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5th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

SA’s top pros primed to throw down the gauntlet in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 5 April 2021 – South African leading lights Nicole Garcia, Monique Smit and Lejan Lewthwaite aim to make statement of intent when the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour launches in Cape Town this week.

The eighth season gets underway with the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club from 7-9 April, where the field will vie for the lion’s share of the R200 000 prize fund and an early move on the season-long Investec Order of Merit race.

“Six weeks, six events, more than R6-million in prize money and a load of amazing incentives; you bet we are champing at the bit to get going,” said Garcia.

A three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Garcia missed a full season in 2019 due to hip surgery. She had high hopes of making a comeback last year, but the global Covid-19 pandemic put paid to her plans.

“The last 12 months has been frustrating, especially for the Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigners,” she said. “South Africa went into the Level 5 lockdown shortly after the Investec South African Women’s Open and the LET also pressed pause on their 2020 schedule until August.

“With the long breaks between events and trying to work around all the travel restrictions, the season was really a write-off for most of us. That’s why we all are so eager to push the reset button.

“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times. The Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline this season is “level up” and it is certainly the right time for all of us to embrace that and take things to the next level.”

Smit echoed Garcia’s thoughts.

“It was definitely a season of highs and lows,” said the George golfer, who won the 2020 Investec Order of Merit, courtesy of victory in the Joburg Ladies Open and a runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open.

“It was ironic that I hit the best form of my career in the worst year ever. I had such a fantastic season at home, and qualified for my first AIG Women’s Open. The rest of the season is hardly worth mentioning, but I did qualify as a barista during the lockdown, so there is that silver lining.

“I am really excited to kick off this season with a bang. Besides the prize money, we have so many incentives to shoot for this year. There are chances to secure starts in the Jabra Ladies Open, which is the qualifying event for The Amundi Evian Championship, and the Big Green Egg Dutch Ladies Open in the Netherlands, not to mention all the opportunities this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open offers the South Africans.

“Besides earning tour winner’s status for the LET, it’s the qualifying tournament for the U.S. Women’s Open. Imagine having the chance to qualify for the biggest major right here on home soil.

“Plus, if the winner is a South African, she’ll win the Investec Homegrown Award, which is worth another R100 000. For a seasoned pro or an up-and-coming rookie that’s a huge bonus to use towards travel costs. And, of course, R100 000 for winning the Investec Order of Merit. It’s all to play for this year.”

Lewthwaite, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, hosted by Sun International last year, finished third on the Investec Order of Merit and was primed to play her first full season on the LET.

“I definitely had high hopes after a successful season at home, but at least I did get to play a few LET events and gain some invaluable experience. So I am ready to pick up where I left off and I think this season is going to be incredible.
“We see more international players come out to South Africa year-on-year because the Sunshine Ladies Tour is so perfectly positioned to build competitive form before the European season starts.

“And this year we should see even more top professionals on the tour with the Investec South African Women’s Open being a qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open. That’s great news for the seasoned pros and the rookies and the amateurs, too. I cut my teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour when I came back from college in the USA and it is such a great circuit to build experience.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most prolific winner Lee-Anne Pace will headline the field in the season-opener in the Mother City. The LPGA champion will be chasing an unprecedented fourth Cape Town Ladies Open title, having won the event in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

Other players on the watch list include LET campaigners Stacy Bregman, Casandra Hall and eSwatini standout Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Jane Turner from Scotland and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal and rising stars Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Tara Griebenow.

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16th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite goes wire-to-wire in Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

16 February 2020 – Lejan Lewthwaite slept on the lead for two straight nights and on Sunday she finished the job – winning the R600 000 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt by eight shots.

It was a second successive triumph for the Benoni golfer, who claimed a play-off victory against Tandi Cunningham in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Gary Player Country Club last week.

Lewthwaite opened the tournament with a stunning six-under-par 66 at George Golf Club and produced a four-under 68 on her second trip around the scenic Parklands layout to carry an eight-shot lead into final round at the Outeniqua Course.

She got off to a birdie start and briefly gave the chasing pack a glimmer of hope when she bogeyed five and nine.

Defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini reeled in a trio of birdies before the turn, but her challenge faded with a bogey at the par five 11th. Emie Peronin from France also gave chase, as did former winner Stacey Bregman, but it was all too little, too late.

