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21st February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Turner triumphs in Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters

20 February 2020 – It took three trips down the 18th in a playoff before Scotland’s Jane Turner emerged victorious over South Africa’s Cara Gorlei in the Standard Bank South Africa Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club on Friday.

Starting the day with a three-shot lead, Turner struggled to a one-over 73 to finish on one-under alongside Gorlei, who carded a two-under 70.

In the playoff, Turner had the measure of the par-four 18th and narrowly missed a birdie attempt – but the tap-in was enough to give her the win.

“I had to hole a long putt to get into the playoff, which was a fantastic feeling,” said Turner.

“That was the hole we played in the playoff. Every single tee shot I hit in the playoff, there was only a three-yard difference to what I had left in for my approaches. So I had the approach dialled in by the end of the playoff.”

While Turner battled in the final round, Milnerton rookie Gorlei – who led the first round – was making a charge for the title.

The pair were tied after eight holes with Turner one-over and Gorlei two-under. On 11, Turner double-bogey to fall two behind before Gorlei moved three-ahead with a gain on the 12th. But two closing birdies for Turner, including a vital birdie on the last helped her reel her opponent in.

“Cara was three-under par at one point during her round, and I made a double bogey on the 11th – but after that I got stuck in. I knew I could still make the birdies, I just had to stay patient and calm.

“My score doesn’t reflect that I was very calm heading into the round today. I wasn’t overly nervous, and just stuck to my game plan.

“I am hugely honoured to win the Standard Bank SA Women’s Masters. A number of really great golfers have won this title in the past, and I’m so thrilled to add my name to the winner’s list.”

The Scotswoman, who celebrated her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win last season in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club, hinted that this could be the start of a strong run for her this season.

“I achieved my first win this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s my last one. My main goal was to win, but now that I’ve done it I can go on and win more. There are four more tournaments on the Sunshine Ladies Tour before I go back home to Europe, so it’s already been a great start to the season.”

And the next one could happen this weekend.

Buoyed by the victory, the confident 30-year-old was excited to hop on a plane on Friday evening, to take up her place in the limited field for the Canon Serengeti Par 3 Challenge – a new event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“You know, it’s a great innovation by the Sunshine Tour and Sergengeti to be hosting a unique event like this,” said Turner.

“The thing about a par three tournament is that being a big hitter isn’t necessarily an advantage, but it places a big emphasis on shot-making. We as professionals and the fans love to see what kind of shots we can come up with. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and there is a lot of prize money on the table. It’s definitely a new kind of excitement, because you might not get the usual suspects at the top of the leaderboard.”

Sharing third were Monique Smit and Kim Williams on one-over, with Bonita Bredenhahn and Bianca Lohbauer tied fifth on six over.

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Released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and World Sports Promotions.

 

 

 


22nd February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Williams takes route 66 to join Bringner at the top

22 February 2019 – Kim Williams scorched her way around a breathless San Lameer Country Club with a superb six-under 66 to join Sweden’s Sofie Bringner in the lead on three-under overall after two rounds of the South African Women’s Masters on Friday.

In contrast to the first round where heavy winds swirled about for the entire day, hot and calm conditions greeted the players on day two.

The Centurion Country Club golfer made best use of the easier conditions to find 17 greens in regulation, and made eight birdies and just two bogeys as a result.

“It was a nice round, the last week I felt like my game was heading in the right direction. And for everything to work out today was nice,” said three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Williams.

“My putter is starting to warm-up. I’ve been struggling with that since the beginning of the season. I made a few clutch putts, nice par-saves and then towards the end the birdie putts started dropping. My putting was definitely key today.

“Yesterday was really tough with the wind swirling quite a lot, so club selection was quite tough. I was happy with my score after yesterday. Yesterday I didn’t make a birdie, today I think I had eight birdies. The key is when you’re making drops, is to be able to come back.”

Williams led for most of the final round at the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge last week in George, before she was ultimately overtaken by Nobuhle Dlamini who ended with a two-stroke victory.

There will definitely be a hint of unfinished business for Williams, hoping to put that disappointment behind her.

“The last two holes today were pretty key. I saw four-under was the lead, so I knew if I had a strong finish I would have a better chance tomorrow,” Williams said. “I’m excited. I was in contention last week as well. I just hope I can keep it together and have a round like I had today.”

Overnight leader Bringner had led for most of the day, at one stage by three with an opening nine that included five birdies, and just two bogeys.

