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17th December 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour poised for glorious run in 2020

CAPE TOWN, 17 December 2019 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour will celebrate its seventh season in early 2020 with a bumper schedule, exciting incentives, including a R100 000 bonus for the 2020 Investec Order of Merit winner and record prize money of nearly R6-million on offer.

“The Sunshine Ladies Tour is a very attractive proposition at the start of the season and we are extremely proud of the tremendous growth the local circuit has enjoyed since we launched in 2014,” said Sunshine Tour commissioner Selwyn Nathan.

“In addition to increases in prize money and events, the Sunshine Ladies Tour attracted foreign investment and our international participation has tripled in the last three years, with over 40 foreign players competing in South Africa in 2019.

“The local professional circuit is healthy, strong and growing thanks to the continued commitment of Investec and our other key stakeholders and sponsors, including Jabra, Dimension Data, Sun International, SuperSport, Canon, the cities of Joburg and Cape Town, the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality and Serengeti Estates.

“We are excited to offer great playing opportunities for the local and international professionals and a great stage for the rising stars in the amateur ranks to gain experience with eight events, including the co-sanctioned Investec South African Women’s Open in 2020.”

The seventh edition of the Sunshine Ladies Tour will feature seven Investec Order of Merit counting events, plus the new limited field Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge.

The 2020 season launches at the end of January with the Cape Town Ladies Open at King David Mowbray Golf Club and returns to the Mother City, where the prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open will fittingly draw the curtain on the seventh season in mid-March.

“This November, the LPGA and Ladies European Tour announced an exciting new 50-50 partnership with the joint goal of further developing women’s professional golf in Europe and we are thrilled to be a part of this development,” Nathan said.

“The Ladies European Tour will once again co-sanction the Investec South African Women’s Open with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA. In addition to the lion’s share of the €200 000 purse, the 2020 champion will receive a Tournament Winner’s Category Exemption on the Ladies European Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour for the remainder of the 2020 season and the 2021 season, as well as exemption into two of the five Majors in 2020 – the Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship.

“The winner of the Jabra Ladies Classic will also earn exemption for the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the final qualifying event for the Evian Championship. These are fantastic incentives for our players to gain an advantage on the global stage. We look forward to crowning a new Investec Order of Merit champion at the end of what promises to be another exciting and exhilarating season.”

Danni Dixon, Head of Marketing Investec SA, said Investec is proud of their continued involvement with the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“It has been very exciting to be part of the launch of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and to witness the growth of the local women’s professional circuit over the last six years,” Dixon said.

“The partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour showcases the incredible talent of women in sport and ensures that these golfers are recognised for their dedication. We are invested in the next generation of women, and we are thrilled with the Investec South African Women’s Open as a platform that aids the promotion and growth of South African women in sport.

“It is further encouraging to see that our local professional and amateur women golfers benefit from our partnership with Sunshine Ladies Tour, by giving them an opportunity to compete on a global stage.”

2019 SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR SCHEDULE
29 – 31 January
Cape Town Ladies Open
King David Mowbray Golf Club
Prizemoney: R200 000

4 – 6 February
SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International
Gary Player Country Club & Lost City Golf Club at Sun City
Prizemoney: R400 000

14 – 16 February
Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am
George Golf Club & Outeniqua Course at Fancourt
Professional Prizemoney: R600 000 / Pro-Am Prizemoney: R100 000

19 – 21 February
South African Women’s Masters
San Lameer Country Club
Prizemoney: R200 000

22-23 February
Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge
Serengeti Estate Par 3 Course
Professional Prizemoney: minimum R150 000 / Team Calcutta Prizemoney: R50 000

26 – 28 February
Joburg Ladies Open
Soweto Country Club
Prizemoney: R500 000

4 – 6 March
Jabra Ladies Classic
Glendower Golf Club
Prizemoney: R600 000

12 – 14 March
Investec South African Women’s Open
Westlake Golf Club
Prizemoney: €200 000

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


2nd August 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai bursts clear at AIG British Women’s Open

2 August 2019 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai moved into a three-shot lead at the halfway point of the AIG Women’s British Open on Friday.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour champion backed up a leading seven-under-65 on day one with a flawless five-under-par round of 67, leaving her an impressive 12-under for the tournament at the Marquess’ Course at Woburn Golf and Country Club.

Buhai will go out in the final pairing with Hinako Shibuno from Japan on Saturday, who carded a 69 to finish in second. American Lizette Salas a further shot behind.

With Buhai playing in the afternoon field, Shibuno made an early move to set the club-house target at eight under.

An early birdie drew Buhai level with Shibuno, but after eight pars on the back nine, the Japanese holed a big putt at the 16th to get back in front:

Buhai was not daunted and saved her best for the final nine holes.