The 28 year old Lewthwaite, who had been remarkably poised all week, did not let adversity upset her rhythm and she restored her lead with back-to-back birdies on 10 and 11.

Having regained the momentum, the Serengeti member shut the door on her pursuers with further gains on 13 and 14 and came home with three solid pars for a one-over 73.

“I can’t describe how happy I am in this moment. For six days really, I played awesome golf; first at Sun City and then here in George. I am just so happy right now,” said Lewthwaite, cradling the trophy that comes with winner’s cheque worth R84 000.

No victory in professional golf comes easy, and wire-to-wire victories are perhaps even more difficult, as they require a player to deal with the inevitable thoughts of winning for days on end.

“I’d say I was pretty happy with my position after the first day, but I don’t allow myself to think too far ahead. I try very hard to stay in the moment as much as possible. I try to stick to my process and hit every shot where I plan to and make every putt count.

“I played another great round on the second day, and I thought to myself, ‘just continue with your strategy, your plan and the way you’re playing.’

“I did briefly wonder how it would feel if I won, and also what my strategy would be if the gap was reduced, but I always made sure I didn’t let my thoughts drift too far. It would be a fleeting thought, and then I’d be back in the zone.”

The victory cemented Lewthwaite’s number one spot in the Investec Order of Merit and she is another step closer to collecting the R100 000 bonus. She leads on 1 390 points and is nearly 500 points ahead of Dlamini.

Meanwhile Stacy Bregman carded 71 for a one-under total, making it a one-two finish for the Investec stable on one-under. Peronnin took third on level par and Dlamini had to settle for fourth on one-over after closing with 75.

Lewthwaite now travels to San Lameer Country Club with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, where she will gun for a hat-trick of titles when she takes up her title defence in the Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters.

“There will be some celebrations tonight, but probably not too late,” said Lewthwaite, who will also be celebrating a runner-up finish with amateur partner Marj Davidson.

The pair posted rounds of 66, 68 and 68 for an impressive 14-under total, but Lewthwaite lost out on an additional R30 000 pay-day to Sharmila Nicollet. The Indian golfer and her partner Nicci Taylor fired a superb 64 at the Outeniqua Course to seal victory on 15-under.

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

 

 

 


15th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Former champs in pursuit at Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

15 February 2020 – No less than four former champions of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am hope to chase down a red-hot Lejan Lewthwaite, who opened up an eight-shot lead in the second round at George Golf Club on Saturday.

Just one week after she had to fight Tandi McCallum in extra time to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, Lewthwaite is on cruise-control in the R600 000 Sunshine Ladies Tour event.

The 28-year-old Serengeti golfer began day two with a four-shot advantage and moved clear of her competitors with a four-under 68.

Unlike the flawless production in the first round, Lewthwaite dropped three shots in her second trip around the traditional Parklands layout, but she countered every bogey with a pair of birdies and knocked in one more for comfort on the par five 16th.

“It was extremely hot out there today and I really struggled with the heat, especially when we had to wait on some holes. I duffed my tee shot on the ninth after a long delay and had a bogey, but managed to make a few putts coming home,” said Lewthwaite, who leads on 10-under 132.

Defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini finished a distant second, but she improved dramatically on her opening 74 with a six-under 68 to finish alone in second on two-under.

With the action moving to the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt – where the eSwatini golfer holed a 25-footer for birdie on the final hole to win last year – Lewthwaite is taking nothing for granted.

“If there is one thing you can’t control it’s what someone else is going to do,” said Lewthwaite. “Last year Nobby fired seven birdies to come from behind and win. She birdied the last two holes to beat me by two shots. So no, I’m not taking anything for granted. If Nobby gets her eye in early and the putter starts running hot, she will definitely come for me.”

And Dlamini is not the Investec-backed Lewthwaite’s only concern.

Granted, Monique Smit (2014), Stacy Bregman (2015) and Lee-Anne Pace (2016) are 10 shots off the pace in a tie for third with American Jordy LaBarbera, but the trio share 21 Sunshine Ladies Tour titles – with Pace taking her tally to 13 two weeks ago in the Cape Town Ladies Open.

“I don’t for a minute believe I’ve got this in the bag. A bogey here, a double bogey there and an eight-shot lead can evaporate quickly,” she said.

