25th January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Bregman banks Canon Ladies Tshwane Open title
Stacy Bregman claimed her fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a dominant wire-to-wire performance in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Thursday.
The Country Club Johannesburg golfer carded a final round one-under-par 71 to triumph by four shots over Ashleigh Buhai in the R400Â 000 season-opener.
The victory ended a two-year title wait for the 31-year-old, who won the Zambia Ladies Open in 2014 and racked up three titles in 2015.
“It’s the best feeling ever,â€ said Bregman. â€œThose first two days felt easy, although the conditions were challenging and it felt really great to start the last round in the lead. Itâ€™s been a long while.
â€œThe last year was such a difficult season. I felt I was heading for a breakthrough. I tasted it a few times, but it just didnâ€™t happen. When I came home at the end of the season, I sat down and really analysed what Stacy wants for the future.
â€œI have a great team around me and Iâ€™m excited for the future after this win. I feel like Iâ€™ve turned a big corner and Iâ€™m hungry for more success. It feels incredibly good to lift a trophy again and to start the year in the winnerâ€™s circle is a dream start to the season.â€
Bregman began the day with a two shot lead over Buhai and local amateur Danielle du Toit.
A double bogey start gave Buhai and Du Toit an early chance to close the gap, but both her opponents squandered the change to put pressure on the leader. â€œAsh and Danielle both dropped at the first and I told my caddie Dougie (Mthembu) that was our last bogey for the day,â€ said Bregman.
She found birdies at key times and gains at four, five and seven took her through the turn at four-under with a three shot lead over Buhai and a four shot cushion on the amateur.
â€œThat gave me breathing space and I had the momentum down the back,â€ said the 31-year-old Investec Property player. â€œAsh and Danielle kept the pressure up with some birdies on the back nine and I gave them another chance to close to the gap at 15.
â€œI didnâ€™t hit a good tee shot and left myself with a lot of fairway to cover to the green. I managed to miss the hazard with my second, but I finished short of the green in the really thick stuff. It was a tough chip to a tiny green and a difficult pin, but I got it inside 10 feet and just missed the par putt. It was a good bogey, though, and I took some confidence from making it.â€
Then Bregman hammered home a 30-footer for birdie at 16 and that was the money shot. She rattled in par putts at 17 and 18 to drive home the victory.
â€œI hit a 9-iron into 16 and had a long look at the putt,â€ said the Country Club Johannesburg golfer. â€œThe moment the putt dropped I felt I had it in the bag, but I never took my eye off the ball. The best two shots of the day was my approach at the fourth and the putt at 16.
â€œBoth holes were key turning points in the round where I thought ‘right, I’ve got this’.Â I just stuck to the processes that Grant (Veenstra/coach) have set for me as hard as I could. It felt great walking up 18 knowing I was going to win again. I just hope this ride continues.â€
Buhai closed with a 73 to finish on even-par 216, one shot ahead of 11-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lee-Anne Pace, who also registered 73.
Although Du Toit battled some on the back nine, she gave an excellent account of herself at her home course to close out a top 10 and clinch the Top Amateur honour on four-over 220.
A 77 earned her a share of ninth with former South African Womenâ€™s Open champion Tandi McCallum, two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Nicole Garcia and English professional Lauren Taylor.
24th January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Bregman remains the player to catch in Tshwane
TSHWANE, 24 January 2018 â€“ Stacy Bregman remains on course for a fifth Sunshine Ladies Tour title after keeping the lead in the weather-affected Canon Ladies Tshwane Open on Thursday.
Play was delayed by two-and-a-half hours after a deluge of more than 30 mm left the bunkers and greens at Pretoria Country Club water-logged, but Bregman took the suspension in her stride. She fired three birdies on the front nine and countered two bogeys coming home with a late birdie at the 16th for a one-under-par 71.
This secured the Country Club Johannesburg golfer a two shot lead heading into the final round, but she will have to hold off two hungry adversaries to seal a trophy finish.
Seasoned campaigner Ashleigh Buhai and local amateur Danielle du Toit leads the chasing pack.
Buhai, who is hunting an eighth Sunshine Ladies Tour title, also returned a round of 70. Not since Buhai won her second South African Womenâ€™s Open title in 2007 has an amateur triumphed on the local professional circuit.
Du Toit stunned the professional field with a three-under 69 at her home course.
The 18-year-old Du Toit will be counting on her home course advantage to produce a grand stand finish in front of the home crowd.
â€œIâ€™m really excited to play with Stacy and Ashleigh, because that was the goal I set myself this week,â€ said the 2017 All-India Ladies Amateur champion. â€œI hoped to get into contention and Iâ€™ve done it.