A birdie at the 11th put her back on terms with Shibuno and from there, she kicked on and made the most of the ideal conditions late in the day. On 13, Buhai made an excellent putt from off the fringe of the green, starting a run of three birdies in four holes.

“My goal going out today was to get to double figures,” said the three-time Ladies European Tour winner. “Once I got it to eight…nine…10-under, I felt more comfortable and was able to put my foot down.

“I managed to hit it really close on the 15th hole to like a tap-in birdie, and had a good shot into 16, tucked pin and then holed the putt. I was really steady on the front nine. I didn’t hit many shots close. I birdied my second hole with a good wedge, and hit a few good putts. I

“I’m trying not to keep thinking it’s a Major; it’s just another tournament. I’m really enjoying the way the golf course is playing. I think it helps that the conditions have just been so good and we haven’t had to deal with too many elements.”

The South African has put daylight between herself and her rivals and if she performs to the same standards over the weekend, it’s tough to see how anyone will stop Buhai from clinching her maiden major title.

However, there are a number of quality players within striking distance. .

Local favourite Charley Hull, targeting victory at her home course, tied for fourth, five shots back alongside world number two Sung-hyun Park from South Korea, Frenchwoman Celine Boutier, Bronte Law from England, Germany’s Caroline Masson.

Ko Jin-young from South Korea – winner of the last week’s Evian Championship and ANA Inspiration champion – is targeting her third major title this year. The world number one is on six-under and just five off the pace alongside defending champion Georgia Hall, among others.


1st August 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai takes early command at Woburn

1 August 2019 – Ashleigh Buhai took the first-round lead at the AIG Women’s British Open on Thursday, seeking to become the second South African female Major winner, while South Korea’s Ko Jin-young started well in a quest to win back-to-back Majors.

Buhai’s best previous British Open finish was a tie for 30th in 2017 and she found herself in uncharted territory after notching eight birdies in a seven-under-par 65 at Woburn in Milton Keynes.

She may not have won on the LPGA Tour yet, but Buhai owns three Ladies European Tour titles and 11 victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the experience showed as she recovered from her only bogey on the par-5 11th with consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16.

She headed American Danielle Kang and Japan’s Shibuno Hinako by one stroke, while local favourite Charley Hull was among a group two behind.

Four days after winning the Evian Championship in France, Ko continued her sizzling form with an eventful 68, while English defending champion Georgia Hall shot 69.

Buhai enjoyed a day when everything clicked and perhaps allowed her to dream of compatriot Sally Little as a major champion. Little won the 1980 Women’s PGA Championship and the 1988 du Maurier Classic.

“I’m feeling really confident with the putter and it’s been good the last few weeks,” said the 30-year-old Buhai. “Today I managed to hit a few more greens and rolled in the putts.

“In my last few tournaments, I’ve had three good rounds and one not so good round, so I’m hoping this is the week I can do four good rounds,” said Buhai, whose best finish this year was a tie for 11th. “The last few weeks, I have been just trying to stay mellow and keep everything in check, and it seems to be helping.”

Ko is seeking her third major title of the year after the Evian and ANA Inspiration in California in April.

It was not always such smooth sailing on the greens for the South Korean, who had a four-putt double-bogey at the 14th hole, where she missed a couple of three-footers.

That setback might have demoralised some players, but the world number one is made of sterner stuff.

She bounced back by hitting the cup with her approach shots at the par-five 15th and par-four 18th for what would have been a couple of most unlikely eagles.

Though neither fell in, she converted the birdie putts.

“The back nine was a lot of putts missed,” said Ko. “I tried to finish strong and I got a birdie on 18. It was a huge birdie.”


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.


15th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Rookies in pursuit of Pace at Westlake

15 March 2019 – Former champion Lee-Anne Pace took control of the Investec South African Women’s Open on Friday and opened up a two-shot lead on the chasing pack at Westlake Golf Club on Friday.

The nine-time Ladies European Tour winner mixed five birdies with a solitary bogey for a four-under-par 68 and she will start the final round in familiar territory, having previously lifted the SA Open title in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Playing alongside Pace in the final group on Saturday will be two fearless rookies, both of whom navigated the tight, tree-lined layout with flawless performances.

Indian left-hander Diksha Dagar took route 66 to move into second on two-under with a low round of the tournament and Esther Henseleit, whose five-under 67 lifted the German to third on her own on one-under.

Pace set herself a second round goal of four-under after an even-par 72 in the windy conditions on the first day. “I really wanted to be in contention, especially here in Cape Town where I have some family and friends watching,” said Pace. “I’m so pleased I was able to achieve it.”

After struggling in strong winds on day one, the morning starters arrived to sunny, wind still conditions, but Pace was one of only a handful of players to take advantage of early the scoring opportunities.