“I’m just going to stick to my process. It’s something my mental coach Mark Fairbanks and I work on all the time. Play shot for shot, focus on making the best score on every hole, try to limit the bogeys and hopefully it goes well enough that I’m standing with the trophy at the end of the day.”

Among the quartet tied for third on level par, Smit produced the best second round when she signed for one-under 71. Pace carded successive rounds of 72, LaBarbera from Texas returned a 73 and Bregman followed her opening two-under 70 with a 74.

Bertine Faber – the last player to score three successive victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2016 – carded 70 to tie Vodacom Origins of Golf winner Casandra Hall (72) on one-over 145.

Lewthwaite will also have the added pressure of trying to win the R100 000 Pro-Am, sponsored by Cisco Systems.

Lewthwaite and Marj Davidson posted 68 to set the clubhouse target on 10-under.

A 67 from LaBrera and Madelein de Wet made it two at the top until local favourite Smit and Jenny Church combined for a blistering 65 to force a three-way tie at the top. Dlamini and Franci Coetzee were also on fire, carded 65 to move within two shots of the leaders.

PRO-AM LEADERBOARD (final top 10)
134 Lewthwaite / Marj Davidson 66 68; LaBarbera / Madelein de Wet 67 67; Smit / Jenny Church 69 65
136 Dlamini / Franci Coetzee 69 65
137 Nicollet / Nicci Taylor 71 66; Pace / Sharon Leith 68 69; Taylor / Mimi Franklin 67 70
138 Bredenhann / Linda Smith 72 66; Fletcher / Jo Morley-Joseph 69 69; Faber / Sandy Hird 69 69

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


14th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite off to a flier in Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

14 February 2020 – Lejan Lewthwaite is bidding to become the first player in four years to win back-to-back Sunshine Ladies Tour titles after firing a leading six-under-par 66 on day one of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in George.

The Serengeti golfer, who won the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at Sun City last week, has the chance to match Lee-Anne Pace and Bertine Faber, who recorded the last successive victories in 2016.

Lewthwaite signed for a flawless 66 at the George Golf Club to take pole position in the R600 000 event and grabbed a share of the lead in the R100 000 Ladies Pro-Am, backed by Cisco Systems, with amateur partner Marj Davidson.

The dynamic duo set the early target on six-under in the Betterball competition, which was match Hartebeespoort’s Lindi Coetzee and amateur Missy Hughes.

“We had such a great time out there, even when we both struggled at times and the putts just didn’t want to drop,” said Lewthwaite. “I really enjoy this format. We are both out there trying to put the best score together that we can, that you can manage, but there is a lot of banter and high fives and laughter, so you tend to stay pretty relaxed. It’s very different to competing in a straight stroke play event and it makes for a really nice change of pace.”

Lewthwaite leads by four from former champion Stacy Bregman, who carded four birdies and two bogeys in an up and down round 70.

American Jordy LaBarbera, former SA Women’s Masters champion Maria Beautell from Spain and Coetzee finished a further stroke adrift, while Cape Town Ladies Open champion Lee-Anne Pace and young gun Kelsey Nicholas share sixth on level par.

LaBarbera from Texas and Madelein de Wet tied for third on five-under with Lauren Taylor from England and amateur Mimi Franklin.

Rookie Tara Griebenow and Joanne Shields posted four-under late in the afternoon to force a three-way tie for fifth with Pace and Sharon Lee and India’s Sharmilla Nicollet and her partner Nicci Taylor.

Lewthwaite got off to a birdie start on the par four 10th and picked up her second gain on the short 15th to turn two-under. It was on inward loop where the magic started to happen.

“To be honest, I really wasn’t hitting the ball well over the first 12 holes or so, but everything just kind of clicked into gear on the back nine,” said the Investec-backed golfer, who followed a birdie at the par five second with three more on the bounce from the sixth.

“I just holed a lot of putts today and that kept the momentum going. I missed a few fairways, but the short game was spot on. All my birdie putts were in the 15 to 20 foot range and all my chips landed within three to four feet.”

Lewthwaite entered the winners’ circle for the first time after beating amateur Kajal Mistry in a one-hole play-off at the South African Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club last year. And it took another extra hole to win at the Gary Player Country Club after she tied former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi McCallum for the lead in regulation play.

