Share on:
Print

27th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Vanova eyes maiden glory in Joburg Ladies Open

27 February 2020 – Sideri Vanova took one huge step towards a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title after the Czech opened up a commanding lead heading into the final round of the Joburg Ladies Open in Soweto.

Vanova threatened to run away with the title during the first 12 holes of the second round, carding birdies on the second and fifth holes and racking up three more after the turn at Soweto Country Club.

However, four bogeys on the bounce from the par four 13th pegged her back and she moved to a four-under total after solid pars saw her closing with a one-under 71.

No-one in the closing pack jumped at the chance to close gap, although Monique Smit managed to cling to second place. The Oubaai golfer will start the final round a yawning seven-shots off the pace on three-over, after mixing a lone birdie with five birdies for a 76.

Two promising stars – Lindi Coetzee from Hartebeespoort Dam and Dutch rookie Zhen Bonton – both surged to four-over with level par rounds of 72. The duo share third with three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kim Williams, who registered a 75 after a double bogey finish.

Indian’s Sharmila Nicollet, Stacy Bregman, Investec Order of Merit leader Lejan Lewthwaite and rookie Tara Griebenow were all a shot further back on five over.

The second round belonged to one woman only and Vanova was thrilled to start her season with such a strong performance in the R500 000 showpiece in Soweto.

“It’s definitely not what I expected; to be leading in my first start is a huge surprise,” said the Dubai-based golfer.

“I’m really pleased to be in such a strong position, because I put a lot of hard work in with my coach in the off-season. We changed my swing, my short-game, my putting…we basically changed everything and I was nervous to see how the changes would hold up. It will be good to see if I can keep it going for one more round.”

Vanova’s was the only sub-par round on the second day and she was philosophical about the four shots she squandered on the homeward loop.

“Today was an up and down round,” she said. “I started off really well, but it got really tough on the back nine. The greens were very firm. I found them much harder today than in the first round and it was difficult to control your approach shots.

“On 13, I pitched it just short of the green after a perfect drive. The ball took one bounce onto the green and another bounce and shot off the back and I couldn’t up-and-down. On 14 I was a bit more cautious with the approach and ended up three-putting from 50 metres.

“I had two bad breaks and I made two mistakes. These things happen in this game, but it broke my flow and it took me a while to get it back. I was happy to finish with two good pars. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.

“The course was really tricky, because if you miss the fairway you are in deep grass and you battle to save par. When you add the firm greens, I am not surprised at the scoring.”

Vanova has barely missed a fairway in 36 holes and her on-song short-game has served up nine birdies in two sub-par rounds. Behind her, her challengers have been paying the price of errant tee shots and pin-seeking approaches.

“I drove it really well, but one or two iron shots got away from me. But it felt like a different golf course out there, because the greens were way firmer than in the first round,” said Smit. “We were able to stop the ball on the greens on day one, but today we struggled and you had to watch your pace on the putts not to rush them five to 10 feet past.”

Bontan was one of the few campaigners who improved on day two and the former Dutch National champion said better driving helped her to shave four shots off an opening 76.

“I put myself in much positions off the tee and gave myself opportunities to get on the green. I did have two bogeys, but I got it back to level with birdies on four and 10 and made some solid pars the rest of the way.”
The 22-year-old Woudenberg golfer described the Gary Player-layout as a really good test. “You need to be accurate off the tees, you must have a solid short game and a hot putter.

“It’s a really fantastic layout and in really good condition, and I love that I got to play my first Sunshine Ladies Tour event here. This is a great way for me to ease into my pro career and to build some form for the LET Assess Series, which starts in April.”

SOCIAL MEDIA – TOURNAMENT
Hashtag – #joburgladiesopen
TWITTER – @CityofJoburgZA
FACEBOOK – @CityofJoburg
INSTAGRAM – @cityofjoburg

SOCIAL MEDIA – SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
Hashtags – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour

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.”

SOCIAL MEDIA – TOURNAMENT
Hashtag – #joburgladiesopen
TWITTER – @CityofJoburgZA
FACEBOOK – @CityofJoburg
INSTAGRAM – @cityofjoburg

SOCIAL MEDIA – SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR
Hashtags – #sunshineladiestour #InvestecGolf #itstartshere
TWITTER – @SLadiesTour
FACEBOOK – @sunshineladiestour
INSTAGRAM – @sunshineladiestour

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