One of the key holes for The Hills Golf Club member was the par five eighth. There she was just short of the putting surface in two, but a poor chip from 30 metres left her with a monster putt over a steep ridge.

The hot-putter worked once more as the ball raced up the slope before taking a final left turn into the hole. “It was a good day on the course, and the first nine was very good. The putter was really hot today,” Bringner said.

“The putt on eight was about 20 metres, and very difficult with lots of slope and I just gave it a good roll and it went in.”

Just three shots behind the leaders were amateur Kajal Mistry (75 69), who tied for fifth with Williams at Fancourt, and last Sunday’s champion Nobuhle Dlamini (74 70).

Randpark’s Mistry produced an impressive three-under round which featured an eagle two at the par four sixth, which sent one interested spectator mad – her father Nilesh Mistry.

“I hit every fairway today and if I missed a green I was just in the first cut. So it was a stress free-round except for two three-putts I had,” said the 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite squad member. “I eagled number six. I hit three-wood off the tee and had 95 to the flag, so I hit a little knockdown gap wedge. It took two hops and dropped. My dad made a lot of noise with his screaming and clapping.”

Kiran Matharu from England, another former Sunshine Ladies Tour champion, is a further shot adrift after rounds of 73 and 72.

Scotland’s Hannah McCook and GolfRSA Elite Squad player Symone Henriques started the second round one off the overnight pace. McCook posted 74 to finish on two-over and Henriques returned a 75 to tie for seventh on three-over 147.

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


20th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini eager to keep floodgates open at SA Women’s Masters

19 February 2019 – This time last year, Nobuhle Dlamini could be forgiven for wondering when she would get that first victory after a number of near-misses.

Now, when the 27-year-old stands on the first tee on Thursday at the South African Women’s Masters at San Lameer Country Club, it will be as a three-time winner and current leader of the Sunshine Ladies Tour Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.

It all changed at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club – just a short drive down the road from San Lameer – at the end of February a year ago.

The big-hitting Swazi golfer finally broke through for that maiden triumph in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge.

Since then Dlamini has added two victories to her tally, with the latest coming at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in George last Sunday and it’s no surprise then, that the Glendower Golf Club talent has transformed into the form player on the local scene.

With a new-found self-confidence, Dlamini believes the wins will start mounting.

“I want more wins, and what better place to do that than this week?” said Dlamini. “I really believe I’m a winner now. Winning the First Stage of the Ladies European Tour Qualifying School and doing well in Final Stage reinforced my belief that I can compete on the global stage.”

Dlamini knows there will be no overpowering the testing layout at San Lameer.

“I love the Wild Coast and can’t wait to go back and defend my title and I would love to win here this week, but San Lameer is tricky. It’s a real test of patience when the wind is up. I think that the more you compete here under different conditions, the better you get at judging shots, reading the wind and picking the right lines,” she said.

One of her numerous close calls since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 214 in fact happened at last year’s South African Women’s Masters. She tied for second after chasing winner Laura Fuenfstueck from Germany over the closing holes.

One of the trends for Dlamini last year was one bad round, often on the first day.

That’s still in the back of her mind, but few would bet against Dlamini permanently dispelling those demons.

“I’m taking loads of confidence into the event this year,”” she said. I would love to own the SA Women’s Masters and SA Women’s Open titles, so I’m hoping to make a really fast start and not be on the back foot after round one like last year.”

Dlamini though, won’t have it all her own way.

Lejan Lewthwaite chased Lee-Anne Pace all the way to the finish line in 2015 to finish second in the SA Women’s Open and lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur at San Lameer. The Serengeti professional will be nipping at the Royal Swazi golfers’ heels after two top-three finishes already this season.

A third place at the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open in Irene and a tied second place finish last week at the Dimension Data Ladies Challenges sees the 28-year-old former Texas University standout in second place on the Order of Merit. On 620 points, she is just 77 behind the 697-point tally of Dlamini.

Callaway golfer Ivanna Samu, meanwhile, holds third spot on the Order of Merit.

Making a return to competitive golf due to a lengthy lay-off after back surgery, the 20-year-old had a quiet start at the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open with 10th place on four-over.

However, Samu finished alongside Lewthwaite at Fancourt on level-par and just two shots behind Dlamini. The result shot the Ruimsig golfer up the Order of Merit, and the confidence gained last week could mean a win is around the corner.

Young amateur Kajal Mistry could also be a factor this week.

