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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.


14th March 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Xasa tees off the Investec SA Women’s Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


28th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Turner cruises to victory at Wild Coast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.

 

 


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.

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


5th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Fire and Ice lead Serengeti Team Champs

5 February 2019 – Golf may not be the most popular sport in France, yet French golf fans flocked to the Le Golf National for the Ryder Cup last year and it’s the French who led the revolution as team golf made its first appearance on the Sunshine Ladies Tour on Tuesday.

Marion ‘Fire’ Duvernay and Flora ‘Ice’ Peuch were untouchable in the opening round of the inaugural R100 000 Serengeti Team Championship.

French pair Marion ‘Fire’ Duvernay and Flora ‘Ice’ Peuch led the opening round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Serengeti Team Championship with 46 points at Serengeti Estates; credit Tyrone Winfield / Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Taking advantage of the Betterball format, the French duo racked up no less than seven birdies and fired two eagles at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Serengeti Estates.

A total score of 46 points propelled Duvernay and Peuch to the top of the leaderboard and they will start Wednesday’s final round with a 3-point cushion.

English pair  Ellie Givens and former Tshwane Ladies Open champion Kiran Matharu edged out South Africa’s Ivanna Samu and Lauren Taylor from England by 1 point for second, while another French national – two-time Ladies European Tour winner Anne-Lise Caudal – and her South African partner Bertine Faber collaborated for 41 points to finish fourth.

 

The class of 2019 also impressed in their second start on the local circuit.

Johannesburg rookies Chiara Contomathios and Kelsey Nicholas combined for 40 points, as did first-timers Brittney Fay-Berger from KwaZulu-Natal and Benoni golfer Casandra Hall, who were flawless around the championship layout.

Former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Tandi Mc Callum and Kim Williams made it a three-way tie for fifth when they rallied with five birdies over their last nine holes.

The early clubhouse target belonged to amateur pair Kim de Klerk from Mossel Bay and GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Benoni, who also fired the opening salvo. They were overhauled by Contomathios and Nicholas until the French pair hit their stride.

“Marion and I both played our own games, but we always had each other’s backs. We dovetailed incredibly well,” said Golf De Valescure’s Peuch. “I contributed birdies at three, seven and 15 and I hit it to six feet at the eighth to have an eagle chance, but she denied me…her putter was on fire”

Duvernay birdied two and five, but left her approach into the par five well short of the pin.

“I had 25-foot left for eagle, but Flora was close, so I guided the ball towards the cup,” said the Evian Resort golfer. “And it dropped. That’s the beauty of this format.”

The French woman notched two more gains at nine and 11 and pencilled a second three on their card with an eagle at the par five 15th, followed with another birdie at 16.

“It’s a great golf course and you can score well if you hit it in the right spots,” said Duvernay. “We both hit it great from tee to green and we made the most of our chances. We had only the one bogey. We didn’t really look at our score, but I had a feeling that we were doing well.”

Winning the tandem won’t earn them Investec Property Order of Merit points, but the French pair are still going all out for glory.

“We are playing for the trophy, the honour and the prize money,” said Peuch. “We love coming here.

“It’s a great tour. It is very well run, and we are treated really well by the players, the staff and the South Africans. It will be a great honour for us to go home as Sunshine Ladies Tour winners.”

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


10th March 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Hat-trick Hero Buhai Signs off in Grand Style

Ashleigh Buhai wrote her name in the record books of the Investec South African Women’s Open once again, thanks to a two-stroke victory at Westlake Golf Club in Cape Town on Saturday.

The only amateur to win the national championship twice – and the youngest champion to boot – fired a flawless final round 67 to realise a dream she’s nurtured since she joined the pro ranks in 2007.

“I’m absolutely ecstatic. I knew I had to play really well today and that’s what I did. I just felt really focused the whole day and hit all the shots I needed to and holed a few good putts,” said Buhai, who triumphed on -under-par 207.

