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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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14th March 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

LET Rookie Hewson wins Investec SA Women’s Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


28th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Smit claims emotional victory in Soweto

28 February 2020 – Monique Smit claimed an emotional fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title at the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open, where she tapped in for par at the final hole to emerge from an enthralling finale with a one-shot victory.

Almost exactly a month ago, the South African won a four-way play-off to clinch the 20th and final card on offer for the 2020 Ladies European Tour season at the final stage of the LET Qualifying School in Spain.

The 28-year-old George golfer brought that same big match temperament to Soweto Country Club on the final day to edge out overnight leader Sideri Vanova with a two-under-par 70 to triumph on one-under 217.

Vanova from the Czech Republic started the day with a seven shot advantage, but the Oubaai golfer started to close the gap in impressive fashion with birdies at the second and third holes.

“I hit a solid 8-iron straight at the pin, four feet short of the hole and boxed the putt for birdie,” said Smit. “On third, I managed to get it on for two. It should have dropped for eagle, but just slipped past and I had a tap-in birdie.”

Smit bounced back from a double bogey on the fourth with another gain on the par four fifth and countered a drop on the eight with a birdie on nine to turn one-under.

“The fourth was just an oops on the scorecard. On five, I took a lesser club and hit it hard and I got a favourable kick on to the upper tier of the green and holed a beautiful 15-footer for birdie. And I made another solid birdie on nine to keep the momentum going.”

Vanova – chasing a career first victory in her debut on the South African women’s professional golf circuit – aided Smit’s challenge when she dropped five shots on the outward loop.

With her lead cut to just one shot, the Czech golfer started the back nine with five straight pars, but Smit matched her shot for shot, including answering Vanova’s birdie on the par four 15th with one of her own.

“The birdie on 15 was a super lucky one. I hit a good 3-wood down the fairway and I took a three-quarter wedge into the green because we had a bit if wind from behind. I started it out a fraction to the right and I got such a good member’s bounce. It stopped five feet from the pin, and I knocked it in to stay one shot behind Sideri.”

Both players had just hit their second shots into the 16th when play was suspended for dangerous conditions.

A heavy 60-minute downpour during the nearly three hour suspension had left the firm greens a little more receptive, but the already penalising rough absolutely brutal. Smit made a superb par from the back of the green, while Vanova failed to capitalise on a 12 footer for birdie on 16.

“Sideri took on the pin on 17 (par three). She overshot the green and caught a bad bounce that left her in the trees. She dropped another shot and I made a good par to level the score,” Smit said.

On 18, the 30-year-old Czech paid the price of an errant drive when she leaked her tee shot left into the rough. Smit’s percentage golf earned her a share of the lead on the penultimate hole and a cautious 3-wood off the tee on the final hole set her up for the win.

“The rough had been so punishing on a dry day, but with the rain it was like chewing gum. Sideri hit her second shot with absolutely everything she had, but she only advanced it a few metres. She hit a magnificent third out of the rough, though and was about 15 feet short right of the pin,” Smit explained.

“I was well behind her with the 3-wood off the tee and had the advantage of going first. I just wanted to find the putting surface when I saw her in the rough. I lagged my first putt to half a foot and she nearly holed her putt. Unfortunately it pulled up short and I had the par putt for the win.”

Smit was visibly emotional in a post-round interview and dedicated the victory to her mom Rejeanne, who passed away last year. “Mom was always on the bag over six seasons on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. She was on the bag for my first win in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in 2014 and she shared in all my great moments and the not-so-great ones,” said the 28-year-old.

“She was my best friend and my biggest supporter and the hardest thing I ever had to do was to lay my mom to rest. To come into the final day with a seven-shot deficit was nothing compared to that. I could hear her tell me just give an extra 10% and I did that today.

“I tried to win the Joburg Ladies Open for four years, and finally Bongi Mokaba from the City of Joburg has given me the trophy. I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result.

. I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result.

“I want to congratulate Sideri on a wonder start to her season. Her smile never wavered, no matter what happened out there and she is a wonderful ambassador for the game, a great example to other pros and a fantastic role model for the youth. I’m sure we will be seeing more of her in the next two weeks.”

