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12th May 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Young guns set for Investec SA Women’s Open experience

12 May 2021 – Nine of South Africa’s future golfing talents are poised to soak up the experience of competing on golf’s biggest stage when they tee it up in the Investec SA Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club on Thursday.

Led by GolfRSA Elite Squad members Caitlyn Macnab and Samantha Whateley, the group of amateurs will be competing for the honour of etching their name on the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s flagship event, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour.

Macnab cut her teeth on the local circuit this season and not surprisingly, starts the week as the overwhelming favourite with two top five finishes and a victory to her name.

South Africa’s leading amateur was fourth in the Cape Town Ladies Open, second in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge and became the first amateur to triumph on the local pro circuit since Ashleigh Buhai’s SA Women’s Open win in 2007 with her breakthrough in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower.

A niggling knee injury forced Macnab to withdraw from the Joburg Ladies Open, but the double SA Women’s Amateur champion says she is ready for the fight in Cape Town.

“I didn’t feel comfortable yet in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt last week, but I feel that I’m back to full strength this week,” said the 19-year-old Serengeti.

“I am so excited about the week ahead. It has been an amazing experience to play almost a full season this year. The amount you absorb from playing with the professionals is difficult to quantify, but it definitely impacts on your game.

GolfRSA No 1 Caitlyn Macnab made history as the first amateur winner in 14 years on the South African women’s professional golf circuit when she powered to an eight-shot victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“I have been really fortunate that Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman, who both play on the Ladies European Tour, took me under their wings. And my coach Grant Veenstra has been amazing, preparing me for the mental pressure on the pro circuit.

“It has been a huge learning curve, building experience on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and learning from the pros and I hope I can put everything into practice this week to finish the season on a high note.”

Whateley also arrived at Westlake with some good form.

Since the start of the season, the 17-year-old Country Club Johannesburg has risen to third in the GolfRSA Open Amateur rankings and second in the Junior standing, having racked up top-10 finishes in all her starts, including second in the Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship at the end of April and third in the ProShop Gauteng Open this past weekend.

Whateley hopes to give Macnab a run for her money, but her first priority is to get past the spectacle of her debut on the pro circuit.

“When Womens Golf South Africa offered me the chance to play this week, I jumped at it, because I think the experience is going to so valuable, but it’s easy to let yourself be intimidated by the occasion and playing with the pros,” Whateley said.

“I am doing my best to focus on the golf and forget about everything else. I think once I get that opening tee shot out of the way on Thursday, I will be able to treat this as any other golf tournament and play the course shot for shot.”

Recent Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl champion Isabella van Rooyen finished 18th in the Cape Town Ladies Open.

“I hope I can do better in my second start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour,” said the 16-year-old Clovelly golfer. “I realised playing Royal Cape that I put too much pressure on myself that I forgot to play my own game. I’ve had the test run, so this week, my first goal will be to make the cut. And after that, just to stick to playing my own game and we’ll see where that leaves me.”

The other amateurs lining up at Westlake includes the country’s number two-ranked Kaylah Williams, former SA Women’s Amateur champion Jordan Rothman, Shani Brynard, Odette Booysen, Katia Schaff and mid-amateur standout Nina Grey.

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

21st April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini chasing Macnab at Sun City

21 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab carried her imperious winning form from the Jabra Ladies Classic to the Pilansberg, where she edged out Nobuhle Dlamini for the round one lead in the Ladies SuperSport Challenge, presented by Sun International.

Macnab lived up to the billing as one of the headline acts at Sun City, carding a three-under-par opening round 69 at the Gary Player Country Club, but former champion Dlamini is in hot pursuit, just one shot off the pace.

Last year’s runner-up, Tandi McCallum, opened with a one-under 71 to sit alone in third, with Anna Magnusson from Sweden and seasoned French campaigner Astrid Vayson De Pradenne tied for fourth on level par. Lee-Anne Pace and former SA Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt share sixth, a further shot adrift.

Defending champion Lejan Lewthwaite opened with a three-over-par 75 and is six off the pace.

Big-hitting Dlamini is starting to hit the form that saw her rack up victories in the Joburg Ladies Open and Dimension Data Ladies Challenge last season, and brought her close to winning the 2020 Investec Order of Merit title.

The eSwatini golfer enjoyed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour success in the 2018 edition at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club. Three years earlier she was finished second at the Lost City Golf Course and in 2019, was the runner-up again at the Wild Coast.