In what should serve as an ominous warning to her pursuers, the 11-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner feels that the hard work she had put in over the off-season has given her complete control of her game. “I’m shaping the ball nicely both ways and I’m feeling like I have a lot of control on my approach shots, which is key because some of these greens are quite small,” she explained.

“I didn’t miss many shots today. I left a few putts out there and didn’t take advantage of the par fives I hit in two, so there is still room for improvement.”

Indian rookie and former World Deaf Championship winner Diksha Dagar fired a tournament low six-under-par 66 in the second round to finish within two shots of leader Lee-Anne Pace in the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Dagar was four-over after the first three holes in her opening round, but she settled quickly after the nervous start and signed for a 76. The 19-year-old former World Deaf Championship winner and 2017 Summer Deaflympics silver medallist showed none of the first round nerves as she went around the course in 66 strokes.

“I was on fire today,” said Dagar, who earned her Ladies European Tour card at Qualifying School last December and is making only her fifth start in the pro ranks in Cape Town.

“I only missed one green so I had a lot of birdie opportunities. I had trouble reading the greens in the first round, but I read them really well today. The grain slopes away from the mountain to the sea.

“I really attacked the flags and I hit almost every approach inside 15 feet. I’m happy that I was able to make some putts. It’s the first time that I’m playing in the leading group, so I am just going to shut out what the others are doing and play my own game.”

Rookie Esther Henseleit from Germany fired a five-under-par 67 at Westlake Golf Club to pull within three shots of Investec Investec South African Women’s Open leader Lee-Anne Pace in the second round; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Twenty-year-old Henseleit is another exciting young talent, who turned professional with an impressive handicap of plus seven.

The German racked up birdies on two, seven, eight, 13 and 16 to put herself in contention to claim her maiden Ladies European Tour title. “I’m really happy to be where I am,” beamed the former PING Junior Solheim Cup player. “It’s only my fourth start and I can’t wait to play in the final group. I’m going to go out there and have fun.”

Former Ladies European Tour winners Lydia Hall of Wales and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne of France sit a shot behind the German at level par, alongside England’s Charlotte Thompson.

Two-time Ladies European Tour champion Carly Booth and Meghan MacLaren, who defended her Women’s New South Wales Open title in Australia last week, are within five shots of Pace.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai is the next best-placed South African. The three-time winner carded a level-par 72 to finish at three-over, one shot ahead of compatriot Stacy Bregman, who returned a 74.

Meanwhile GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry was the only amateur to make the cut to 50 and ties, which fell at 10-over.

The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member is five over after rounds of 73 and 76. Mistry is the guaranteed winner of the Jackie Mercer Trophy for the leading amateur and she could overtake Lejan Lewthwaite for second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit if she finishes in the top 40 after the SA Women’s Masters champion missed the cut.

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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.

SOCIAL MEDIA INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN’S OPEN
TWITTER – @SAWomensOpen
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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.”

SOCIAL MEDIA INVESTEC SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN’S OPEN
TWITTER – @SAWomensOpen
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HASHTAG – #InvestecSAWomensOpen

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


12th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite pitching for Sunshine Ladies Tour double

12 March 2019 – Lejan Lewthwaite has her sights set on a Sunshine Ladies Tour double in the 2019 Investec South African Women’s Open, which tees off at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday.

The Benoni golfer already enjoyed a stellar start to her 2019 campaign with a play-off victory in the SA Women’s Masters and is riding a wave of confidence after a top 10 finish in her second start on the Ladies European Tour last Sunday.

Lewthwaite had been knocking on the door since the start of the sixth season with a third place finish in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

She tied for seventh with partner Nobuhle Dlamini in the Serengeti Team Championship and then chased the Swazi golfer all the way to the finish line in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge in George the following week.

A week later, the 28-year-old Investec standout celebrated her maiden win at San Lameer and now she is relishing the prospect of doing it all over again at Westlake Golf Club.

“I’m definitely a much better golfer now than I was a year ago heading into the Investec SA Women’s Open,” said the Serengeti golfer following her tie for 10th in the Women’s New South Wales Open in Australia.

“I am handling a big stage a lot better than I was last year. Competing on the IGT Challenge Tour last year and winning twice taught me a lot on how to keep your perspective when you get into contention and how to win.

“In my previous starts on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and in Europe, I let the status of the event dictate my game and frustration got the better of me. This time, I didn’t paint the Women’s NSW Open as such a big event. I just treated as any other golf tournament and I was able to play my own game. I went into the Women’s NSW Open with a strong mind-set and that’s what I’m bringing to Cape Town this week.

“I’m looking forward to playing Westlake again. I am a lot more confident in my course management and on a tight, tree-lined layout like this, your positioning off the tee is crucial in setting up scoring opportunities. I’m looking forward to good week.”