Vanova closed with a round of 78 to seal a runner-up finish, while Stacy Bregman took third on six-over with her final round 73. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie Barbaglia won the leading amateur prize. The Bryanston golfer carded rounds of 73, 79 and 76 to tie for seventh.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour travels to Glendower Golf Club next week for the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, where the international field will fight it out for the winner’s share and a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour from 4-6 March.

This is the penultimate event before the season wraps up with Investec SA Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa, boasts a €200 000 prize fund and the winner not only earns exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, but will tee it up in two Majors this year – the AIG British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship.

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


26th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Vanova delighted to lead the way in Soweto

26 February 2020 – Sideri Vanova didn’t know what to expect when she teed it up in the Joburg Ladies Open on Wednesday, but the Czech was pleasantly surprised to get her 2020 campaign off to a flying start at the Soweto Country Club.

Vanova fired a three-under-par 69 in her Sunshine Ladies Tour debut to lead the field, finishing one shot clear of Maria Beautell from Spain and two strokes ahead of birthday girl Monique Smit.

Scotland’s Jane Turner – who won her second title at San Lameer Country Club just last Friday – went around the Gary Player-designed layout in 72 strokes to finish alone in fourth, with Kim Williams, Investec Order of Merit winner Lejan Lewthwaite and Bryanston amateur Stephanie Barbaglia a further stroke adrift.

Vanova reeled in four birdies – including consecutive gains on 14 and 15 – to turn four-under, but interrupted a string of pars on her homeward loop with a lone bogey at the par three seventh.

“I switched coaches at the end of last year and spent the entire off-season on swing changes. I really didn’t know what to expect when I put my game under pressure, but I think it went well,” said the 31-year-old Ladies European Tour campaigner. “I was really consistent off the tee with the driver and the irons and I was very accurate with my approach shots. That was really key for me. We worked a lot of tightening up my short-game and the whole game came together well today.”

Vanova’s only previous visit to South Africa was during the 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open, which is co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Instead of following the Ladies European Tour to Australia, she decided to kick off her season in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open to hone her game for this year’s €200 000 showpiece at Westlake next month.

“It’s such a long trip from Australia to South Africa, so I am really happy with my decision. I stayed in Dubai to work with my coach and came out for this week and the Jabra Ladies Classic next week to get the game in shape,” she said.

“It’s only an eight-hour flight to South Africa and I will have two extra days in Cape Town to adjust to sea level. The Sunshine Ladies Tour is very competitive, so it’s a great circuit to have to get ready. There are about 30 of us in the field this week, so it looks like a lot of other internationals have elected to play the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year, instead of Australia.”

Beautell is a past SA Women’s Masters champion and has been a staunch supporter of the Sunshine Ladies Tour for the last seven years. “I love coming out to the South Africa every year to prepare for the start of the season, which is usually around April for me,” said Beautell.

The Tenerife golfer mixed five birdies with two bogeys on her front nine, but racked up nine straight pars coming home. “It was a bit up-and-down, but I definitely control my game better on the last nine holes,” she said. “That’s how I would like to start tomorrow. I had a good start to the season with a top 12 finish in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and was top seven at San Lameer, so I’m moving in the right direction.”

Birthday girl Monique Smit was happy to lead the South African challenge on day one of the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour

Smit, coming off back-to-back top five finishes, had three birdies on the bounce from the par five 12th after a birdie start, but let the lead slip with bogeys on 17, six and seven.

“The course is really tight and if you are just a metre of so off the fairway, you are punished quite severely and that’s what happened to me,” said the Oubaai golfer.

“I made three really good birdies early on and held the momentum, but paid the price for not hitting fairways on the back nine. I’m more than happy to be one-under and just two behind. There still a lot of golf to be played.”

Fourteen-year-old Bryanston amateur Stephanie Barbaglia – playing alongsidefirst round leader Sideri Vanova from the Czech Republic, sits just four shots off the pace in joint fifth after the first round of the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club.

Barbaglia, playing with Vanova for the first two rounds, was impressed with the leaders’ course management. “I wanted to play with the pros to learn from them and watching Sideri out there was incredible,” said the 14-year-old Gauteng junior.

