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17th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick delight for Dlamini

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Nobuhle Dlamini during day 4 of the 2019 Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt on February 17, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

17 February 2019 – She had the line. She had the pace. And she nailed the distance.

On a tense and dramatic Sunday at Fancourt, Nobuhle Dlamini drained a 32 foot uphill birdie putt at the final hole of the Outeniqua Course to seal a Sunshine Ladies Tour hat-trick with a two-shot victory in the Dimension Data Challenge.

Just a few minutes earlier, the big-hitting Swazi golfer tapped in for well-timed four at the par five 17th to take a one-shot lead. The birdie-birdie finish for a five-under-par 67 earned Dlamini a R70 000 pay-day on a winning total of two-under 214.

“I had to really stop myself from running around on the green when that last putt dropped,” said the delighted Dlamini, who banked an additional R30K for partnering amateur Francis Tremearne to victory in the Betterball Team Competition.

“I was so excited, but Brittney (Fay-Berger) still had to putt. I played the 17th hole exactly as I planned and I wanted to get the birdie at 18 to have a bit of a cushion. Britt and I both hit good tee shots up the 18th fairway, but her approach took a huge bounce off the back.

GEORGE, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 17: Nobuhle Dlamini during day 3 of the 2019 Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at George Golf Club on February 17, 2019 in George, South Africa. EDITOR’S NOTE: For free editorial use. Not available for sale. No commercial usage. (Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

“You don’t want to hit it past the flag and leave yourself a slippery and fast downhill putt, so I told my caddie I’m going to hit it seven foot short. It came up a lot shorter, but it was the right call. I had a one-shot lead. At worst, I’d be in a play-off. The moment I stroked the ball it looked good.”

Dlamini posted rounds of 76 and 71 over the first two days at George Golf Club and was four shots behind joint leaders Monique Smit and Bertine Faber when the action moved to Fancourt.

Smit gave the local crowd reason to cheer with a birdie start, Faber matched her birdie with one of her own at the second and Dlamini kept pace with her first birdie at the second.

While Smit and Faber slowly faded out of contention, Kim Williams made a run for the lead with birdies at two, seven and 10. The three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner led the field on three-under for most of the day, but Dlamini put the field Williams on notice with a run of birdies from seven.

“I just holed a bunch of really good putts,” said the 27-year-old Dlamini

“I missed very few fairways and I hit my irons and wedges really good. I bogeyed 11 but I birdied 14 to stay within two shots of Kim. As I walked to the 17th tee, I saw Kim was in trouble and I figured she might drop a shot at shot.

“I hit three-wood down the middle, but I just missed the green with my approach. I chipped it give, though and that gave me a one shot lead after Kim made a double at 16.”

Dlamini had a short, but tense wait to know for certain. “Ivanna (Samu) or Lejan (Lethwaite) were level par and if one of them made an eagle, it would be a play-off,” Dlamini said. “It was a bit tense, because everyone was coming to congratulate me, but I don’t count my chickens before they hatch.

I never count my chickens before they hatch. Only after they finished on level-par, I let that winning feeling flow over me.”

Dlamini battled with a knee injury at the start of the sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour season and posted an unmemorable top 20 finish in the Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open, but the form that took her to winner’s circle twice last year showed up during Serengeti Team Championship.

“I saw a physiotherapist after Irene and I was back to full strength and was striking the ball really well at Serengeti. I felt I was playing well enough to win, and after the three birdies on the front, I knew I could win if I kept patient and stuck to the game plan.

“This is one of my absolutely favourite events and I look forward coming to Fancourt every year. I am extremely proud to join the list of Dimension Data winners. I only got into the one Ladies European Tour event and I decided to stay in South Africa. Next week I’m going trophy hunting in the SA Women’s Masters and I can’t wait to defend my SuperSport Ladies Challenge title the Wild Coast in two weeks.”

Samu and Lewthwaite both closed with rounds of 69 to tie for second.

Williams carded a 73 with a double bogey finish and tied for fourth on two-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad amateur Kajal Mistry, who also registered a 73.

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