anne Pace.

Two months ago, the Serengeti golfer showed her merciless side as she routed Megan Streicher 11 & 9 in the 36-hole match play final to successfully defend her SA Women’s Amateur title. The amateur was just as ruthless over the last nine holes at Glendower.

Having dropped a trio of shots in her outward loop, Macnab still had a three-shot advantage through the turn and she pulled away from the field with the clinical surge coming home. She notched birdied on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes to give herself an unattainable lead coming down the last hole.

“I started birdie, birdie, but I didn’t actually hit the ball great,” Macnab said. “My swing felt a little bit snappy, so I slowed it down and started driving it really well. I was able to avoid the errant shots that cost me in the previous rounds and the putts were dropping, which always helps.”

GolfRSA No 1 Caitlyn Macnab made history as the first amateur winner in 14 years on the South African women’s professional golf circuit when she powered to an eight-shot victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

As an amateur, Macnab can’t share in the R600 000 purse on offer this week, but the historic achievement does earn her coveted spot in the field of the Jabra Ladies Open. The dual-ranking Ladies European Tour and LET Access Series event is also the qualifying tournament for the season’s fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in France from 22-25 July.

“It’s a fantastic incentive from Jabra. Although I am leaving for Texas Christian University in August to take up a golf scholarship, competing in the Jabra Ladies Open will be an incredible opportunity to build more experience,” said Macnab.

Her 12-under-par total was ultimately eight shots better than her Grant Veenstra Golf Academy stable-mate Nicole Garcia and second-season professional playing partner Coetzee.

Garcia birdied both par fives on the back nine and reduced the gap to six shots with an eagle-two at the 16th, but a double bogey finish for a 68 saw her slip back to tie for second on four-under with Coetzee, who returned a 74.

Kelsey Nicholas, also in her second season in the pro ranks, carded a 71 to grab a share of fourth alongside Pace, who signed for 77, while last year’s Investec Order of Merit winner Monique Smit finished in sixth spot on three-over.

The next stop for the Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners is Sun City, where Lejan Lewthwaite will take up her title defence in the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

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

 


27th January 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Is Dlamini the player to beat in Cape Town?

27 January 2020 – In-form Nobuhle Dlamini will be bidding for a second Investec Order of Merit title when she launches her 2020 Sunshine Ladies Tour season  in the Cape Town Ladies Open this week.

The R200 000 season-opener, hosted by the City of Cape Town for a sixth successive year, will be contested at King David Mowbray Golf Club from 29-31 January.

Coming off a superb showing in the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School in Spain, few would bet against the big-hitting eSwatini golfer starting her seventh season in the pro ranks on a winning note.

As an amateur, Dlamini was a dominant force, but she struggled to transition to the pro ranks.

The pedigree was there, though. She racked up 16 top 10 finishes over the first three years and finally broke her professional duck at the Sun SuperSport Ladies Challenge in 2018.

The self-belief that took her to number two in the amateur world rankings came flooding back and a wave of confidence propelled Dlamini to the top of the standings in 2019.

She won the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and Joburg Ladies Open, had runner-up finishes in the Jabra Ladies Classic and SuperSport Ladies Challenge and confirmed her dominance with further success in the Investec Royal Swazi Ladies and victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Ladies Final.

Dlamini said the key to her overnight success was simple. She didn’t try so hard.

“I’ve been hitting the ball for a very long time and I was just waiting for a break, but I was also trying to force things all the time. I just decided to stop forcing it. I focused on letting the winning come through the process. As a result, I was much more relaxed and the trophies started piling up,” Dlamini said at the end of the 2019 season.

“My mistake when I turned pro was that I tried to change and get my game perfect. But you are not perfect. My advice to any amateur out there would be to not try to change too much. As an amateur, you get to where you are because it works, so don’t change when you turn pro.”

That self-belief – illustrated most emphatically at Fancourt, where she drained a 25-footer at the final hole in the last round with authority to win the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am – was on display once again in Spain.

Dlamini took her blistering form to Europe, but playing on a limited card proved frustrating. She struggled to build momentum with sporadic starts and weeks off between events and narrowly missed the top 80 cut-off at the end of the 2019 on the Ladies European Tour (LET) season.

Forced to make a return trip to Q-School this January, she landed a top 10 spot with an opening round of 71 on the South Course at the Real Golf La Manga Club and kept her foot on the pedal throughout the gruelling 90-hole test to clinch her card for 2020 with a top eight finish.

With her future in Europe secure, Dlamini has set some lofty goals for 2020 Sunshine Ladies Tour – a second Investec Order of Merit title and the ultimate prize: in the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open at West Lake Golf Club in March.

After a week of challenging weather conditions in Spain, the infamous Cape Town South Easter could further strengthen her chances.

Dlamini won the SA Women’s Amateur Championship in a windy 36-hole final at Royal Cape in 2009. She went wire-to-wire at Umhlali Country Club in even more blustery conditions to lift the 2012 SA Women’s Stroke Play title. She braved gale force conditions at the Wild Coast Sun for her maiden success on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. And gusty conditions put a premium on her skills in the wind during both of her victory marches on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour last year.

“Windy conditions doesn’t worry me,” said the 27-year-old.

“You have to play the holes into the wind well. On the other holes, if it comes off the side or from behind, you can use it to your advantage. King David Mowbray is a tight course and heavily tree-lined. The greens usually roll true and have a nice speed. You just have to keep the ball in play. The course isn’t that long and if you are hitting it well, you can score. The key this week to winning is fairways, greens and a hot putter.”

To get the first win in the bag though, Dlamini will have to stave off some stiff competition all seeking a winning start in the City of Cape Town.

Former LPGA Tour winner Lee-Anne Pace is hunting a hat-trick of Cape Town Ladies Open titles and last year’s Jabra Ladies Classic champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France hopes to convert successive runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2019 into gold, while former Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia, Kim Williams and Jane Turner from Wales, and reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite are also primed to pose a significant challenge.

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