“No matter what country you’re from, you want to lift your national title. Having won it twice as an amateur was a bit crazy, because the first time I won it I was just 14. The older you get, the more you realise what it means to you. To finally win it as a professional is priceless. I’m very chuffed.”

Five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Stacy Bregman edged out Investec South African Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai by a slender 130 points to win the 2018 Investec Property Fund Order of Merit; credit Michael Edwards for Investec

Compatriot Stacy Bregman also had 100,000 reasons to celebrate.

The Johannesburg golfer hit a magnificent bunker shot to three feet to up-and-down for par at the 18th to bank the R100 000 bonus as the Sunshine Ladies Tour Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner.

Bregman, who won the season-opening Canon Tshwane Open, also closed with a 67.

“I didn’t have the best start to the week, but I came out today and wanted to do really well,” said Bregman, who finished in fourth place on three-under 213. “I knew that I had nothing to lose and to finish off the way that I did, it teaches me a lot about myself, that I have what it takes at clutch moments like that. I knew what I had to do and to pull it off was just magical.”

Buhai started the day on four-under and one shot off the pace, behind Karolin Lampert.

The German overhauled Buhai for the second-round lead with a 69, but Lampert didn’t hold on to pole position for long. Making the most of the tranquil conditions, Buhai closed the gap with a birdie start and moved to seven-under with back-to-back gains at the fifth and sixth holes for a two-stroke lead.

Long-hitting Lampert birdied the par-5 seventh to narrow the gap, but missed an opportunity to tie for the lead when her birdie putt on the ninth from five feet moved below the hole.

Buhai then birdied the 10th to regain her two-stroke advantage and stretched that to three strokes when Lampert bogeyed 11. Both players birdied the long 13th and Lampert made a fantastic putt from the back of the 14th green, only to drop a shot on the short 15th.

Buhai had birdie chances on 16, 17 and again at 18, where her birdie putt slipped past the hole, leaving her a tap-in for par.

Lampert was thrilled with a strong start to her season after she signed off with a 70.

“I wanted to post a sub-par round and I was really pleased to do that,” said former LET Access Series winner Lampert, who now has her sights set on a Ladies European Tour title in 2018. “Ashleigh played really well, a 67 and more chances on the back nine, so it was really hard to keep up with her. I’ve been pleased with my game all week and happy to finish second.

“I’m so pleased that I decided to start my season at the Investec SA Women’s Open. I’ve been working on my swing in the off-season to get some more length off the tee and I did that here, so it was a good decision to stay a bit longer off the course. Today I hit it longer than I expected, even with my irons.”

Moroccan Maha Haddioui ended in third place on four-under-par, which was her best result since she earned her Ladies European Tour card in 2013.

“It feels really good. I had a tough time in Australia and didn’t play great. I loved being in South Africa. Finishing third here and having my best finish on the LET is really awesome. The course suited my game and I think the key was just playing smart. I played chicken a lot of the time and didn’t go for the pins, but I putted well and it really helped me this week.

“It’s more special to be in Africa, on my home continent. Even though I’m really far from home, I still feel at home, somehow. I really like being in South Africa and I haven’t been for a few years. I’m going to go and see the penguins today, so I’m really excited.”

Three-time LET winner Florentyna Parker closed out the top five. The English golfer carded a final round 70 to finish at two-under-par 214.

Sunshine Ladies Tour Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner Stacy Bregman, Investec South African Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai and Lindi Coetzee, who won the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the national open at Westlake Golf Club; credit Thinus Maritz / Sunshine Ladies Tour.

The final trophy during the prize giving was awarded to Gauteng North golfer Lindi Coetzee.

The 18-year-old used the experience gained from playing with professionals in five Sunshine Ladies Tour events to make the cut and lift the Jackie Mercer trophy as the leading amateur in this year’s national open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by and released by Lali Stander and Bethan Cutlet on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, European Ladies Tour and WPGA.


9th March 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai in pursuit at Investec SA Women’s Open

Karolin Lampert produced a brilliant front nine to surge into a one-shot lead on moving day at Westlake Golf Club, but Ashleigh Buhai is in close pursuit heading into the final round of the Investec South African Women’s Open.