Dlamini also wore the bridesmaid’s tag in the 2016 Sun International Ladies Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club and she once again showed her affinity for this tournament – and the championship layout – with a solid 70 that featured two dropped shots and four birdies

“I’m pleased with the round; the set-up is tough and there was a couple of tricky pins. If you offered me a two under of the start of the round, I would have taken it,” said Dlamini. “No real drama. I hit it well off the tees and my iron-play was good, but I could have putted better.

“I can’t hit driver off the tee on many holes because of the set-up, but I am striking it well, so I might get a little more aggressive with my approach shots tomorrow.”

Caitlyn Macnab during round one of the SuperSport Ladies Classic, presented by Sun International, at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, South Africa.
Image: Petri Oeschger

Macnab, meanwhile, is riding a wave of confidence after a top four finish in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open and an eight-shot triumph at Glendower last week, where she became the first amateur winner of the pro women’s golf circuit since Ashleigh Buhai in 2007.

The Texas Christian University-bound teenager’s 69 came courtesy of three birdies on the back nine.

“I had a solid start with two good birdies, but I made silly bogeys on nine and 10,” she said. “I took 5-iron off the tee on nine and the club slipped out of my hand. I was completely out of position, and had to hit a massive hook. I had a mud ball and the ball didn’t come out well. My chip came out hot and I missed the putt. It wasn’t a bad bogey. I hit a good drive and a decent second on 10. I had a lengthy putt and smashed my first putt way past and missed the return.

“Other than those two holes, it was solid. I only missed the fairway once, on the final hole. Actually, I missed one more, but I was only a foot off so I’m not counting it. The rough is really thick, so hitting fairways was key to me scoring so well on a course like this. My swing is also improving; I’m starting to hit the shots and the shapes that I want to.”

Macnab is feeling confident, but also realises that things can change quickly.

“Confidence is a funny thing. Yes, I have an expectation to win events, but my bigger expectation is to give it all that I can; always 100%. When you’re hitting good shots and playing good rounds, your confidence builds. You don’t feel so restricted. You can hit the ball much more freely and play the shots you want to play. For me it also means I can be more creative and when I can play like that, I feel like I’m playing my best golf.”

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

16th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Magnificent Macnab makes history in Jabra Ladies Classic

16 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab made South African golfing history on Friday when she powered to an eight-stroke victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club.

In a scintillating final round, the 19-year-old GolfRSA No 1 sealed the victory in breath-taking fashion, firing five birdies on the back nine for a closing five-under-par 67.

In doing so, Macnab became the first amateur winner on the South African women’s professional golf circuit since Ashleigh Buhai (née Simon) lifted her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007.

“It’s awesome; it’s such a great feeling,” said Macnab with a smile that could light up the world.

The Ekurhuleni golfer had squandered a chance to rewrite the history books in season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club with a double bogey late in the final round, and she was absolutely delighted to pull it through in her home union.

“There is a lot more pressure when you play against the pros, and last week in Cape Town I didn’t really know what to expect heading into the final day with a share of the lead. This week I felt a lot more comfortable, and playing here at Glendower was great. It’s such a great course.

“I won the SA Women’s Stroke Play and the Match Play twice and I’ve represented South Africa a few times, so this ranks right up there with my greatest achievements. I am over the moon, because this is huge for me. The theme this year is #levelup and I feel I’ve done exactly that. Following in Ashleigh’s shoes is pretty special.

“I wanted to come out this season to build experience and to test myself. There are still a lot of amazing opportunities ahead this season, but it’s a fantastic feeling to get it done. I’m really grateful to my whole team for getting me here.”

Macnab began the final round with a one-shot lead over Lindi Coetzee and had a three stroke advantage over seasoned winner Lee-Anne Pace.

Two months ago, the Serengeti golfer showed her merciless side as she routed Megan Streicher 11 & 9 in the 36-hole match play final to successfully defend her SA Women’s Amateur title. The amateur was just as ruthless over the last nine holes at Glendower.

Having dropped a trio of shots in her outward loop, Macnab still had a three-shot advantage through the turn and she pulled away from the field with the clinical surge coming home. She notched birdied on the 10th, 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes to give herself an unattainable lead coming down the last hole.

“I started birdie, birdie, but I didn’t actually hit the ball great,” Macnab said. “My swing felt a little bit snappy, so I slowed it down and started driving it really well. I was able to avoid the errant shots that cost me in the previous rounds and the putts were dropping, which always helps.”