â€œItâ€™s such a great honour for our club to host the Sunshine Ladies Tour and for me to be playing in this event. My goal was to try to play with our top players so I can learn from them and Iâ€™m just bursting with excitement to start the final round with two of my idols.â€
Bregman was less animated, but just as eager to see what the final round would bring.
â€œI really played nicely today, despite the delayed start and a couple of bogeys on the back nine,â€ said the Investec Property player. â€œI hit the ball well and my irons into the greens were really good, too. I just lost a little rhythm down the stretch but I settled and played some great shots coming home.
â€œI definitely back myself for the final round, but Ashleigh has come off her best season yet, and she is always a strong contender over the last 18 holes. I only met Danielle today. I think itâ€™s great that she will have this opportunity. Itâ€™s her home course, so there is a lot of pressure there, but I think she will have a great time playing with us.â€
Bregman is also acutely aware of South Africaâ€™s top export, Lee-Anne Pace, just three shots behind and tied for fourth with Carrie Park from South Korea, a two-time winner last season.
â€œLee-Anne shot 71 and Carrie 69, so they both made positive moves and they will definitely be chasing me down the last nine holes,â€ said Bregman. â€œThey are all capable of going low, especially if the weather is good and we get some run on the ball. All I can do is play my own game and see where I finish up.â€
Meanwhile Leslie Grandet from Madagascar â€“ one of the 26 international campaigners in the season-opening event â€“ recorded the first ace of the season when she holed out at the par-three eighth.
| Sunshine Ladies Tour
Ammie trio enjoys SLT start
Pretoria amateur Danielle du Toit and 13-year-olds Kiera Floyd from Benoni and Bloemfonteinâ€™s Gabbi Venter had a great time starting the 2018 Sunshine Ladies Tour season in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Tuesday.
Like most of the field on opening day, top ranked Du Toit found the going very tough.
However, the 18-year-old was reasonably chuffed with a two-over-par 74 return after learning that just one player in the 78-strong international field broke par at her home course.
Du Toit will start the second round in a tie for 11th with big-hitting Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia, Englandâ€™s Rachael Goodall, local pro Francesca Cuturi and fellow amateurs Casandra Hall from Ekurhuleni and Brittney-Fay Berger from KwaZulu-Natal.
â€œItâ€™s such a privilege to have this tournament right here on my doorstep and to have the chance to play with top international professionals,â€ she said.
â€œThis course is always very tight and the greens are a lot faster than normal. Itâ€™s not the kind of course where you can just let rip with the driver. You have to keep it in play and avoid the 80-plus pot-bunkers.â€
Du Toit won the 2017 All India Ladies Amateur Championship at the Eagleton Golf Resort in Bangalore in December barely three weeks after she sat her matric exams at Menlo Park High School.
With five distinctions to her name, Du Toit will be heading to Indiana in the United States later this year where she will be taking up a golf scholarship at the University of Perdue. But first, she has some lofty goals to pursue here at home.
â€œI would like to win a one or two of our provincial events to build up for the Sanlam SA Womenâ€™s Stroke Play, so itâ€™s â€œItâ€™s such a great opportunity to play on the Sunshine Ladies Tour to gain experience that I can take into the amateur events before I leave,â€ said Du Toit
Floyd, who currently sits in sixth on the WGSA Junior Rankings, was three under through six holes, but turned one-under after a trio of bogeys from the 15th. Two bad holes on her back nine saw the Ekurhuleni golfer home in 78 strokes.
â€œI was a little mad with myself for letting it slip, but this is all new to me and itâ€™s a steep learning curve,â€ said the Grant Veentra Academy player. â€œI had a double at the first and tripled the last and without those two holes, it could have been a 73.
â€œThis course punishes bad course management, so Iâ€™ll try to take a more conservative approach in the second round and plan my shots better. Hopefully Iâ€™ll improve enough to make the cut.â€
Gabbi Venter, the cousin of Springbok centre Francois Venter, is the second youngest starter in the field and just five months older than Floyd.
The teenager opened with a 10-over 82 at the tree-lined Waterkloof layout in her Sunshine Ladies Tour debut.
Dad Kosie, a former top Free State cricketer, was on the bag and give Venter a lot of positive reinforcement. Not surprisingly, the grade eight UNISI Girls High School scholar was not in the least disappointed.
â€œFor me this week is all about gaining experience and improving my course management skills,â€ said the Quintin Williams Golf Academy player. â€œIt was really cool to play with Francesca (Cuturi), because she handles herself really well on the course. It was an eye-opener to see how the pros approach the greens and plan their way around this course. The pins were tucked and the greens are small, so they tee shot was really important.â€
Four-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Stacey Bregman shot one-under-par 71 and will start todayâ€™s second round with a one shot lead over defending champion Kiran Matharu from England, Spainâ€™s Maria Beautell and Swedish pair Alexandra Lennartsson and Sofia Gronberg-Whitmore.
