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23rd May 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Top 10 for Alexander in Aramco Series Florida

22 May 2023 – Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Casandra Alexander carded her second successive three-over-par 75 on Sunday to finish in a share of 10th in the Ladies European Tour’s Aramco Team Series-Florida at Trump International in West Palm Beach.

Alexander overcame two double-bogeys on the front nine on her way to her final-round score, also making four birdies and a bogey in a roller-coaster start to the day. She had two more bogeys on the homeward nine as she moved to four-over-par for the tournament.

In the end, she was six shots behind the winner, Carlota Ciganda of Spain, who closed with a one-over 73 to hold off Klara Davidson Spilkova of the Czech Republic by one.

Lee-Anne Pace also had a closing 75, and she finished in a share of 28th on seven-over-par. Nicole Garcia had her second successive 78 to finish, and she was on 14-over in a share of 58th.

Written by Mike Green |

19th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

South Africans shine in Sunshine Ladies Tour’s season yet

19 March 2023 – While England’s Lily May Humphreys won the 2023 Investec Order of Merit in the 10th season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, three South Africans finished in the top five, underscoring the importance of the burgeoning circuit for local players.

Humphreys played all six tournaments, won one, had four other top 10s, and her worst finish was in the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club when she shared 24th.

South Africa’s Casandra Alexander played four, won two – the SuperSport Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic – and a share of seventh at Steenberg saw her finish second in the rankings, within striking distance of Humphreys at the end.

The other South Africans who rounded out the top five were Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Kaleigh Telfer, who had three top-10s as she successfully mixed it up with the best players from Europe, and veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who did everything but win with four top-10s.

In a nice little bit of symmetry, the two other South Africans inside the top 10 of the Order of Merit were rookie Kiera Floyd in ninth with two top-10s, and the more experienced Nicole Garcia in 10th place, who also had two top-10s.

“It’s pretty cool to win the Investec Order of Merit,” said Humphreys. “I’m pretty happy about it. It’s been as good as I’ve played. It’s been a lot of golf, a lot of different golf courses, and different weather pretty much every week. I’ve really enjoyed it out here.

“I ran out of steam a little towards the end. It wasn’t my best golf over the last few days at Steenberg, but I’ll just reset and get ready for what lies ahead. I’ll definitely come back and play these events again. I’ll have to see how the schedule looks because I’m a winner now. I’ll have a full schedule on the Ladies European Tour, which is pretty exciting.”

And this is exactly the pathway which makes the Sunshine Ladies Tour such an important route for budding professionals.

Humphreys got her win in the Joburg Open, co-sanctioned between Africa’s premier women’s professional circuit and the Ladies European Tour. It was the fifth event of the 10th season and she had played her way into a position to win and leapfrog her way into the big time.

And while it was AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai who won the other co-sanctioned tournament, Telfer was able to convert her top-five finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open into a start on the main Ladies European Tour circuit with a place in the Aramco Team Series-Singapore the following week.

That is a stepping stone which could be decisive in her budding professional career.

Buhai talked about the importance of the local tour ahead of her victory at Steenberg: “Obviously it’s fantastic to see how it’s grown, how the sponsors are starting to support women’s golf in South Africa. And you can see it in the trends in women’s golf around the world. All prize purses are starting to increase.

“I think it’s so important to have these events for the local girls to be able to compete in, so they play on better courses, with a stricter set up that compares well with the international circuits, and in stronger fields so that they know when they’re ready to take that next step and where they really need to be.

“With six events on the tour now, I think there’s space for growth. I think if we could get it to double figures at least would be great. And also not just to have the circuit from February through April, but to extend it. They need to play all year-round to prepare better for the next level. Maybe two a month at least. We understand that the purses might not be what it is in these big events, but it’s more just about being able to play, getting that game time.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you’re playing for, or how big or small the tournament is. When you’re in that moment, it doesn’t matter. It’s the same pressure of you trying to win a golf tournament.”

The groundwork for growth has been laid. The women played for R1.075-million 10 years ago, and for over R16-million this year on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. The six tournaments are all big in their own right, and the way forward is clear. Roll on 2024!

28th February 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

No expectations for Alexander in Joburg Ladies Open

28 February 2023 – Although she has won twice on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season, Casandra Alexander says she is not going into the €300 000 Joburg Ladies Open which gets underway at Modderfontein Golf Club on Wednesday with any expectations.

Alexander, who added last week’s Jabra Ladies Classic to her SuperSport Ladies Challenge title from the beginning of February, leads the Investec Order of Merit on the local tour, and is clearly on a roll ahead of the final two events of the season which are co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

“I’m gearing up for the two big ones, but I have no expectations; I’m just excited for the week ahead,” the 2021 Joburg Ladies Open champion said.

She won her title at Soweto Country Club by one stroke from South Africa’s leading player at the time, Lee-Anne Pace, but she missed the cut at Modderfontein last year when Sweden’s Linn Grant won her third title in South Africa before going on to nearly conquer the world.

“I struggled out there last year,” said Alexander, “but the confidence I have from winning my two tournaments on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year really helps me. I have fond memories of the Joburg Open having won it before. Yes, it’s a different golf course, and it wasn’t co-sanctioned then, but it has always been a special week.”

And it is special again this week, with no less than five Investec South African Women’s Open champions in the field, including Pace, who has won the last two national titles, 2020 winner Alice Hewson from England, Diksha Dagar from India, who won in 2019, Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, the winner in 2013 and Tandi McCallum, who won in 2009.

There is also last year’s runner-up, Kim Metraux of Switzerland, as well as players from 28 countries other than South Africa.

And, of course, there are the South African players looking to make their mark on the Ladies European Tour, as well as their own home circuit – the rookies like Kiera Floyd and Gabi Venter, as well as the experienced players who are settling in to their work at local and international level, like Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman.

With six players inside the world’s top 200 according to the Rolex Women’s World Rankings – including Pace and Hewson, Ana Pelaez Trivino of Spain, the Czech Republic’s Klara Davidson Spilkova, Leonie Harm of Germany and Swede Johanna Gustavsson – it’s a field for locals to test themselves against as they look to further their careers.

Alexander is heading down that road having played a season on the Ladies European Tour already, and the Joburg Ladies Open can give her a little help on that path. “It’s an advantage to be staying at home, sleeping in my own bed,” she said. “You don’t get a stiff body that way. Being surrounded by my team is a big bonus.

“I can take each day as just another round of golf, even though they are bigger events and more players are coming out for them,” she added.

Two wins in a season is also a bit of a boost, and it won’t be too much of a surprise to see her in the mix over the weekend. Or to see her win.