Lewthwaite will join a host of local and international champions in the R2-million event, co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

Defending champion Ashleigh Buhai, a 10-time winner on the local circuit and three-time Ladies European Tour champion, will be gunning for a fourth victory.

South Korea’s Carrie Park claimed her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a five-shot victory in the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape last week and Dlamini, who leads the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, has also been in threatening form this season.

England’s Meghan MacLaren will be flying high after successfully defending her Women’s NSW Open title with a three-stroke victory on Sunday, while Christine Wolf from Austria and Valdis Thora Jonsdottir from Iceland – fourth and sixth respectively – could also be on the radar in Cape Town.

German golfer Karolin Lambert and last year’s runner-up also showed some great form with a top eight finish in the Australia last week.

Other top contenders inside the top 30 on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit to keep an eye on include Olivia Cowan from Germany, Sweden’s Julia Engstrom, Spanish pair Noemi Jimenez Martin and Silvia Banon and the French pair of Manon Molle and Isabelle Boineau.

Several Sunshine Ladies Tour rookies have also laid down a marker this season for success in the national Open.

Jane Turner claimed a four-shot victory in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club, while fellow Scot Gabrielle Macdonald has climbed to fourth in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit in just four starts.

Entry is free to all three rounds of the Investec SA Women’s Open and there is ample public parking.

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Written and released by Lali Stander 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.


26th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Jessica jets to Wild Coast lead

26 February 2019 – Jessica Dreesbeimdieke scorched her way around the Wild Coast Country Club on Tuesday to open up a two-shot lead on four-under 66 in the first round of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International.

The 22-year-old University of Denver graduate made her debut on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last week at the SA Women’s Masters, and her period of adjustment seems to be over as she carded a round including five birdies in difficult wind conditions.

Dreesbeimdieke eclipsed the performance of defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini of Swaziland, who shares second alongside Scotland’s Laura Murray on two-under 68.

The international domination of the leaderboard continued down to a share of fourth on one-under 69 with three-time winner Bertine Faber tied with France’s Emilie Piquot, Chloe Williams of Wales and the Scot Jane Turner.

Dreesbeimdieke, who had a solitary bogey at the par four fifth, said a strong start to the round helped her find her stride.

“I got off to a really hot start,” said Dreesbeimdieke. “I birdied the first two holes and narrowly missed a birdie on the third. My putting was definitely a lot better today than last week. That’s really what made the difference. My ball-striking has been really consistent lately.”

The psychology and social legal studies major who now lives in Florida, USA, carded eight pars and a birdie on the back nine as the wind began to howl.

“As soon as the wind came up I was just trying to keep my pars going. It was more about managing your game than doing anything crazy. Then I happened to make a birdie on 17, which felt like a hole-in-one with the wind. I aimed 40 metres right of the pin because it was a crosswind, and it finished just left of the hole. I probably made a seven-metre putt for birdie.”

The study of psychology will come in handy in the pressure situations Dreesbeimdieke will encounter in tournament golf.

“I like to think psychology helps me with golf, but then I’d have a tendency to over analyse,” she said. “It definitely helps me with coping techniques and keeping my mind in the right place – which was a challenge when I turned pro.”

Dlamini, meanwhile, went off the 10th and had a slow start to her round with two bogeys and a birdie to turn in one-over. Coming home, the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner clicked into gear with four birdies in five holes from the third, but signed off with a bogey at the par three eighth.

“I started quite solidly, I wasn’t putting great on the front nine, but the game plan was good,” said the big-hitting Swazi golfer. “The one birdie on 12 was good. One over was still okay on the front nine, but I played much better on my second nine.

“I’m happy to be playing here again. I like the course and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tournament, I’m quite solid and consistent. Hopefully I’ll make a few more putts.”

Murray had a fantastic day on the greens, and she made sure to thank the shortest club in her bag after her solid opening round.

“I hit the ball really nicely today, but I holed quite a few putts,” said Murray. “I seemed to get the speed of the greens pretty well. I had 26 putts out there, so I was happy with that. I must have holed a 35-footer for birdie at the first hole, so that was a bonus.”

In addition to her hot putter, the Kippie Lodge Sports and Country member has a secret weapon in her armoury this week – a vital factor in Lejan Lewthwaite’s play-off victory in the SA Women’s Masters last Saturday.

“I picked up Gilbert for this week, who was on Lejan’s bag at San Lameer and he helped me quite a few times with taking the right club,” Murrary said.

GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry, who lost to Lewthwaite at the first extra hole at San Lameer,  is not out of it, either.

The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member offset three bogeys with a trio of birdies for an even-par 70 to tie for eighth with former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England.Ends

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