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29th January 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

New dates set for 8th Sunshine Ladies Tour season

The Sunshine Ladies Tour announced its revised schedule for the 2021 season and will launch in April with a bumper run of six events, including an exciting format change for the season finale Investec South African Women’s Open.

“While the country was still in the throes of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in January, we took a decision for the safety of our players to postpone the start of our eighth season. Our amazing sponsors, partners and host venues embraced this decision and we are excited to announce the new dates, starting in April,” said Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager Pauli van Meersbergen.

The Cape Town Ladies Open will kick off the season at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April. Over the next four weeks, the tour will travel to Gauteng, Sun City and the Garden Route before returning to the Mother City for the season-finale.

The Jabra Ladies Classic celebrates its third season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour at Glendower Golf Club from 14-16 April, followed by the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

The sixth Joburg Ladies Open returns to its home at Soweto Country Club from 28-30 April and the annual Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am – played concurrently with the Sunshine Tour’s Challenge Tour co-sanctioned Dimension Data Pro-Am – takes place from 7-9 May in George, before the tour circles back to the Mother City for the final showpiece.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open will once again be co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour,” Van Meersbergen added.

“Our flagship event will carry a prize fund of €200 000 (approximately R3.6-million) and Westlake Golf Club will host the event for a fourth consecutive year from 13-16 May. We are excited to announce that, for the first time on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the tournament will be decided over 72 holes.

“We may be starting later than originally planned, but we are delighted to offer our members nearly R6-million in prize money, some exciting incentives and the race to the Investec Order of Merit bonus prize of R100 000.”

The 2021 Investec Order of Merit is based on a points system and the race for glory commences at the Cape Town Ladies Open and wraps up with the Investec South African Women’s Open.

Peta Dixon, Head of Sponsorships Investec SA, said:

“We at Investec take great pride in our involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour since 2014: Not only as the title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open and the Investec Order of Merit, but also through our support of our players performing on the international stage. We strive to create platforms and opportunities that further develop women’s sport in South Africa and are proud of how The Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown in the last seven years. The increase in international participation speaks volumes of the high standard of competition.

“Thanks to the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s partnership with the Ladies European Tour, the format change of the Investec South African Women’s Open is now befitting the status of South Africa’s flagship event. As a 72-hole tournament, the Investec South African Women’s Open now joins the premier events on the international calendar.”

Margie Whitehouse, chair of the Women’s Professional Golf Association, said:

“We are very pleased for all the competitors that the 2021 season is going ahead. We look forward to seeing our top talents in action, to welcome the international campaigners to our shores and to offer our new crop of rookies and the young amateurs coming through the ranks a fantastic opportunity to gain invaluable experience to further their careers.”

2021 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR REVISED SCHEDULE

APRIL
7-9 Cape Town Ladies Open
      R200 000
Royal Cape Golf Club

14-16 Jabra Ladies Classic
      R600 000
Glendower Golf Club

21-23 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
      R400 000
Gary Player Country Club

28-30 Joburg Ladies Open
      R500 000
Soweto Country Club

MAY
7-9 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
      R600 000
R100 000 Better Ball Pro-Am

13-16 Investec South African Women’s Open*
      €200 000
Westlake Golf Club
* co-sanctioned with the Ladies European 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


14th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

LET Rookie Hewson wins Investec SA Women’s Open

14 March 2020 – Alice Hewson could not have wished for a better start to launch her professional career on the Ladies European Tour.

On a warm and tranquil Saturday in the City of Cape Town, the 22-year-old rookie from Hemel Hempstead in England lifted the Investec South African Women’s Open title in her first start, coming from behind to triumph by a shot at Westlake Golf Club.

“It feels absolutely incredible and it really is a dream come true. I don’t have words, really. Growing up as a kid, all I could ever dream of was playing on the Ladies European Tour and to win in my first event is just indescribable,” said Hewson, who turned professional in September and finished fifth at LET Q-School in January.

“This has definitely happened a lot quicker than I thought it would. I was hoping to get off to a nice steady start, but this is definitely a good thing!”

Hewson lagged three strokes off the pace from the overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany at the start of the final day.

She sacrificed a birdie at the first hole with a bogey on the third, but she quickly clawed back the gain on the five-under-par. She entered a four-way share of the lead after nine holes and then took pole position after all three players in the final group bogeyed the 10th hole.

With a bogey of her own on the 11th, Hewson dropped back into a share of the lead, but then broke away from the pack when she holed a 20-footer for birdie on the par five 13th.