“She barely missed a fairway and her approach shots were very accurate; just once or twice she got a hard bounce, but most of the time she was within two or three feet from the hole. I really saw how important a good short game is and I’m excited to play with her again on Thursday.”

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

 

 

 


25th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Soweto Country Club in top condition for Joburg Ladies Open

25 February 2020 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners were full of praise for the Soweto Country Club green-keeping staff ahead of Wednesday’s first round of the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open.

Seeing the course for the first time, three-time champion Nicole Garcia was positively gushing about the greens.

“I didn’t play last year because I was still on the bench after my hip surgery. The girls told me that the greens were incredibly firm, and the fairways were still patchy but I saw none of that today,” said the Ebotse golfer – the most recent trophy recipient after a double victory in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge on Sunday.

“I was so pleasantly surprised. The course is a great test like every other Gary Player design and the greens are beautiful. The green-staff must have worked incredibly hard in the last 12 months. You can go for a lot of the pins this year, and we will see a lot more birdies. Everyone that played last year can’t stop gushing. The staff can be so proud of what they have achieved in just a short year.”

Three-time winner Monique Smit echoed Garcia’s sentiments.

“It was amazing to see the difference,” exclaimed the Oubaai golfer. “I told my caddie – the same one I had this year – walking to the first tee that we will have to plan for the firm greens, but they have settled so incredibly well. The greens are receptive and the fairways have grown in nicely. It was super-fun playing the pro-am, and watching our seeing our partners making birdies.

“This is probably one of the tightest courses we play all season, and you are going to have to keep it in play and stay out of the trees if you want to go low. Keep finding the greens. Keep it simple.”

Former South African Open champion Tandi McCallum and rookie Casandra Hall chased champion Nobuhle Dlamini all the way to the finish line last year and both players will be gunning for success.

McCallum, second last year, already wore the bridesmaid tag twice this season.

The Parkview golfer lost the SuperSport Ladies Challenge to Lejan Lewthwaite in a play-off and, this time partnering Lethwaite, they were beaten by Garcia and Scottish golfer Gabrielle Macdonald in a four-hole play-off in the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge Pro-Am.

Although she was peppering the flags in the final round at Serengeti, McCallum’s putter wouldn’t cooperate. “I had two chances in the play-off to win it with birdies, and the putts died on me. I spent some quality time with the flat-stick on Monday and I’m ready to fire. I’m driving the ball really well, so I’m confident that I can keep it play. And the girls are raving about how the greens have matured, so hopefully it’s third time lucky for me.”

Hall returned from Spain in January with a brand-new Ladies European Tour card in her pocket.

She is still chasing a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title and this week and the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic next week at her home course, possibly represents her best two chances. Third in last year’s event, the Glendower pro is keen to rekindle her love affair with Soweto Country Club.

“A lot of people didn’t like the course last year, but I loved it from the word go and it’s even better this year. I love the layout; it suits my game. The pressure will probably be a bit more this year with so many international players in the field, but competing on the Vodacom Origins series last year helped me settle into the pro environment. I survived the LET Q-School, so I’m ready to fight.”

If she can channel some positive energy, hit it straight and roll in some putts, Hall could very well be crowned the sixth Joburg Ladies Open champions on Friday.

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


16th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Smit, Faber deadlocked in George

15 February 2019 – Home hero Monique Smit finished with a flourish on day two of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge to join compatriot Bertine Faber in a two-way tie for the lead in George on Saturday.

To the delight of the local crowd, the Oubaai golfer birdied the last two holes for a four-under-par 68 that handed her the clubhouse lead on one-under 143.

Faber (nee Strauss) returned a two-under 70 to join Smit at the top of a congested leaderboard, with rookies Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands and Scotswoman Gabrielle MacDonald leading the chasing pack.

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 15: Monique Smit during day 1 of the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at George Golf Club on February 15, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Thinus Maritz/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Smit won the first edition of the popular event in the Garden Route in 2014 for the first of her three Sunshine Ladies Tour titles. Looking to end the two-year title drought, she opened her account at George Golf Club with a 75 to start the second four off the pace.