The German had started the second round in a tie for second on two-under and a shot behind two-time champion Buhai.

On a magnificent morning tailor-made for low scoring, Lampert got off to a bogey start, but rallied with three birdies on the bounce from 13 to turn four-under. Buhai, playing behind the German, stretched her lead to five-under with birdies at 13 and 17.

Lampert bogeyed the first, but birdied the par-five fourth and the 23-year-old set the clubhouse target at five-under with a birdie at the par-four eighth. She was still perched at the top of the leaderboard as action wrapped up on Friday.

“I took advantage of the good scoring conditions, because there wasn’t really any wind to speak of,” said the Golf Club St Leon Rot golfer. “The greens were rolling really nicely, so it was the perfect conditions to post a low round.”

“I three-putted 10 and I wanted to get some shots back as quickly as possible. I had an opportunity at 12, but I missed the birdie putt from about eight feet. I stayed patient and hit some good shots into 13, 14 and 15 and the putts finally started rolling in.

“At the eighth I hit 3-wood off the tee to take the bunker out of play and I only had a wedge in to the pin that was stuck on the right. I hit it to 12 foot and one of the girls I played with, Lina Boqvist, hit it just past me. I got a really good read on her line and knocked the putt in. This is my first start of the season, so I couldn’t be happier. I’m still hunting a maiden win, and I’ve given myself a chance.”

Buhai birdied four to go six-under, but hit a major wobble when she dropped three shots in succession from the sixth.

“I played really steady on the front nine and hit some really good shots, but I got myself in to a bit of a downward spiral on my back nine with three soft drops,” said the 28-year-old. “I saw the lead was five-under coming up the eighth and I really wanted to make that last birdie.

She hit her approach to 25 feet and nailed the putt for a 71 to finish within a shot of Lampert.

“The ninth hole was playing a lot shorter, so I hit driver and a wedge into the green. I have to admit that I have some mixed emotions. I’m happy that I got it to six under and I’m disappointed that I let it slip. Coming up the last, I just wanted to make sure I am still in the mix after the wobble and I did it with that birdie.

“We were really blessed with the weather on our side of the draw for the last two days, but there is wind forecast for the final round and we’ll be off late. We may have to adapt our strategy depending on the wind. But I’m in with a shout and that’s all that matters.”

Former Sanlam SA Amateur champion Bonita Bredenhann also got it to five under with three birdies in the first four holes, but she turned level par after a trio of bogeys. The big-hitting Namibian erased a fourth bogey at 10 with a birdie at 13, and holed a 25-footer at 18 for birdie.

A round of 71 earned her sole third place on three-under.

“I can’t believe I’m in contention,” said the bubbly Namibian, a former Womens Golf South Africa number one. “I’ve just had a horrible season this year, struggling for form, but it’s shown up at the perfect time. I’m super excited to be in the mix.”

The Ladies European Tour’s top ranked player Valdis Jonsdottir was two-under coming down 18, but the Icelander had tree trouble and bogeyed the closing hole. The LET number 10 signed for 69 and will start the final round tied for fourth on one-under with Morocco’s Maha Haddioui, who shot 71.

Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace opened with a 78, but trended towards the leaders with birdies at four, seven, 13 and 17. Her par-putt at 18 just shaved the hole and a 69 puts her at three-over.

“To tell you the truth, I was worried that I’d miss the cut,” laughed Pace. “It was a little embarrassing turning up here this morning, but I got the putter going really nicely today.

“I set myself a target of four or five under, but unfortunately I got distracted as I started the putt at 18 and I ended up with a 69. The lead didn’t move much today, but I’ll have to go pretty low to win it. Anything is possible, though, and I’m really happy to be here tomorrow.”

And for Lindi Coetzee the final round is bound to be really special.

Fresh off her first provincial victory in the North West Open, the Gauteng North golfer was the only amateur to make the cut to 50 and ties with rounds of 77 and 73. Irrespective of what Coetzee shoots in the final round, she will stand next to the champion to receive the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open.