Retaining her Ladies European Tour card for the 2020 season, winning at Sun City and signing a sponsorship deal with TaylorMade South Africa has Lewthwaite oozing with confidence.

“It’s been an incredible start to the season and I am very careful not to let the stuff off the course influence me on the course. It’s easy to get caught up and lose focus, so I am sticking to the basics so I can hit the shots I need to hit.”

Lewthwaite said the Dimension Data Pro-Am and the Investec South African Women’s Open has been on her mind since the season launched in Cape Town a fortnight ago.

“I lost by two shots to Nobuhle (Dlamini) last year, so you can bet your bottom dollar that I want to hit a winning putt at the Outeniqua Course on Sunday,” she said. “The Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am is one of the most popular events on the circuit. We play for big money and winning would give me a huge leg-up in the Investec Order of Merit.

“My game is also taking shape and building the kind of form I want to take to Westlake and then on to the Ladies European Tour. I’m in a good head-space right now and I just want to keep on improving.”

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

 


16th October 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini dominates in wind to lead at Selborne

SELBORNE, 15 October 2019 – Nobuhle Dlamini lined up her fourth victory this season when she tamed the wind to take the lead in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series at Selborne Golf Estate, Spa and Hotel on Tuesday.

Teeing off in a three-to-four club wind that raced around the championship layout on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the big-hitting Swazi golfer was in imperious form.

Dlamini fired six birdies, including three over the four closing holes, to offset a double bogey at the par five third and further drops on six and 17 and a two-under-par 70 propelled the 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner straight to the top of the leaderboard.

The 36-hole women’s event is played concurrently with the Vodacom Origins of Golf Pro-Am and serves as the curtain-raiser for Sunshine Tour’s main tournament.

Dlamini leads by three shots from Sunshine Ladies Tour regular Lauren Taylor and is five shots clear of reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite.

Taylor got off to a birdie start and eagled the third. The English golfer three-under after 10 holes, but she gave shots back to the field with successive bogeys on 12 and 13 and dropped a further three shots after a final birdie on the par four 14th to post  a one-over 73.

Lewthwaite overcame a bogey-bogey start with birdies on three and nine and made two more on the bounce after the turn to dip two-under, but her good work was undone with double bogeys on 14 and 15 and a third bogey on 16 will see the Serengeti golfer start the final round on three-over.

Jane Turner withstood the wind for three days at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club to win the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, but the Scottish golfer also had trouble navigating the strong winds on Tuesday and carded four-under 76 to finish fourth.

Serengeti’s Casandra Hall – already a two-time winner in the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series – posted 82 and fellow rookie Brittney-Fay Berger from Kloof Country Club signed for 83.

More wind is forecast for today’s final round, but a later start could see the chasing pack go low enough to catch Dlamini.

Written and released by Lali Stander.


26th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite & Dlamini set Soweto pace

26 March 2019 – The cream really did rise to the top on Tuesday as the two main protagonists on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit – Nobuhle Dlamini and Lejan Lewthwaite – both carded level par 72 to share the first round lead in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club.

Dlamini and Lewthwaite hold a one-shot advantage over Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall and India’s Tvesa Malik, who tied for third on one-over.

Fifth on her own on two-over is another rookie campaigner, Brittney-Fay Berger, while former champions Stacy Bregman and Bertine Faber share sixth with reigning South African Women’s Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt on three-over 75.

Coming off a runner-up finish in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week at Glendower, Dlamini has forged an almost unsurmountable lead on 1 597 point. Second placed amateur Kajal Mistry is skipping the season-finale to compete in the Western Province Amateur Championship. Lewthwaite is nipping at Dlamini’s heels in third, but another strong push in Soweto will see the Swazi national seal the deal and pocket to the R100 000 bonus in the season-long points-race.

Lewthwaite, who claimed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title in the SA Women’s Masters at San Lameer last month, set the course on fire during the early stages of the opening round.

A steady two-under start through six holes was good, but her round quickly turned spectacular with an ace at the par three 17th.

“I had 173 metres to the pin playing downhill, downwind – and you have to pitch it short. If you pitch it on it’s going over. I caught a lucky bounce with a six-iron and it went in,” said the Serengeti golfer. “I said after the hole-in-one I didn’t really care what my score was, but it was fun getting my first one.”