From that point until the closing hole, no-one could catch her.

What could have turned into disaster for a lesser player turned into triumph after Hewson found the trees with her tee shot on the 18th.

Her second shot hit some branches, causing the ball to drop back down into the rough, but she played a gutsy chip shot up to the green and then holed a seven foot putt for par to complete a round of 71, ending on five-under-par.

“The 18th was a highlight because I was still in trouble after my third shot, and the other highlight of my round was the long putt I sunk on 13,” said the 2019 European Ladies’ Amateur Champion. “Most of the week my putting has been very good, and my driving. I just went out there to play my own game. This golf course can play pretty tough and it’s going to give some shots back to you so I tried to keep my game super steady and make some birdies.”

When asked if she was concerned about whether the tournament should have been played, given the Coronavirus pandemic, Hewson replied: “I think it was definitely the right decision that we continued playing this week and it’s also the right decision that future tournaments have been cancelled. Everyone was already here and there is a very low risk here so it was nice to be able to play some golf, because we don’t know how long it’s going to be now before we will again.”

South Africa’s Monique Smit sealed the 2020 Investec Order of Merit title with a joint runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

South Africa’s Monique Smit recorded a career best finish on the LET when she holed a clutch putt for par at the last for a round of 71 to share second with Sweden’s Emma Nilsson.

Smit, who claimed the final card on offer at the LET Q-School in Spain in January when she edged out three players in a sudden-death play-off, not only bagged R276 000 for her joint runner-up finish, but also edged out Stacy Bregman for the R100 000 bonus that came with winning the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Investec Order of Merit.

“Right now, this is very surreal. Standing over the final putt, I knew I had to hole it and I just felt extremely confident. That one putt earned me my travel money for the year,” said the Oubaai golfer.

“We lost mom last year and in every tournament this season, I’ve thought of her. She caddied for me in every season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour since it launched in 2014. Today, standing over that final putt, I really felt her. That putt was for my mom.”

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Manon de Roey from Belgium and Manon Gidali from France tied for fourth, while overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany tied for seventh.

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley claimed the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur – and only amateur to make the cut – in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley was the only amateur to survive the cut to 60 and ties and was the proud recipient of the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur. The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation carded a final round 75 to tie for 46th.

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
#InvestecSAWomensOpen
#InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf

FACEBOOK:
@SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club

TWITTER:
@SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC

INSTAGRAM:
@sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub

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


13th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Cowan takes control of Investec South African Women’s Open

13 March 2020 – Germany’s Olivia Cowan took control of the Investec South African Women’s Open on Friday, firing a second round 67 to lead on seven-under-par heading into the final round in the City of Cape Town.

The 23-year-old began the afternoon session in hot and sunny conditions on the 10th tee at Westlake Golf Club and picked up her first birdie at the par five 13th.

She then made three birdies on the bounce from the 15th and, although she gave a shot back to the field on the par-four second hole, further gains on the fourth and fifth holes kept her well clear of the chasing pack.

The fourth-year Ladies European Tour campaigner dropped another shot the ninth, but will still sleep on a three-shot cushion.

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Alice Hewson from England and Italian Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso are three strokes back in joint second.

Recent Joburg Ladies Open winner Monique Smit leads the local challenge. The Oubaai golfer carded 71 to finish a further stroke adrift and is tied for fifth with Emma Nilsson from Sweden.

Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland and Megan MacLaren from England share seventh on two-under.

A second round 73 saw three-time winner Ashleigh Buhai slip to one-over. The South African rounds out the top 10 on 143 with Maha Haddioui from Marocco, Manon de Roey from Belgium, Dane Emily Pedersen and Sweden’s Julia Engstrom.

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley was the only amateur to survive the cut to 60 and ties, which fell at six-over 150. The GolfRSA Elite Squad player and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member will start the last 18 holes on five-over after rounds of 75 and 74.

Thirty-six hole leader Cowan is long overdue for a first Ladies European Tour (LET) victory.

A three-time winner on the LET Access Series in 2015, Cowan won the Order of Merit the same year to graduate to the LET. In 2019, she enjoyed a career best tie for second in the Dubai Moonlight Classic, which was one of her seven top-10 finishes from 16 starts last season.

She ended seventh on the LET Order of Merit for the second year in a row.

She made a strong start to the 2020 season in Australia, tying for 15th in the Women’s New South Wales Open and began the week in South Africa ranked 28th on the Race to Costa del Sol Order of Merit.