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


7th March 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace has double vision in Cape Town

South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace has duel objectives on the mind ahead of the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 8-10 March in Cape Town.

Last year, the 12-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner completed a hat-trick of titles with her third successive victory at San Lameer Country Club to join Mandy Adamson as a three-time national Open winner.

Winning the title four times is her first big aspiration.

“My goal this week is simple; I want to win,” said Pace. “I’d really like to lift that trophy. I will try to get good scores in the first two rounds to put myself in contention. But we’ll have to see what the weather does. Sometimes level par can be a good score if the wind really blows.”
The Investec South African Women’s Open is the marquee event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

This year’s edition is co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour for the first time since 2014 and offers a purse of R2-million, with the winner getting the lion share worth R317 000.

Pace also has the season-long points list on her mind.

At 15th with 590 points, the Boschenmeer golfer is some way off top of the pile Stacy Bregman on 1710 points but with 2400 points up for grabs for the winner, the motivation is certainly there and Pace could make the jump to claim the points list title and continue to dominate the money list title she claimed in the 2014, 2015 and 2016,

A number of permutations are possible with third place this week worth 1550 points which interestingly is just 160 less than Bregman has earned from six events.
For Pace though, the task is simple – win the tournament and whip out the calculator later.

“I’d love to win both and end the season on a high note,” said Pace, who lost the Chase to the Investec Cup title fight to Ashleigh Buhai last year.

The field boasts 123 players with a total of 26 countries represented and the 37-year-old LPGA winner and nine-time Ladies European Tour champion knows it will be a tough task to come out on top in a strong field.
“Carly [Booth] is good, but there are a lot of other quality players playing this week,” said Pace.

“Flory Parker loves the wind, so I expect her to perform well this week. There are a number of new players I have never compete against, so there is the unknown factor. And our girls are coming off six weeks, so they are highly competitive.

“It’s fantastic to have such a strong field here in Cape Town, but it will be tough to win. I’m just really happy we have a co-sanctioned event again and I’m excited about where the Sunshine Ladies Tour is heading.”

Pace will be facing stiff competition from her peers, but she has dug out her old Scotty Cameron putter and, having found some great pace with ‘old faithful’ in the last couple of days, she is rearing to go.

“I played decently in Australia two weeks ago, but I didn’t putt well at all,” she said. “So as soon as I got back, I went looking for my Scotty. I’ve just bought a house at Boschenmeer and I am busy moving, so it was no easy task tracking down my Scotty.

“I putted my whole career with the Scotty Cameron and then suddenly last year I didn’t feel comfortable. I think it got bent on the same flight my driver broke, because it was around that time that I lost confidence with my putting.

“Instead of getting a new putter, I just went with something different. I tried the mallet for half the season last year, but I just can’t get comfortable with it. So I just went back to what I know.”
Pace took third in the season-opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open, but was forced to withdraw in the first round of the Joburg Ladies Open.

“That was a huge blow, I was playing really well at the time as well,” Pace said. “I just woke up that morning and had really bad stomach flu, I couldn’t even lift my arm. I tried to play, but I just couldn’t swing the golf club – it was too heavy.”
Bregman won at Pretoria Country Club and Buhai triumphed at Modderfontein Golf Club, but Pace did not wallow in disappointment. In the third event, she returned to the winner’s circle when she beat good friend Anne-Lise Caudal of France in a playoff for the Cape Town Ladies Open title.

“Winning in Cape Town was really fun. I always enjoy playing in Cape Town because my friends and family always come out and watch. I happened to also play against my best friend in a playoff and won. It was a really good week, and that win there will set me up well for Westlake.

“It was funny because we didn’t even know there was going to be a playoff,” she said. “I asked Anne-Lise what score did you finish on, and she said eight-under and I said I was the same. It was only then that we realised we were going to be in a playoff. We just started laughing.  At the end of the day it’s nothing personal and you just try and do your best.”