GolfRSA No 1 Caitlyn Macnab made history as the first amateur winner in 14 years on the South African women’s professional golf circuit when she powered to an eight-shot victory in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

As an amateur, Macnab can’t share in the R600 000 purse on offer this week, but the historic achievement does earn her coveted spot in the field of the Jabra Ladies Open. The dual-ranking Ladies European Tour and LET Access Series event is also the qualifying tournament for the season’s fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in France from 22-25 July.

“It’s a fantastic incentive from Jabra. Although I am leaving for Texas Christian University in August to take up a golf scholarship, competing in the Jabra Ladies Open will be an incredible opportunity to build more experience,” said Macnab.

Her 12-under-par total was ultimately eight shots better than her Grant Veenstra Golf Academy stable-mate Nicole Garcia and second-season professional playing partner Coetzee.

Garcia birdied both par fives on the back nine and reduced the gap to six shots with an eagle-two at the 16th, but a double bogey finish for a 68 saw her slip back to tie for second on four-under with Coetzee, who returned a 74.

Kelsey Nicholas, also in her second season in the pro ranks, carded a 71 to grab a share of fourth alongside Pace, who signed for 77, while last year’s Investec Order of Merit winner Monique Smit finished in sixth spot on three-over.

The next stop for the Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners is Sun City, where Lejan Lewthwaite will take up her title defence in the R400 000 SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Gary Player Country Club from 21-23 April.

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


15th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Macnab on the march in Jabra Ladies Classic

15 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab will look to resist rising star Lindi Coetzee and seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace as she bids for the Jabra Ladies Classic title in Friday’s final round at Glendower Golf Club.

The 19-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player fired a sparkling four-under-par 68 on a cool, but windless conditions to charge to a one-shot lead, ending the day on seven-under. She leads Coetzee by one shot, and finished three shots ahead of Pace.

Macnab began the second round one shot behind early leader Kyra van Kan and superb approach play saw her notch four birdies in the first five holes. She sandwiched a birdie between bogeys on the seventh and eighth holes and interrupted a string of pars on the homeward loop with a lone birdie on the par-five 13th.

But Macnab was quick to state that she hadn’t been at her best.

“I hit it long on seven and had a very difficult chip, and I hit a bad approach shot into nine that resulted in another bogey, but it was a pretty solid run over the first nine holes,” said Macnab. “After the turn I struggled to get the putts to drop and I had to scramble for pars on 16 and 17, but all in all, a decent round.”

Macnab will stick to the same winning game plan in Friday’s final round that won her the Champions of Champions title at Glendower in 2019 and the Open, Closed and Junior honours in the Ekurhuleni Women’s Open in October last year.

“The course is in beautiful condition, but it is set up quite a bit tougher than I am used to playing it on the amateur circuit. But I won’t adjust my game plan; I’ll just try to limit the mistakes and avoid the errant shots that cost me some shots today.”

Coetzee, who lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the 2018 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club, racked up five birdies and was level with Macnab with one hole to play, but an untimely bogey on the closing hole for a 68 cost her a share of the lead.

“It was a good round; I kept it in the fairways, hit the greens and kept it bogey free right up to the 18th hole,” she said. “I struggled with the driver all day and on the last hole, I pulled my tee shot into the trees. I had a shot, but I didn’t execute it well and clipped a branch. I got a lucky break and had a decent lie. I hit my third on the green and two-putted, but the way I see it, it was a solid drop and it could have been much worse.”

The 21-year-old Magalies Park golfer is excited at the prospect of joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on Friday.

“Caitlyn and I go way back and she is always a pleasure to play with, but I am really looking forward to playing with Lee-Anne. We have so much to learn from her and I’ve always admired her swing and her demeanour on the course. Anything I can learn from her will help me to level up.”

Pace once again made a slow start, but the nine-time Ladies European Tour winner kicked it up a gear coming home. She made three birdies on the bounce from the par-four 11th and picked up another shot on the par-five 15th, before also letting one slip on the par-four 18th.

“It was slow at the start, but I made a very good up-and-down for bogey on the ninth and that got me going,” she said after successive rounds of 70. “I managed to get the putts to the hole on the back nine and made some birdies, so I’m very happy with the round.

“I won’t change much going into the final round. I’ll try to take advantage of the par-fives; they are playing a little easier and you can reach them. Those are definitely the scoring holes. I am pretty aggressive with my irons, but it is vital that you drive the fairways at this course. I’ll aim for the fairways first, and work out my strategy from there.”

The outcome on Friday would be significant for all three leading players as they try to take their games to the next level.

For Pace, a 14th Sunshine Ladies Tour title and 24th professional career victory will be a big shot of confidence as she prepares for the 2021 Ladies European season. For Coetzee, a maiden win in the R600 000 showpiece would mean a major leg up in the 2021 Investec Order of Merit race and the chance to compete in the Jabra Ladies Open.