Cowan attributed her solid second round to great ball striking and a well-behaved putter.

“I was hitting my irons close and putting well, so I had a lot of chances, most of which I took. I’d say the best part of my game was my putting,” she said.

The German golfer also felt that the tranquil conditions over the last two days had a lot to do with the bunched leaderboard.

“The last two years here was really windy, so it’s very different this year. The course is in great shape and it’s like any other LPGA or LET tournament, so really good. This is my first time being in this position, where I am a couple of shots ahead of everyone going into the final round. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what happens.”

MacDonald was just as happy to be in contention.

“I’m very happy with my performance today. I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of chances. I’m very happy going into the final round, given how I played today. The greens were a little slower in the morning, but when it started to heat up they sped up significantly. You could notice the difference and that was something I had to be mindful of during the round.”

English rookie Hewson, making her LET debut in Cape Town, was thrilled with back-to-back 70s and the chance to emulate last year’s rookie winner Diksha Dagar from India. “I’m really happy with how I played today. I putted really well, which I think is really important out here.

“I also drove the ball well. I just need to work on my irons. It was nice to get off to a good start with three birdies in a row from my second hole. It’s very exciting to be here and finally get going. This is living the dream, really. It’s a beautiful place to be. Yesterday we went to Boulders Beach to see the penguins and maybe tomorrow we will go to Table Mountain.”

Colombotto Rosso, who dug deep for a 71, made some incredible par saving putts.

“I enjoyed the round a lot. I rolled in some incredible putts, from 10 or 15 metres, which I didn’t expect and I was having a lot of fun. I’m trying to take the best out of every round. Chipping in this kikuyu grass is a bit challenging for me, so I’m really proud that I made some birdies when I needed to. I was a little angry with the bogey on 16, so it was good that I birdied 18. It was a good comeback.”

The final round tees off at 08h30 on Sunday morning from both tees.

The final putts are expected to drop around 15h00 and the 2020 champion will be crowned on the 18th green. In addition to lifting the spectacular trophy, the winner also receives a two year exemption on the LET until the end of 2021, a place in the Evian Championship and the AIG Women’s British Open and the lion’s share of the 200,000 prize fund.

Moodley will be standing next to the champion, receiving the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur.

LINK TO LEADERBOARD:

https://sunshineladiestour.com/?page_id=25983&tourn=L007&season=220S&report=https://lds.ocs-africa.com/tic/tmscores.cgi?tourn=L007~season=220S~params=P*2ESC02~

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
#InvestecSAWomensOpen
#InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf

FACEBOOK:
@SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club

TWITTER:
@SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC

INSTAGRAM:
@sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub

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

 

 

 


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Garcia shares early lead in Investec SA Women’s Open

12 March 2020 – Nicole Garcia made the most of the tranquil conditions at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday to grab a share of the four-way tie for the lead on the opening day of the €200 000 Investec SA Women’s Open in the City of Cape Town.

The three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner offset a lone bogey with a quartet of birdies for a 69 to join Olivia Cowan from Austria, Italian Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso and Sweden’s Emma Nilsson at the summit on three-under-par.

Compatriot Ashleigh Buhai – the highest ranked player in the field at 103rd in the world rankings and a three-time champion of the event – birdied her last two holes for two-under 70 and sits just one off the pace in a six-way tie at two-under.

Joburg Ladies Open champion Monique Smit also finished in the pack on two-under.

The South African pair shares fifth with 2018 SA Women’s Masters champion Laura Fuenfstueck from Germany, Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands, Scotland’s Kelsey Macdonald, Alice Hewson from England, and first reserve Rachel Rossel from Switzerland, who made the most of her late call-up to fight her way into the top 10.

A birdie at the last hole will see former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace start the second round two off the pace in joint 12th alongside 2020 Women’s New South Wales Open winner and Race to Costa Del Sol frontrunner Julia Engström from Sweden.

Garcia underwent hip surgery in early 2019 and spent most of the season on the bench.

A few weeks ago the Ebotse golfer showed glimpses of a return to form when she lifted the individual title and won the team competition in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge.

“Having the Sunshine Ladies Tour to get back into form was brilliant,” she said. “I could gauge where my game was at, what I needed to work on and what needed attention. I was hitting the ball well and putting nicely, but the scores just wasn’t quite there. Then the win came at Serengeti and that brought a huge injection of confidence.”