Though Pace has not played Westlake Golf Club this millennium, she was still confident she could compete for the title.

“I haven’t played Westlake since I won a Western Province amateur event here; it was probably 20 years ago,” she said, laughing. “I like the course. It’s a tough layout, especially when the wind blows and according to the forecast, the wind is going to blow. It will be interesting because it’s a tight little golf course with small greens, so you really have to control the ball flight in the wind.”

Pace is always a heavy favourite, as is Bregman and Buhai, but a number of younger players coming through the ranks coming through the ranks could turn this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open into an intriguing battle.

Look out for second ranked Nobuhle Dlamini, who picked up her maiden victory at the SuperSport Ladies Challenge last week, second season professionals Ivanna Samu and Lora Assad and a slew of Ladies European Tour rookies, including Marita Engzelius and Silvia Bañon, who tied for second in the Women’s New South Wales Open.

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


22nd February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Williams wings her way to the front at San Lameer

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams was in familiar territory after a four-under-par 68 earned her the first round lead in the SA Women’s Masters on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

Williams eclipsed fine efforts from Norway’s Mariell Bruun, Laura Fuenstueck of Germany, Jamila Jaxaliyeva from Kazakhstan and compatriot Lora Assad as she raced to a two-shot lead at San Lameer Country Club on Thursday.

Williams teaches full-time at Centurion Country Club and a below par start to the 2018 season was expected after 12 months away from competitive golf, but the former number one ranked amateur signalled a return to form with a top five finish in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am last Sunday.

With the greens receptive after 40mm of rain overnight and the weather sunny and warm, Williams made the most of an early start to fire at the flags. She racked up four birdies in her outward loop and she wasn’t the only one cashing in.

Nineteen players in the field of 78 dipped below par through the first nine holes, however, a strong Westerly wind put the brakes on the birdie fest and a big dent in the red numbers.

“The wind came up quite suddenly and club selection was extremely tough, because it gusted and swirled,” said Williams

“It was tough to play the two-to-three club wind and keep a clean card. I parred the first six holes, had a soft drop at seven and then nearly holed out at the ninth. The hole was playing 145 metres downhill with the wind helping from behind.

“I hit a soft 7-iron and it pitched right in front of the flag and rolled up to tap-in distance. It was really nice to finish with a bonus birdie. I knew I could do well coming into the week after I found some really good form last week. Now it’s just a matter of keeping that form going.”

Ladies European Tour Access Series player Bruun made a solid start with a tie for 14th in the Joburg Ladies Open and sealed a joint 16th finish in the Cape Town Ladies Open. She contracted food poisoning during the Dimension Data Pro-Am, but rallied with a final round 74 at the Outeniqua course to close out a top 10 finish.

The Norwegian was feeling confident after stepping off the San Lameer course in joint second.

“I had three birdies and just one bogey and I never missed a fairway. Compared to some of the other courses, this one only measures 5 644 metres (6 171 yards),” said the 23-year-old from Larvik. “I really love this course, because it suits my game. It has a lot of trouble, but I hit it straight and I have a good short game. I rolled it nicely on the greens and hopefully I can warm up the putter some more on Friday.”

Second-season professional Ivanna Samu held a share of the lead after she eagled the par four 12th and birdied 13, but the 19-year-old dropped 14 and finished with a triple bogey seven for a 71.

“I hit my tee shot right and then took on a shot I shouldn’t have,” said Samu. “I should have punched out to the fairway, but I had a clean shot to the green and went for it. As I came through the shot, the wind came up strong and I watched as my ball drifted out of bounds. I live and learn and I’ll come back fighting again tomorrow.”

The chase for the leading amateur prize – the Jackie Mercer Trophy – got off to a fast start.

Scottish Golf Women’s National Squad members Shannon McWilliam and Gemma Batty carded rounds of 71, while 2017 champion Woo-Ju Son finished a further shot back alongside fellow GolfRSA Elite Squad member Zethu Myeki and Swiss amateur Azelia Meichtry.

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