23rd January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Bregman stakes an early claim at Pretoria Country Club
Stacy Bregman birdied the final hole at Pretoria Country Club for a gutsy one-under-par 71 to lead the home charge on a windy first day in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open on Tuesday.
The severity of the gusts proved challenging for the 78-strong field on day one, but the four-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Bregman fired six birdies to produce the only sub-par round on the tightly-packed leaderboard.
Bregman leads by one from four international campaigners, including defending champion Kiran Matharu from England, Maria Beautell from Spain and Swedish pair Alexandra Lennartsson and Sofia Gronberg-Whitmore.
Top South African talents Ashleigh Buhai, Lee-Anne Pace and Kim Williams are a further stroke back in joint sixth with Lauren Taylor from England and French player Emie Peronnin.
Six more players are within striking distance at two-over.
Local professional Francesca Cuturi, Englandâ€™s Rachael Goodall and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia are tied for 11th with leading amateurs Brittney-Fay Berger from Kloof Country Club, Casandra Hall from Ebotse and 2017 All-India Womenâ€™s Amateur champion Danielle du Toit from Pretoria Country Club.
Bregman overcame a shaky start and pushed to the front with birdies at 12 and 14 and she offset a late bogey at the par three 16th with the birdie finish.
â€œI hit some good shots, but my course management was off at the start of the round and I think I was a little over-excited to get going,â€ she said.
â€œI made two good birdie putts at six and seven to reel it back and that settled me down. I think I deserve a little pat on the back for finishing under par, because it definitely wasnâ€™t easy out there. You constantly had to adjust your clubs to the wind, which was very gusty.â€
Bregman switched coaches at the end of last year. She worked hard on her game in the off-season to iron out her swing and is pleased with the progress sheâ€™s made.
â€œI joined Nicole Garcia at the Grant Veenstra Academy at Ebotse and Iâ€™m really happy with all the work Grant and I have done,â€ she said. â€œI could see the improvements and itâ€™s really great to see the swing changes pay off.â€
Bregman enjoyed four victories in 2016 and she is keen to return to the winnerâ€™s circle.
â€œPlaying this course is like playing a chess game; you really have to plan your shots and execute them well,â€ said the Investec Property player.
â€œItâ€™s a tight layout, with a lot of trees and 80-plus pot bunkers to navigate. I think course management is key to scoring well. I was slightly rusty on the front nine, but my course management was much better over the last nine holes.
â€œThe greens are small, so youâ€™re not putting from great distances, even if you hit it to the middle. But you have to keep it in play and avoid those pot bunkers to have a chance to win.â€
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.
22nd January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Matharu managing big Sunshine Ladies Tour expectations
Kiran Matharu has set herself a couple of lofty goals as she starts her second season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with her title defence in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open this week.
The English golfer spearheads a 27-strong international challenge that will battle the local line-up in the season-opening event of 2018 at Pretoria Country Club from 23-25 January.
â€œLast year was such a great experience and I am incredibly excited to be back,â€ Matharu said. â€œWe played at some of the most stunning courses in South Africa. Itâ€™s fantastic to leave the snow behind and start the season in sunny weather.â€
Matharu travelled to South Africa last year to revive her declining career.
â€œI nearly gave it all up at the end of 2015,â€ said the former golf prodigy from Leeds. â€œI was in constant pain and no-one knew why. I was ready to throw the towel in when I was finally diagnosed with locked hips. After months of intensive rehabilitation, I decided to give it one more shot.â€
Her decision to compete on the local circuit paid off in ways Matharu could not imagine.
She pronounced herself with a magnificent wire-to-wire victory in the Ladies Tshwane Open at Zwartkop Country Club and shot to the top of the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Points Race with five further top three finishes. However, she had to settle for the second place cut of the R1-million bonus pool after Ashleigh Buhai won the season-long chase with a runner-up finish in the final event at Millvale.
Matharu is relishing the chance to go up against South Africaâ€™s top talents again.
â€œIt was brilliant to be in contention week after week and to play against top calibre players like Ashleigh, Lee-Anne (Pace), Stacy (Bregman) and Nicole (Garcia) last year,â€ she said.
â€œMy first season surpassed all my expectations and Iâ€™ve set the bar quite high this year. The top priorities are a strong start in the Canon Tshwane Ladies Open to set the momentum for the season and, of course, the Investec South African Womenâ€™s Open.â€
Matharu finished joint third in last yearâ€™s national championship, but this year, the Investec South African Womenâ€™s Open dangles a huge carrot.