Garcia was understandably delighted to get her 2020 Ladies European Tour campaign off to a promising start.

“We teed off in no wind at Westlake, which is very rare, and I had my caddie Graeme Rowan back on the bag after a year off, so I was looking forward to the round and I am really happy that I was able to get a score going.”

Garcia started on the 10th tee and racked up three birdies going out.

“I birdied the first to go four-under, but I didn’t hit a very good shot out of the bunker on the par five (fourth) and paid for it with a bogey. I short-sided myself on the left of the green, but I wasn’t too upset not making the up-and-down, though. The pin was only three or four paces from where I was aiming, so I walked off with a soft bogey, really.

“I had a few more birdie opportunities that I didn’t make, so I was really happy with the three birdies I managed to convert. I hit the ball close on a couple of holes coming home, too. It’s gratifying to see that the game is there. The putting, too. I have the right pace and line, but I just had a few too many lip-outs.

“These greens are very tricky. Just the slightest misread with the grain on the greens here will cause to miss. It’s not dropping into the cup in the centre; it kind of catches the hole on the side and then it either drops or rings the hole. Hopefully I can come to grips with it on Friday and keep the momentum going.”

Buhai clinched her 11th title on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a commanding five-shot victory in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club. She turned two-over, but a gentle prod from her husband and caddie Dave out the LPGA Tour campaigner on the attack.

“Conditions were pretty much perfect, but I didn’t get off to a good start and I turned two-over through nine,” said the 30-year-old. “I was playing a bit defensive and Dave (husband and caddie) gave me a little pep-talk. He said we played good last week and told me to get aggressive, so I did and I made four birdies down the back nine.

“The greens were quite firm when we played them in the afternoon on Wednesday, so I was just sussing them out. Once I started trusting what I was doing, I started to attack the pins. You have to shape it a little off the tee-boxes here; draws and fades.

“I am driving it pretty well and that helps, because the course is pretty narrow and the greens are small. I’m very happy with the way I’m striking the ball, because I’ve put myself in play. It was a bit iffy on the front, but I dialled it in on the back.”

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley leads the amateur challenge for the Jackie Mercer Trophy after carding a two-over-par 74 to finish alongside current Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman, among others.

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
#InvestecSAWomensOpen
#InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf

FACEBOOK:
@SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club

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

 

 


11th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Ammies set to savour Investec SA Women’s Open experience

11 March 2020 – The next generation of golfing stars are ready to step into the limelight when the Investec SA Women’s Open tees off on Thursday.

Amateurs Kaiyuree Moodley, Bianca Wernich and Bobbi Brown survived baptism of fire in Monday’s qualifying round to join top ranked Kaylah Williams and Megan Streicher in the 132-playing field of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s season-finale at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March.

A vicious south-easterly wind ravaged the championship layout during the qualifier, with a 55 km per hour gale pushing the field to their limits as they vied for five coveted spots into the Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event.

Moodley stands 1.5 metres tall in her socks and weighs just 45kg, but the former Youth Olympian put up a valiant fight. She was gob-smacked, however, to learn that a frustrating nine-over-par 81 netted her the runner-up spot.

“I was absolutely horrified by my score, until Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman told me that it was a great score given the conditions,” the 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member said.

“I thought I didn’t have a chance. I was ready to fly home. We were standing around exchanging war stories when they came walking back to the clubhouse. They called it quits after two holes. They said par was at least 76 or 77 in that wind and they were confident I would make it.

“I couldn’t believe it when I finished second, but I’m definitely not complaining. It’s a dream come true to tee it up in the Investec SA Women’s Open. I’ve played a few Sunshine Ladies Tour events this season, and you can’t put a price on the experience you gain playing with the professionals.”

Moodley finished one stroke shy of winner Clara Pietri from Switzerland, while Wernich from Stellenbosch carded 83 to finish behind third-placed Christina Gloor from Sweden.

Lanky Brown from Steenberg, who plays out of neighbouring Steenberg Golf Club, came into the event fresh after a joint runner-up finish in the Nomads SA Juniors International at Rondebosch Golf Club. The 16-year-old clinched the final spot with a round of 84.

Moodley, a member of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, said it was a shock to arrive to a windless Westlake for the practice round on Tuesday.

“The wind was so brutal in the qualifier that I had to take two to three clubs extra,” she said. “For instance, I teed my ball up low and hit my driver about 210 metres. I hit 3-wood for my second and still finished about 50 metres short of the green and had to chip and putt to save par. In Tuesday’s practice round, I hit a normal drive, reached the green with a 5-wood and made a good birdie.