There is no financial incentive for Macnab, but to become the first amateur to win on the local professional circuit since Ashleigh Buhai won her second South African Women’s Open title in 2007, will be reward enough.

Unfortunately it was the end of the road for first round leader Kyra van Kan.

The Glendower amateur followed an opening 68 with a round of 76 to tie seasoned professionals Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Monique Smit for fourth on level-par. However, she forgot to sign her scorecard and was disqualified from the tournament. A tough lesson for Ekurhuleni junior but at 15, she has many years ahead and she will surely bounce back from the disappointment.

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

8th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

First Sunshine Ladies Tour showdown set in Cape Town

CAPE TOWN, 8 April 2021 – Amateur Caitlyn Macnab lived up to her No. 1 billing when she surged into a share of the lead in the Sunshine Ladies Tour season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open on Thursday.

The 19-year-old Serengeti golfer fired a flawless five-under-par 69 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish alongside overnight leader Cara Gorlei.

Milnerton’s Gorlei lost some traction over the first 10 holes, but re-ignited her campaign with an eagle-birdie combination at the 11th and 12th holes. She regained a seat at the top of the leaderboard with a birdie finish for a two-under 72.

Sitting at five-under, both golfers will look to make history in Friday’s final round with a maiden victory on Africa’s premier professional women’s golf circuit.

Macnab, a champion for the strength of the women’s amateur game in South Africa, backed up her successful title defence in the South African Women’s Amateur Championship in February with victories in the KwaZulu-Natal Championship and Free State Open.

Ahead of the first event, the GolfRSA Elite Squad member said she was looking forward to raising her game and soaking up experience competing against the professionals before she took up a golf scholarship at Texas Christian University in August.

So far, her game has held up rather nicely and she doesn’t plan to change a thing.

“I am not going to change a thing,” said the 19-year-old Elite Squad player. “I came into the tournament with a strategy for this course and I am going to stick with it. I will try to capitalise on the par fives and to keep the ball in play. The greens are rolling very true and if I can position myself well off the tees, the birdie opportunities are out there.”

Cara Gorlei kept her bid for a maiden title on track with a second round 72 to tie for the lead on five under in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club.

For Gorlei, the putter will be key.

“I was putting beautifully before the round, but I left everything short over the first nine holes. After another close miss on the 10th, I took out another ball. I told my coach Wayne Bradley, who is on the bag this week, hopefully this one won’t be afraid of the dark,” said the 25-year-old.

“Then I eagled the 11th and the momentum changed right there. I made a few more birdies coming in and that’s what I need to bring to the final round. The rest of the game is in good nick and I’m looking forward to going head-to-head with Caitlyn. She was in the group ahead of me and playing really well, so I’m looking forward to a great battle on Friday.”

The young guns will have to bring their A-game, though, with Frenchwoman Manon Gidali and three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace in hot pursuit.

Gidali, who tied for fourth in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake in her last visit to South Africa, is looking for a strong start to her first full Sunshine Ladies Tour season and will start the final round two shots behind the joint leaders.

“I played really nicely in the first round, but I just didn’t score, so that was the focus today,” said the 27-year-old Ladies European Tour campaigner, who had a lone bogey in her round of 71.

“I didn’t even know what I shot today; the focus was just to keep the card clean and to pick up some shots on the field. It’s been four months since I last played competitive golf, which is why I came out to make an early start on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. It’s really great to have this tour where we can prepare for the start of the LET season. And playing in the sun is just fantastic.”

Former LPGA Tour winner Pace closed the gap on the frontrunners with a four-under 70.

“I’m really happy with the way my game is shaping up,” said Pace, the winner in 2016, 2018 and 2020. “The start was a bit scrappy but got it to level before the turn and everything fell into place on the back nine. I’m striking the ball well and I’m close. I’m pleased that I made four birdies and didn’t drop a shot over the last nine holes.

“I have always loved this tournament and this course and it would be great to start the season on a winning note again after such a disappointing 2020.”

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite returned a 73 to finish alone in fifth on one-under.

Dutch golfer Pasqualle Coffa matched Macnab’s low round of the day to move to sixth position on one-over, with Scottish pair Jane Turner and Rachael Taylor, Emie Peronnin from France and Stacy Bregman rounding out the top 10 on two-over.

Hashtags: #LevelUp #SunshineLadiesTour

 Facebook – @sunshineladiestour
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.