The ‘perfect fluke’ helped Lewthwaite to go out in four-under 33, but coming home she dropped shots at the fourth and seventh before a disastrous double on her final hole (the ninth) saw her lead evaporate.

Despite her poor finish, Lewthwaite remained positive about her opening salvo in Soweto.

“It’s a pity I couldn’t finish better, but it’s the best position I’ve been in after the first round this season so I’m right where I want to be,” Lewthwaite said.

“I hit a perfect tee shot down the middle of the fairway, and actually hit a great second shot with the ball probably pitching pin-high with a gap wedge with 92 metres to the pin. I might have pitched it around 88 metres and the ball just rocketed over the green. Then I hit a bad chip and a bad putt to make double.”

Nobuhle Dlamini in action during the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini, meanwhile, produced a quieter scorecard with just two bogeys offset by two birdies. That was despite overpowering a number of holes as she cut doglegs with the driver and even driving the par four 16th – where she could only manage par.

“I hit quite a few drivers, there are some holes where you can take a Tiger-line,” said Dlamini. “You can still find the ball if you miss the fairway, the challenge is just how close you can get it to the hole with your approaches. The second shots are the challenge.

“On the 16th hole I hit driver on the green. So I was hitting it really nicely. I’ll take 72 today as it was playing tough out there. It would be good for me to finish strong here. I’m going to keep pushing and hope for the best.”

Malik was more than pleased with her effort in just her third start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after debuting in the Investec SA Women’s Open in Cape Town and contending in the Jabra Ladies Classic last week.

“I thought I played a little bit better than my score suggested. I made a few silly mistakes, but I’m happy with my score,” said Malik.

“I’m focussing on my game, I’m not really worried about my position with 36 holes to go.”

Former SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Hall was equally pleased with an opening 73.

“I made a really good start in my debut in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open and then I set my expectations too high,” said the Benoni golfer. “The next six events were a steep learning curve, but I felt my confidence return at Glendower last week.

“It’s tough course and I’m happy to be within striking distance of the leaders. The greens are new and still very firm, so the biggest challenge here is to get the ball as close as possible to the pins. If you come in too hard, you fly the green and it’s tough to recover. It’s another great learning experience for us young pros this week.”

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

 


18th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big incentive drives up Jabra Ladies Classic stakes

18 March 2019 – Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini will be looking over her shoulder when the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic tees off at Glendower Golf Club on Wednesday.

Dlamini knows there is a target on her back after her lead was trimmed with a frustrating tie for 47th in the Investec South African Women’s Open last weekend, but with two events to go, the big-hitting Swazi national is determined to cement her position at her home course ahead of the season-finale Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club next week.

Dlamini returned to a happy hunting ground and was on the course at first light on Monday morning to fine-tune her game.

The Jabra Ladies Classic is the new addition to the 2019 Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and this week’s winner will not only bank the lion’s share of the R200 000 purse, but will also join the field in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour in May.

Gunning for her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title, Dlamini said a win would be a game-changer.

“I don’t have full status on the Ladies European Tour yet, right now, so I am on the reserve list for the Jabra Ladies Open,” explained the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Challenge Tour champion.

“To get the spot in the Jabra Ladies Open is huge. A good performance at the Evian Golf Resort Golf Club can boost your ranking on the Ladies European Tour and that’s another step closer to full status.”

Dlamini came close to victory at Glendower two seasons ago when she lost in a play-off to four-time champion Carrie Park from South Korea and although a firm favourite this week, she expects stiff opposition from Benoni golfer Lejan Lewthwaite, who is targeting the same goal.

Lejan Lewthwaite will spearhead the field in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club from 20-22 March 2019; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

The reigning SA Women’s Masters champion was hoping for another strong performance on home soil after a top-10 finish on the Ladies European Tour in Australia, but she missed the cut and was overtaken by Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry, who moved into second in the rankings with a top-30 finish at Westlake.

“Six weeks in a row took its toll and I was dead-tired, but I know I can turn it around for the last two events,” said the Investec supported player.

Dlamini leads the rankings on 1 397 points. Mistry is second on 963 points and Lewthwaite third with 940 points, but the GolfRSA Elite Squad player will miss the season-finale to defend her Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl title, leaving the way clear for Lewthwaite to challenge Dlamini in the points race.