“I was really lucky to play nine holes with Nicole and Stacy. They gave me lots of advice and it was great to get an inside look to their processes and their course management. I’m really looking forward to getting the championship underway.”

Williams, who ranks second on the GolfRSA Open Amateur standings, caddied for fellow Western Province junior Jordan Rothman last year and is champing at the bit to get her own campaign underway.

“I was still struggling with my knee, so I couldn’t tee it up. It was really interesting to be on the bag, though, and to absorb the atmosphere and the splendour of the event. I also watched the professionals closely and learned a lot about course management and mental strength.”

The Durbanville golfer went under the knife late last year, but her knee held up really well during the recent Aon SA Amateur, where she tied for third in the stroke play championship. She also reached the semi-final with Moodley in the match play championship.

“It’s great to back to full speed again. I think, aside from winning the SA Women’s Amateur and Stroke Play, all amateurs dream of playing the national open and for me personally, it’s a dream come true. I am definitely a better golfer now and hopefully I can put everything I’ve learned in the last 12 months into practice at Westlake.

”It can be very intimidating to play with the pros, so I’m just going to do my level best not to let the occasion trip me up. I want to treat it as any other golf tournament and focus on playing the course.”

For the professionals, victory will come with a winner’s exemption on the Ladies European Tour, starts in the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship, the lion’s share of the €200 000 purse and the coveted trophy.

The leading amateur will lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy and stand alongside the 2020 champion in the winner’s circle. “I am sure the trophy will be in there somewhere in the back of everyone’s minds, but I think we will be more focussed on hitting the best shots we can make, while learning as much as possible from the experience,” said Streicher from Swellendam. “It’s the real big leagues and it’s an incredible opportunity for us to learn and gain experience. I can’t wait to get started.”

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhais all in for four of a kind at Westlake

11 March 2020 – After a stellar start to their 2020 campaign, Ashleigh and David Buhai have arrived in Cape Town targeting a fourth Investec South African Women’s Open crown this week.

The €200 000 event, co-sanctioned between the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa, tees off at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March.

Of course, Ashleigh Buhai needs no introduction.

Unless you missed the part where she married her bagman David in December 2016 and you’re still wondering what in the world happened to Ashleigh Simon.

Ashleigh’s storied amateur career was nothing short of outstanding. Not only did she dominate the local amateur golf scene and distinguished herself on the international stage, but she won four professional events as an amateur, including the 2004 SA Women’s Open at the age of 14 and the SA Women’s Masters at age 16.

The youngest champion and only amateur to achieve this feat in both flagship events, she claimed her second SA Women’s Open title in 2007 – also as an amateur – and expectations were huge when she joined the paid ranks in June that same year.

Buhai didn’t disappoint.

Within three starts, she broke her duck on the Ladies European Tour and won again in 2011. After a couple of injury plagued seasons, Ashleigh relaunched her career with three successive victories in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s first season in 2014.

And she kept adding to the tally, pushing it to 11 last week with a five-shot victory in the Jabra Ladies Classic. The commanding win at Glendower Golf Club after rounds of 63, 69 and 67 was on the cards after her most successful season on the LPGA Tour last year.

She finished 56th on the final Race to CME Globe and 51st on the official LPGA Money List. A top five finish in the AIG British Women’s Open also earned her an impressive 22nd place finish on the final Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.

And, thanks to a top 13 finish in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open three weeks ago, she has moved to 103rd in the Rolex Women’s Golf Ranking.

“I keep an eye on the rankings and the numbers, but really, all I want to do is go out there and play good golf,” said Buhai after the win at Glendower.

“I have had some really bad breaks and some great successes. It’s crazy how things happen in life, but when you choose sport as a career, you have to accept the good and the bad. It’s just the way it is. I’m very positive and I’m very relaxed and it’s a good combination for me. I finally feel like I can win any week and I’m just going to stay patient and let it happen.”

While campaigning on the LPGA Tour, Ashleigh employs Tanya Patterson, who caddied for Dame Laura Davies for six years and David works for Swede Madelene Sagstrőm, who won the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio in January and is currently second on the Money List.

But back on home soil, when David picks up the bag for Ashleigh, good things tend to happen.

