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28th February 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Joburg Ladies Open makes a difference

28 February 2023 – When The City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Cllr Thapelo Amad Linn, hits the first tee shot on Wednesday morning to launch the 2023 Joburg Ladies Open, 132 golfers will be hoping to emulate the celebrated winner from last year, Linn Grant.

Grant won the first of four Ladies European Tour titles last season when she took the eighth Joburg Ladies Open at Modderfontein Golf Club on her way to a dominant showing in the Race to Costa del Sol.

The eighth edition of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour (LET) co-sanctioned event at Modderfontein Golf Club from 1-4 March is one of the early events on the 2023 LET season, boasting 30 tournaments and spanning 21 countries in a record-breaking schedule. The winner on Saturday will not only bank the lion share of the prize money, worth approximately R880 000, but will be exempt into most of the LET events of the season.

The first LET stop in South Africa this year boasts a significant bump in prize money – from €250,000 to €300,000 – making this event a hugely attractive drawcard for local golfers with aspirations to play in the Europe and the international contenders targeting an early advantage on the season-long Race to Costa del Sol.

Grant was crowned winner of the third edition of the Race to Costa del Sol following in the footsteps of Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul and Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen.

In her rookie season on tour, the 23-year-old won four times and only finished outside the top 10 in individual events on four occasions. The Swede became the fifth player to win both the Race to Costa del Sol and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season, while she also voted Players’ Player of the Year and climbed to a career-high of 24 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

With major champion and winner of the 2022 AIG Women’s Open Championship Ashleigh Buhai and six-time Investec South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace on the previous winners’ roster of the Joburg Ladies Open, South African women have local players to emulate too.

Last year, Nicole Garcia was the highest-placed South African at Modderfontein, finishing in a share of third. “The Joburg Ladies Open has always been really popular,” she said after her win, “and we local golfers are so incredibly grateful to Bongi Mokaba and The City of Johannesburg for getting LET status for the tournament.

“To have two chances to gain winner’s status on the LET is a huge incentive for us. But you know, even if you don’t win, just to have the international competition on our shores for two weeks is massive, especially for the young pros who can’t afford to compete abroad,” she added.

Mokaba, The City of Johannesburg Director: Event Management, has been the driving force behind this tournament for the last years, and was hugely instrumental to have the Joburg Ladies Open elevated to co-sanctioned status. “The Joburg Ladies Open has been hugely successful since its introduction on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2016 and we are confident that the event will continue to enjoy the success it achieved as a co-sanctioned event in 2022,” she said.

The Joburg Ladies Open is also unique in that it truly aims at growing the game and drawing women into the sport.

“We are the only tournament during which only women play in our pro-am preceding the event,” Mokaba said. “We also use only women as volunteers and you will not only see Modderfontein ladies members on the course doing scoring and other volunteer work, but we draw women from many golf clubs who love to be part of the event.

“The Joburg Ladies Open has always been a tournament with purpose, and the theme this year is ‘Dignity for a Female Child’. We have teamed up with SPAR on our ‘Birdies for Dignity’ campaign, and SPAR will donate a dignity pack for every birdie or better hit during the duration of the tournament. “We are also running a ‘Splash for Dignity’ initiative during the pro-am and for every shot that goes in the water, the golfer will donate R50, which will be used to buy additional sanitary packs. All the packs will be donated to the headmistress of the Zeneleni Primary School in Alexandra when the tournament wraps up on Saturday.

“This is an initiative that is as close to my heart as the tournament is, and it’s fantastic to see how all our pro-am guests, our players, SPAR and SuperSport have embraced this. We also invite all our spectators to bring sanitary packs to donate, or to make a donation at the event.”