“There is a lot to play for in the last two events,” the Serengeti golfer explained.

“Victory gets you into the Jabra Ladies Open. I’m 11th on the reserve list, so that’s the first goal. The Jabra Ladies Open is also the qualifying event for the Evian Championship. The winner and the runner-up get starts in the Evian and another Major, the AIG Women’s British Open. Plus full category status on the Ladies European Tour for 2020.

“A win this week is worth 250 points, first place next week earns you 650 points. That’s the other big incentive this week. But the stakes are high and everyone wants to win.

“I’m not sure, but I think Stacy Bregman might be the only player in the field with full LET exemption. She had a great final round at Westlake to finish 12th, and she won’t cut us any slack. At least Jabra will give the spot to the next best finisher who isn’t exempt up to 20th place.”

Lewthwaite believes fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams and Scottish player Jane Turner, who won the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, could pose a serious threat.

“Both of them are strong ball-strikers with incredible short-games and that’s scoring at Glendower. Good, straight tee shots and good putting. I’ve played a ton of golf here and it’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s a great test of golf and I’m looking forward to a strong finish to the last two events.”

Sweden’s Emma Westin – a three-time winner on the LET Access Series – also made a strong case for victory this week with a top-20 finish at Westlake, as did Ellie Givens from England, whose final round 71 boosted her to a tie for 36th.

Two-time LET winner Anne-Lise Caudal, Williams, former SA Women’s Open winner Tandi McCallum and big-hitting Namibian Bonita Bredenhann – also lining up this week – finished a further stroke adrift.

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


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.

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

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #SunshineLadiesTour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

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


25th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

More to play in #InvestecSAWomensOpen

25 February 2019 – Four weeks into the sixth season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Investec South African Women’s Open is inching ever closer. The flagship event, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour, returns to Westlake Golf Club in Cape Town from 14-16 March.

In a massive boost for women’s golf in South Africa, the winner this year stands to receive far more than just the lion’s share of the R2-million purse.

As a Ladies European Tour (LET) event, the champion will be exempt on the LET for the remainder of 2019.

Victory also comes with starts in the final two Majors of the year – the AIG Women’s British Open at Woburn Golf and Country Club and the Evian Championship at the Evian Resort in France.

With such incentives on offer, competition is set to be fierce, and the winner will have to hold off a strong field of local and international players.

With half the field coming from the LET, golf fans can expect to see the likes of Lee-Anne Pace and Becky Brewerton – both former LET Order of Merit winners – as well as past LET winners Astrid Vayson de Pradenne and Florentyna Parker from France and England’s Meghan Maclaren in action.

Three-time champion Ashleigh Buhai flew to Australia after winning the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open. She tied for 11th in the LPGA Tour’s Vic Open and was joint 15th in the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open two weeks ago.

Buhai is competing in the LET Australian Ladies Classic this week, trying to continue building form for her title defence at Westlake.

“It’s always great to return to a tournament as the defending champion, especially when it is played on the same course,” said Buhai. “I love the Westlake layout and I can’t wait to defend my title.

“I played really nicely in the two LPGA Tour events and I’m happy that my game is moving in the right direction. I’ve had some positive results after the work I did at the start of the season and I am motivated for another good performance this week,”

Last year’s Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner Stacy Bregman is also lining up in the starting-field at the Bonville Golf Resort.

A fourth place finish at Westlake last year clinched the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit for the five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner and she showed some great form at Irene, finishing second in the season-opener.

The 2019 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit stretches over eight Sunshine Ladies Tour events and is based on a points system.

The overall winner at the conclusion of the season receives a bonus prize of R100 000.

The top three placed professionals on the final Investec Property Fund Order of Merit will gain automatic entry into the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open and the champion will be granted a start in Ladies European Tour School Final Stage in December 2019.

“The 2019 champion will also receive an invitation to complete in one of the Ladies European Tour premier events,” said LET Chairman Mark Lichtenhein.

“The Investec South African Women’s Open holds an important place on the LET calendar and our players are thrilled to be heading back to Westlake in the wonderful City of Cape Town after such a fantastic Investec South African Women’s Open in 2018.