“We split up on the golf course when we got married, because we want to stay married,” Ashleigh jokes. “Seriously though, we decided together that it wasn’t fair on me to carry all the pressure and this way our finances are not only dependant on my results. It’s worked out brilliantly for us, but when we get home, I get to have him back on the bag.

“Dave has shared in 10 of my 11 wins here at home, including the Investec SA Women’s Open in 2018. He knows my game inside out and he knows just what to say and when. It’s always special to share that winning moment with him.”

Does Ashleigh believe there is another win on the horizon at Westlake?

“I am more experienced, more patient and more relaxed and I believe I am a much better golfer now than a few years ago. My coach and I spent the last few weeks honing a few things and the game feels solid. I am confident starting this week, so yes, I would love to become the first four-time winner of our national Open.

“Yes, it will be in the back of my mind when I tee it up at Westlake on Thursday. I love the course; it really suits my eye and it sets up well for my game. But if the wind blows as hard as it did on Monday, it going to be open season on the trophy.”

The Investec SA Women’s Open tees off on Thursday, 12 March.

The 132-playing field will be cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes and the champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March. In addition to the lion’s share of the purse, the winner receives a Winner’s Category exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship.

At the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000.

Entry to the 2020 event is free, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse.

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
#InvestecSAWomensOpen
#InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf

FACEBOOK:
@SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club

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@sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Engström eyes early season double in Cape Town

Sweden’s Julia Engström will be gunning for back-to-back titles when she leads the international line-up in the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open from Thursday.

A fortnight ago, the 18-year-old became the second teenager to win in as many events on the 2020 Ladies European Tour.

Engström lifted the Women’s New South Wales Open title, following on from 17-year-old Australian amateur Steph Kyriacou’s triumph in the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville. The early Race to Costa Del Sol frontrunner is ready to draw on the fond memories of her last visit to Cape Town 12 months ago, when she finished seventh at Westlake Golf Club.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open was a great start to the year and set me up for a terrific season,” said Engström, who finished 20th on last year’s Order of Merit.

“I really enjoyed playing at Westlake Golf Club last year and played pretty well. The course is quite similar to Dubbo Golf Club in New South Wales in a way, where I won two weeks ago. It’s not as tight, but it just as tree-lined. Set against Table Mountain, there are breath-taking views on every hole. It’s also quite a lot windier! Hopefully I can play well again this year as I would love to finish within the top five on the 2020 Race to Costa Del Sol.”

The Investec SA Women’s Open, dating back to 1988, is the oldest and most prestigious professional women’s golf tournament in South Africa.

The 2020 edition, hosted by the City of Cape Town at Westlake Golf Club for a third successive year, will offer prize money of €200 000 (approximately R3 160 288).

The traditional parklands layout at the foot of Table Mountain has proved a happy hunting ground for both rising and established stars of the game the last two years.

Indian teenager Diksha Dagar from India was propelled to instant stardom when she won in just her fourth professional start last year. The 18-year-old tapped in for par on the final hole to edge out former three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace by a stroke last year.

Dagar feels that her game is in good shape ahead of her title defence.

“It feels so good to be here in Cape Town and it brings back good memories from last year. I hope I will play well again this year,” said 19-year-old left-hander from New Delhi. “My game has improved and I feel much stronger. I’m very confident, playing well and I believe I can defend the title.”

Dagar rose to 14th on the Race to Costa Del Sol following a tie for 32nd in the season-opening Australian Ladies Classic Bonville and joint seventh in the Women’s New South Wales Open.

She has been working hard on her fitness to achieve her main goal for the year – representing India in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – and it’s a goal she is likely to achieve, sitting in 56th position amongst the field of 60 on the Olympic Golf Rankings at present.

Qualification would be a phenomenal achievement in itself after she represented India at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics, where she earned a silver medal.

“The Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world and it would be such an honour to represent India. I am so excited about the Olympics this year. My goal is to keep playing well and to play my best to earn my spot in the field in Japan.”

Meanwhile South Africa’s own Ashleigh Buhai, who won the title twice as an amateur and remains the youngest champion at age 14, will be representing South Africa for a second time the Olympics. The 30-year-old wrote her name into the record books in 2018 when she won the national title for a third time to equal Pace’s hat-trick of titles.

The field of 132 professionals from 26 countries includes seven players from the top 20 on the current Race to Costa Del Sol Rankings including Engström (1), Manon de Roey from Belgium (2), Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson (13), Dagar (14), Saana Nuutinen from Finland (16), Scotland’s Michele Thomson (17) and Meghan MacLaren from England (20).