“I was frustrated on the greens, but I came out hot this morning,” said Smit. “I birdied two and eight, and I was level through 16. The birdies at 17 came as a surprise. I didn’t hit a great tee shot and I had to hit a 7-iron in. I had a 20 foot putt, but as soon as I saw the line, I knew I’d nail it.

“I hit the best drive of the day at 18, picked a target and stuck an 8-iron 10-feet pin high. Today was all about picking targets and committing to the shots.”

Smit had to quit the Sunshine Ladies Tour after the George event last year to emergency surgery on her knee. She was apprehensive at the start, but got the rust off quickly with a top 20 finish in the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open.

“I didn’t play competitive golf for 12 months, but I played half-decent at Irene and the Serengeti Team Championship definitely helped restore my confidence. I am travelling with Clara Pietri from Switzerland and we teamed up for Serengeti. She reassured me that my body knows what to do; I just needed to make a mental commitment and I did that well today.

“It’s great to be in contention again. I am looking forward to the Outeniqua Course in the final round and playing with Bertine. It’s been a while for both of us, so it should be a really good battle.”

It’s been three years since Faber launched her rookie season with a Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick.

After a first round 73, the Koster golfer stumbled out of the blocks with a double bogey at the first, but bounced back with birdies at two and six and reeled in two more at 10 and 16.

Bertine Faber hopes to break a three-year winning drought after surging into a two-way tie for the lead in round two of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Dimension Data Challenge at George Golf Club on Saturday; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour / Thinus Maritz.

“Ironically, I watched a bit of the Genesis Open last night. Justin Thomas started with a double and when I checked the scores this morning, he was leading. It’s not the end of the world. I just stayed patient, made a few birdies and kept the bogeys off the card for the rest of the round. I made a really good par-save at 13 and it is that kind of moment that keeps the round going, more so than making a birdie.”

Strauss has some major swing problems in the last two years, and the Investec Property golfer is eager to get back in the winner’s circle.

“I’ve been in a couple of dark places in the last two years and it’s very exciting to be in with a chance this week. It’s been a while, but it’s not a new thing for me, so I’ll draw on past experience and I’ve luckily got my husband (Wian) on the bag. He was carrying for me with my first three wins, so hopefully he will be my lucky charm.”

Coffa was one-under with the last hole to come, but her approach shot pitched on the green and rolled off the back. “I had a tough chip and I couldn’t make the up-and-down, but I’m really happy to be in the top four,” she said after signing for a 70.

“It’s only my third start as a pro and it’s great to have a chance to play for my first win. I love the Outeniqua Course. It’s a lot more open and not so heavily tree-lined as here at George Golf Club, so you can get away with a less than perfect drive. I can’t wait.”

Macdonald was five under for the round after a trio of birdies at 13, 14 and 16, but gave a shot back to the field when she missed the green at the par-three 17th. “This is my first pro event and I’m over the moon to be in contention,” said the Craigielaw golfer, who tied Smit for the low round of the day.

“I played really well today and I made a lot of putts. I left a couple short for birdies coming up to 13, so it was nice to roll that one in and get the momentum going. I’m excited for the final round and hopefully I can keep the putter warm overnight.”

Joint overnight leader Kajal Mistry returned a battling 74 to tie for fifth on one-over with England’s Lauren Taylor and three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams. Frenchwoman Marion Duvernay, who shared the first round lead on one-under, finished at four-over after a 77.

Crizelda van Niekerk and Ash Pagden lead the Betterball Medal Pro-Am on nine-under after rounds of 66 and 69. Smit and four-time winner Larina King moved within two shots after a second round 66, with a further five teams also tied on seven under.ds

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TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour
HASHTAG – #sunshineladiestour
OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf

SOCIAL MEDIA DIMENSION DATA LADIES CHALLENGE
TWITTER – @DiDataMEA
FACEBOOK – @SDiDataMEA
HASHTAGS – #DDProAm #StrivingforGreatness

AON SOUTH AFRICA
TWITTER – @AON_SouthAfrica
FACEBOOK – @AONSouthAfrica
HASHTAG – #AonSA

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