The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player followed a top-20 finish in Irene with a top four finish at Fancourt. The Randpark golfer tied for fourth with Kim Williams from Centurion Country Club. If Williams starts well, the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner could also pose a threat.

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


| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dark horse Berger banking on fast start at San Lameer 

19 February 2019 – There will be a dark horse lurking in the form of Brittney-Fay Berger when the South African Women’s Masters tees off at San Lameer Country Club on Thursday.

The 18-year-old Kloof Country Club member will be making just her fourth start as a golf professional, but has already notched up three top-25 finishes in as many events.

With the Sunshine Ladies Tour proving to be the perfect breeding ground for tomorrow’s talent, Berger is among a new generation of young talent ready to cut their teeth on the local scene.

In 2017, former South African number one ranked amateur Carrie Park picked up her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title in the SA Women’s Masters. She is now plying her trade on the lucrative Korean LPGA Tour.

Germany’s Laura Fuenfstueck, meanwhile, tasted victory last year in the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, which paved her path to playing on to the Ladies European Tour this year.

“It’s been a bit different playing for money. I’ve been getting used to it though, and it’s really nice to have so many tournaments in a row like this. It gets a bit tiring, but if you manage your travelling it’s not too bad,” said Berger.

“It’s quite nice that I’m back home, I got back last night from the Dimension Data Challenge. I feel much better going into this week. I’m really enjoying it and playing in all these events.”

Showing little signs of nerves in her first event in the paid ranks, Berger finished 24th at the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open in Irene at the end of January. A week later at the Serengeti Team Championship, she paired up with fellow rookie Casandra Hall as the duo finished tenth.

“It was amazing, and I was so happy to make the cut in my first start. That was my goal going at the start of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. I had a disappointing last round, but I was just happy to make the cut and earn some money. Once I made the cut, I just went for it on the last day – it didn’t work out but I was still really happy with my result. It makes it a bit easier for me – getting used to the players and how things are run.”

On Sunday last week in George a 16th place finish followed.

“I played at George Golf Club before, but I had never played the Outeniqua Course at Fancourt. So going into the last round, I was a bit blind. So I was happy with how it went and to be improving each week.”

The KwaZulu-Natal native could be a good bet for a first top-10 or better on the tricky and tight San Lameer layout.

“Being back home now is really nice as I know the courses,” said Berger. “I like San Lameer. It’s a very tricky course, especially when the wind comes up. I played there a couple times. I played in the ladies event there last year as an amateur and I didn’t make the cut. I’m hoping to improve on that.”

In fact, Berger has put her studies in medicine on hold to pursue her career in golf.

Few teenagers are faced with massive life decisions right after school, but it’s about living a life without regret she explained.

“I really wanted to study medicine, but it is a seven-year course so once I start there’s no real time for golf. Also I would really like to make golf my career. I decided to give myself a couple years – if I make it I’ll carry on and if I don’t I’m still not too old and I can go back and study. If I left the golf until later I might end up regretting not having tried it. It’s just trying to see if I’m good enough.

“I’m just thinking about the next five years or so. If I make quite a bit of money and I can afford to live off that, then I’ll carry on.”

There were also a host of new faces in George last week including Scotland’s Gabrielle MacDonald who made her debut on tour with an impressive sixth place finish, just five shots behind winner Nobuhle Dlamini.

MacDonald, a former member of the Scottish Golf Women’s National Squad, will hope to keep up the trend of young Scottish golfers who tend to excel on SA fairways, like GolfRSA African Amateur Champion Euan Walker.

Fellow Scottish Golf Women’s National Squad member Hannah McCook is another debutant heading to San Lameer.

The 25-year-old Gleneagles Country Club member, playing last year as an amateur, missed the cut in the SA Women’s Masters, but produced a solid top-15 finish at the Wild Coast a week later in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge. McCook could well feature this week knowing what to expect this time around on the windy south coast – much improved conditions from her native Scotland.

“Coming out this year as a professional is quite exciting. We play in the wind a lot at home, and playing here in the warmer temperatures made it a lot easier,” said the Nethy Bridge resident, who works part-time in housekeeping at a residential centre back home.

Another international hoping to make her presence felt will be Pasqualle Coffa from the Netherlands. The Eindhovensche Golf member was in contention for the first two rounds last week in George after rounds of 74 and 70, but was undone by a closing 77 to finish on five-over. Despite her disappointing third round, she finished only seven shots behind in 11th position on her own.

The former Dutch International Open champion could indeed be in contention in the next few weeks as she prepares for a season on the Ladies European Tour Access Series.

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