Buhai, who went wire-to-wire in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower last week, leads a strong local challenge that includes all six champions from the current Sunshine Ladies Tour season – Pace (Cape Town Ladies Open), Lejan Lewthwaite (SuperSport Ladies Challenge and Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am), Scotland’s Jane Turner (Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters), Nicole Garcia (Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge), Monique Smit (Joburg Ladies Open) and, as well as the current Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman.

The field will be cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes and the champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March.

In addition to the lion’s share of the purse, the winner receives a Winner’s Category exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and Evian Championship.

At the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000.

Entry to the 2020 event is free, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse.

Click HERE for the Entry List

Click HERE for the First Round Draw

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big guns arrive for Investec SA Women’s Open

10 March 2020 – The cream of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour are converging on Westlake Golf Club in the City of Cape Town for 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open from 12-14 March.

As always, there is a palpable sense of nervous anticipation as the golfers start to arrive in the Mother City for South Africa’s flagship event and the mouth-watering incentives the season-finale carries.

This year is no exception as the big guns of the game prepare to contest a €200 000 prize fund, starts in two Majors this year – the AIG Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship – plus a winner’s category exemption on the Ladies European Tour (LET) until the end of 2021 and the right to be acclaimed as South Africa’s Women’s Open champion.

The field this year exudes class and quality, from three-time champions Ashleigh Buhai and Lee-Anne Pace to defending champion Diksha Dagar from India.

The international posse also stars former Ladies European Tour winners Carly Booth from Sweden’s Jenny Haglund and Scotland, England’s Meghan Maclaren, while Julia Engstrom from Sweden and Manon de Roey from Belgium have to be firm favourites after respectively finishing first and second in the recent Women’s New South Wales Open.

The local challenge is further strengthened by 2020 champions Monique Smit, Nicole Garcia, Lejan Lewthwaite, already a two-time winner this season

Westlake awaits those consumed with a desire to lift the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s flagship trophy in the same swashbuckling style of Buhai’s final round match to victory in 2018 or the 18-year-old Dagar’s masterful maiden professional win 12 months ago.

Pace – the only player to win the championship in three successive years since its inception in 1988 – came agonisingly close to becoming the championship’s first four-time winner last year, while the event’s only amateur champion Buhai is just as hungry to re-write the annals of South African golfing history with a fourth triumph.

The favourites are joined by reigning Investec Order of Merit leader Stacy Bregman.

The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner was second in 2013, third in 2017 and fourth in 2019 and, buoyed by a third place finish in the Joburg Ladies Open and second in last week’s Jabra Ladies Classic, Bregman will be looking to ride that rich vein of form to finally clinch that elusive first LET win.

Karolin Lampert and Michelle Thompson should not be overlooked, either.

Germany’s Lampert is kicking off her Ladies European Tour season in Cape Town channelling the positive vibes of a runner-up finish in 2018, while Thompson gave chase last year. Coming off a top 10 finish in Australia the Scot can be expected to be among the early frontrunners this week.

A total of 90 players from the LET will tee it up in the 2020 Investec SA Women’s Open, while the balance of the 132 playing field includes 30 leading players on the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour player rankings, five invitations, two leading amateurs and five qualifiers.

Sisters Yolanda and Siviwe Duma from East London, India’s Sharmila Nicollet, Swiss golfer Caroline Rominger and Rosie Davies from England secured invitations, while the two leading amateurs are GolfRSA Elite Squad members Kaylah Williams from Western Province and Boland golfer Megan Streicher.

Clara Petrie from Switzerland won the qualifying round on Monday, with compatriot Christina Gloor and amateur trio Kaiyuree Moodley, Bobbi Brown and Bianca Wernich securing the final four spots.

The tournament tees off on Thursday, 12 March and there will be a cut to 60 and ties after 36 holes. The champion will be crowned on Saturday, 14 March and, at the conclusion of the Investec SA Women’s Open, the winner of the 2020 Investec Order of Merit will also be crowned and receive a bonus prize of R100 000.

Entry is free to the 2020 event, there is ample parking and public catering is available at the clubhouse.