“We applaud the important sponsorship commitment from Investec Property and the City of Cape Town, which empowers women’s golf and helps to elevate the game and build champions. We look forward to collaborating with our friends at the WPGA, Sunshine Ladies Tour and World Sports Promotions on another successful event.”

Entry is free for all spectators attending the Investec SA Women’s Open from 14-16 March 2019 at Westlake Golf Club.

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

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #SunshineLadiesTour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

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


23rd February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite’s long wait ends with play-off glory

22 February 2019 – Benoni golfer Leján Lewthwaite stepped up to the Sunshine Ladies Tour winner’s circle at the South African Women’s Masters with a dramatic play-off victory over young GolfRSA amateur Kajal Mistry at San Lameer Country Club on Saturday.

The pair ended three rounds tied on one-under 215, with Lewthwaite closing with a superb five-under 67 after opening efforts of 75 and 73. Randpark’s Mistry, meanwhile, signed for a one-under 71 to go with her earlier rounds of 75 and 69.

The duo crossed irons as they headed back to the short par four 18th for a sudden death play-off. The 18-year-old Mistry went first and split the fairway, while Lewthwaite found a decent lie in the rough on the right.

Serengeti’s Lewthwaite was first to hit her approach, which nested near the back of the green some 35 feet from the pin and it was advantage Mistry, who stuck her second to 12 feet.

But it would be the true masterstroke of Lewthwaite that would have the final say as she rolled a monster putt straight into the hole for a birdie three. Mistry’s makeable birdie came up short and the title duly went to Lewthwaite.

“I was a little quick off the tee and my ball went a little right,” said the Investec golfer, who became the third successive maiden winner of the SA Women’s Masters following Korea’s Carrie Park in 2017 and last year’s success by German golfer Laura Fuenfstueck.

“I hit a great second, but the pin was sitting on a little bit of a slope and the ball just keeps going. Luckily I had that exact same putt during regulation play. I thought I needed to hit it a little bit left and a little bit harder and it just went in!

“It’s a huge confidence booster. Teaching yourself to win takes time and it’s really a good thing to have in your back pocket.”

The 28-year-old Lewthwaite had been knocking on the door the last few weeks with third at the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at the beginning of the month, before a second place at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am last week in George.

She’s worn the bridesmaid tag twice at San Lameer Country Club.

First in 2015, when she chased Lee-Anne Pace to the finish line in the SA Women’s Open and won the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur and again last year, when she tied for second.

“A couple people were saying 3-2-1 this week because I was third at Irene, second at DiData… So I’m happy to complete that sequence,” Lewthwaite said.

“I always come through in my final round. That’s where it matters most. So maybe if I can just get the first round nerves out a little quicker, maybe it won’t be as difficult.”

Though it is a first win on the Sunshine Ladies Tour for Lewthwaite, she has tasted success in the paid ranks before with two play-off victories on the IGT Challenge Tour last year.

“It definitely means a lot. It’s weird because I thought I would have been crying after my first victory. I kind of set myself up last year by winning on the IGT Tour and that’s kind of taught me a lot.”

Kim Williams (75 66 76) had led for most of the day, but a disastrous triple bogey six on the par three 16th dropped her out of contention. The Centurion Golf Club member went on to tie for third alongside Scotland’s Hannah McCook (72 74 71) on one-over.

It would have been another frustrating result for Williams, who was pipped at the post last week by the fast-finishing Nobuhle Dlamini.

Lewthwaite made special mention of her performance post round and who knows, perhaps Williams will get her just rewards in next week’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.

“I saw Kim was in the lead there. It’s the second week in a row she’s come up a bit short. I feel really bad for her. She’s a very talented player and she’ll do well in the future.”

2019 SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite with GolfRSA’s Kajal Mistry, who won the Sally Little Trophy as the leading amateur at San Lameer Country Club; credit Justin Klusener.

For Mistry, though, the agony of defeat was clear for all to see, but Lewthwaite believes the youngster is destined for a long career in the game. “Kajal is a fantastic player,” said Lewthwaite. “She’s going to do so well in the future.”

SOCIAL MEDIA SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #sunshineladiestour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SA WOMENS MASTERS
TWITTER – @womensmastersSA
FACEBOOK – @sawomensmasters
INSTAGRAM – @sawomensmasters
HASHTAG – #sawomensmasters

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