â€œThe winner gains exemption on the Ladies European Tour, so itâ€™s massive,â€ said Matharu. â€œAnd the winner of the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit gets a spot in a top Ladies European Tour event, so I have my eye on that, as well.
â€œThere are so many great things about the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year. With some of the sponsors throwing in together, like Canon South Africa and the City of Tshwane this week, the schedule is more compact and it offers great prize money. Itâ€™s in the perfect slot at the start of the season for players like me who didnâ€™t get into the events in Australia, LET Access Series players and the ones who missed out at qualifying school.
â€œWe head back to Europe tournament ready after seven highly competitive events, so itâ€™s a no-brainer, especially if you add the Investec South African Womenâ€™s Open into the mix.â€
Matharu expects tough opposition from the leading South African players, who will also be keen to get a foot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit ladder over the first two events.
â€œLee-Anne won her Ladies Tshwane Open title here at Pretoria Country Club and Iâ€™ve been told that Ashleigh won the SA Womenâ€™s Amateur Stroke Play and Match Play here, so they will both be feeling positive. Carrie Park from South Korea is also back. She won the SA Womenâ€™s Masters and the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic, sponsored by Canon, last year and she will have gained a lot of experience on the Ladies PGA Tour in Korea.
â€œI can only control what I do. Iâ€™ll take it shot-by-shot and see where I am at heading down the back nine on Thursday. If Iâ€™m in the mix, I will push really hard. It would be great to win the first one; it really sets you up for the rest of the tour.â€
17th January 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Canon SA bolsters Sunshine Ladies Tour
Canon South Africa has bolstered its support for the Sunshine Ladies Tour as the title sponsor of the season opening Canon Ladies Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club from 23-25 January.
â€œWe are thrilled to help bring to fruition the fifth season of the prestigious Sunshine Ladies Tour and contribute to the sustainability of womenâ€™s golf in South Africa,â€ said Dana Eitzen, Corporate and Marketing Communications Executive from Canon South Africa.
â€œThe Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown tremendously since 2014 to become the countryâ€™s most illustrious womenâ€™s golf circuit, attracting a high calibre of talent from South Africa and abroad.
â€œIt is heartening to see the tremendous and growing enthusiasm for womenâ€™s golf in South Africa. We feel privileged to be part of it once again.â€
Canon South Africa first became associated with the Sunshine Ladies Tour, sponsored by Canon, in 2017, but the company has a proud legacy of supporting South African golf. Canon South Africa was the headline sponsor of the Canon South Africa Disabled Golf Open in 2017 and will continue to support Africaâ€™s premier disabled golf championship in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Canon South Africa also sponsors the South African Disabled Golf Associationâ€™s (SADGA) First Swing Program, a development programme for children with disabilities.
The Sunshine Ladies Tour was launched to sustain the future of playing professionals in South Africa and the continued growth of womenâ€™s golf in the region.
The first season featured eight events with prize money of just over R1-million. By 2017, the total bounty was just short of R4-million, with the top ten ranked professionals vying for a R1-million bonus pool. This year, thanks to continued backing of loyal sponsors, there is an unprecedented prize pool of nearly R4.5-million, as well as a R100Â 000 incentive prize for the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit winner.
Aside from these financial incentives, the Sunshine Ladies Tour offers female golfers the opportunity to compete against some of the very best in the world in world-class tournaments right here, on home soil.
In 2017, the Sunshine Ladies Tour nearly 50 international players, triple the number of foreigners who competed in 2016, and around 70 top South African female golfers campaigned on the local circuit.
Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan says the growing interest from players and support from sponsors indicates that womenâ€™s golf in South Africa is healthy and thriving.
â€œThe Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown tremendously over the years to become a prominent highlight on the annual golf calendar and Canon South Africa is delighted to help womenâ€™s golf go from strength to strengthâ€
The 2018 Sunshine Ladies Tour will feature seven events, starting with the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open.
South Africaâ€™s top golf exports Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Buhai, Stacy Bregman and Nicole Garcia will be chasing the lionâ€™s share of the R400Â 000 purse alongside South Koreaâ€™s Carrie Park, who won the Sunshine Ladies Tour Classic sponsored by Canon, 2016 Ladies Tshwane Open winner Kiran Matharu from England, and European Tour Ladies champion Anne-Lise Caudall from France at Pretoria Country Club.
Also look out for Swazi powerhouse Nobuhle Dlamini, and two of South Africaâ€™s former top ranked amateurs, Chiara Contomathios and Texas State University graduate Lora Assad, in the season-opener from 23-25 January.