FOLLOW THE 2020 INVESTEC SA WOMEN’S OPEN ON SOCIAL MEDIA
#InvestecSAWomensOpen
#InvestecGolf / #itstartshere / #sunshineladiestour / #empoweringwomensgolf

FACEBOOK:
@SAWomensOpen @sunshineladiestour @LadiesEuropeanTour @CityofCT @Westlake.Golf.Club

TWITTER:
@SAWomensOpen @SLadiesTour @LETgolf @Investec @CityofCT @WestlakeGC

INSTAGRAM:
@sawomensopen @sunshineladiestour @letgolf @investec @cityofct @westlakegolfclub

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


24th December 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dagar aiming for Investec SA Women’s Open double

24 December 2019 – Defending champion Diksha Dagar is eager to recreate the performance that propelled her to instant stardom when she takes up her title defence in the Investec South African Women’s Open from 12-14 March 2020.

The 18-year-old deaf golfer became the youngest Indian woman to win on the distinguished Ladies European Tour with a popular and emotional maiden victory last March.

In a stellar amateur career, during which she won silver at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics and represented India at the 2018 Asian Games, Dagar earned a reputation for her brand of fearless and aggressive golf.

The left-hander entertained the crowds on the final day of the Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece when she edged out three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace with a three-under-par 69. A one-shot triumph in just her fourth start in the paid ranks was a dream debut for the New Delhi rookie, who is ready to draw on the fond memories of her last visit to Westlake Golf Club as she bids for a second career win.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open is very special to me and will always remain so for the rest of my life, being my first professional win,” Dagar said.

“For me, this Ladies European Tour event happens to be the door to a world of golfing opportunities and I would love to come back and play the Westlake golf course. Greetings and best wishes to the sponsors, Investec, the Sunshine Ladies Tour, organisers and everyone associated with the event.”

The Investec South African Women’s Open, established by the Women’s PGA of South Africa (WPGA) in 1988, is the oldest and most prestigious professional women’s golf tournament in South Africa.

The 2020 edition, hosted by the City of Cape Town at Westlake Golf Club for a third successive year, will offer prize money of €200 000 (approximately R3 160 288).

Chair of the Women’s PGA of South Africa Margie Whitehouse said: “The Investec South African Women’s Open is our flagship event and the 32nd anniversary coincides with the sixth time we are co-sanctioning this event with the Ladies European Tour.

“We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation once again to Investec for not only their title sponsorship, but also for all they are doing for women’s golf, as well as to the City of Cape Town for their continued support.”

Westlake Golf Club might be a happy hunting ground for Dagar, but following the new joint venture between the Ladies European Tour and LPGA Tour, the stakes have been significantly raised in 2020.

“It’s very exciting to be part of the Investec South African Women’s Open and we are extremely proud to continue our collaboration with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA,” said Ladies European Tour Acting CEO Alexandra Armas. “We would like to recognise the important contribution of Investec and the City of Cape Town, whose support is providing a platform that aids the promotion and development of talented women in sport.

“We recently announced a new joint venture partnership with the LPGA and have already seen a dramatic impact on our 2020 schedule – an impact that will benefit all local and international players who compete in LET sanctioned tournaments, allowing them to pursue their dreams through the game of golf.”

Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan believes the collaboration between the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and the Ladies European Tour significantly elevates the status of the event and golf development in Southern Africa.

“The 2020 champion will not only walk away with the lion’s share of the prize money and Rolex World Golf Ranking points, but will also earn a Tournament Winner’s Category Exemption on the Ladies European Tour for the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 season, as well as exemption into the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship,” Nathan said.

“These incentives befit the status of the WPGA’s flagship event and we sincerely hope that one of our Sunshine Ladies Tour members will step up to the challenge in our season finale to secure a major boost for her career.”

Lesley Copeman from promoters World Sports Promotions commended all the parties involved in elevating the status of the national championship to a world-class event.

“Partnering with the Ladies European Tour ensures that the WPGA and Sunshine Ladies Tour present a world-class championship with the strength of the field through the greater depth of the international players currently competing in Europe,” Copeman said.

“We are very pleased that Investec and the City of Cape Town continue to back our flagship event, taking it from strength to strength. Not only do our South African golf enthusiasts get to watch high quality women’s golf, but we also have the opportunity to showcase Cape Town, one of the best travel destinations in the world, to our international guests.”

City of Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato said the City of Cape Town is delighted that the Investec South African Women’s Open will again be teeing off in the Mother City as part of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“As host city and sponsor of the tournament, we are proud to be associated with an event that elevates women in sports. In addition to the professional golfers, this event provides an opportunity to young talented sportswomen to showcase their gifts on an international stage.  We are looking forward to welcoming all the participants to Africa’s Leading Festival and Event Destination.”

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