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11th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Buhai takes Investec SA Women’s Open with a victory lap

11 March 2023 – She savoured the applause during the walk on to the 18th green at Steenberg Golf Club on Saturday, and Ashleigh Buhai rewarded the crowd gathered there with a birdie to clinch the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship by a four-stroke margin.

In the end, the final round of Buhai’s fourth national title was something of a victory lap, as she started the day with a four-stroke edge.

Her four-under-par 68 to finish the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour’s co-sanctioned tournament meant the gap was still four after runner-up Ana Pelaez Trivino of Spain also carded a 68.

“I’m over the moon, obviously,” said Buhai. “Ecstatic to have gotten the job done. My goal was to come here and win this week. I tried to play it down, because I know it’s a lot of pressure and it was going to be difficult to do. But now that I’ve got it over the line, I’m really happy.”

It hardly mattered that Buhai, the reigning AIG Women’s Open champion, dropped two shots in three holes down the finishing stretch, because she made five birdies on her front nine as her lead stretched to as much as seven at one point.

“It was great to start with a birdie on one, especially after making bogey there yesterday,” said Buhai. “I had good putts on two and three, and then made three in a row on four, five and six, and I just kept it going. And it was a good putt on nine for that birdie too.

While the bogeys may have irritated Buhai on some deeply personal level, the reality is that she had done the heavy lifting in the first two round, and was able to do enough thereafter to simply preserve her lead for the rest of a week which was something of a celebratory homecoming.

“On the back nine, I hit good shots, but I was kind of in between yardages,” she said, “and the wind got a little bit trickier. But luckily I had that big lead, and I could just hit it to the space on the greens and take my two putts. They had to come chasing and I did what I had to do to get the job done.”

After her putter seemed to have mutinied during the second round, Buhai took it on herself to put it in its place by hitting what seemed like every approach shot on the front nine to inside a few feet. While the big putts which took her clear of the field in the first two rounds were missing from her repertoire, she wasn’t too fussed. “I have my routine on the greens, and I have found that following that every time rather than worrying about whether the putt goes in calms me down a lot, and the results will come from the familiarity of that routine.”

Trivino took her second runner-up result in a row after she finished in a share of second in last week’s Joburg Open, and it was achieved by brave play throughout. “I felt really good this week and last week,” she said. “We’re making sure that every area is covered and then just go out there and have fun. Luckily, we’re playing good golf and we can enjoy it even more. I’m going to take everything to next week and hopefully get that win. I like runner-up finishes, but I’d rather have the trophy with me!”

In third after a closing three-under-par 69 was German teenager Chiara Noja, who, like Buhai, was hit by the stomach bug which hit many players in the field. “I’m really proud of myself that I managed to pull through this week,” she said. “After the first round when I shot 62, I was feeling really bad physically. I played decent golf today. I had so many missed opportunities and I finally didn’t miss the top 10. We’re back in business.”

Rookie Kaleigh Telfer eagled the last to finish the next-best South African in fifth on 11-under. Her closing 68 put her 11 strokes behind Buhai’s winning 22-under. Casandra Alexander closed with a one-under 71 to finish inside the top 10 in a share of seventh on nine-under.

For Buhai, the victory justified her decision to come home after a long stretch away from her United States base. “It’s always important for me to play this tournament when I can,” she said. “Unfortunately scheduling didn’t work out the last few years because of changes forced by COVID. But I’m happy even though it was at the end of a four-week run and I was a little tired at the beginning of the week, but obviously now I’m thrilled that I came home.

“I’m sure there will be a celebratory braai tonight. I’ve got a few family and friends here, and it’s going to be good to share this with them.”

She also shared it with the applauding fans, and, in a pointed gesture, she made sure to turn back to sign autographs for a young girl and boy who ran after her as she set off for yet another television interview.

9th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Team Buhai soars at Investec SA Women’s Open

9 March 2023 – With her husband on the bag, as he was when she won the title in 2018, a relaxed Ashleigh Buhai posted a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to stretch to a four-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club.

The reigning AIG Women’s Open champion missed five of 14 fairways, and hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation, but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the serene way she went about her work.

Of course, it helps when you’re putting sublimely, and, with just 26 putts for the second round in a row, once she hit the front, there wasn’t much doubt that she’d be in the lead going into the final two rounds of the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

“It’s always good fun to have Dave on the bag,” Buhai said. “He caddied for me for eight years, no-one knows my game better other than my coach Doug Wood. It’s good when we can do these one-off weeks together every now and then.”

In her first round, she made a bogey, and for her second trip around the course, she managed to minimise errors completely.

“It is always a good day when you have no bogeys, so that’s first things first,” said Buhai, who is taking aim at what would be her fourth national open title. “My front nine was a little bit of a slow start, and I got a bit unlucky on number five when I hit the flag and it ricocheted all the way back down the green. I stayed patient and then managed to finish birdie-birdie on the front nine.

“The golf course is staying soft, so you can be a bit more aggressive, but the pins were a little bit more tucked today. At the same time, I had to be patient. I felt myself trying to push a little bit and then on seven, I hit it left and I said to myself to just hit it to my spaces and the birdies will come and that’s what I did on the back nine.”

In second place was the German teenager Chiara Noja, who fired a course-record 62 in the first round to top Buhai’s opening 64. The 16-year-old Noja, who already had a Ladies European Tour title behind her name, was only able to grind out a one-under-par 71 in the second round which she started in heavy early morning rain.

There were four players in a share of third on eight-under-par, including last year’s runner-up Magdalena Simmermacher from who out lost to Lee-Anne Pace in an epic six-hole play-off. The Argentinean had perhaps the round of the day with her five-under in the very challenging early morning conditions.

Spaniard Ana Pelaez Trivino, who also had a five-under, but much later in the day, Nastasia Nadaud from France, who signed for a two-under 70; and Dutch golfer Romy Meekers, who also carded 70 share third with Simmermacher.

Backing up Buhai’s efforts for South Africa were rookie Kaleigh Telfer and Casandra Alexander.

Telfer was impressive with a bogey-free three-under-par 69, and Alexander, who has won twice on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season, overcame a bogey on the 10th with five birdies on her way to a 68. They were on six-under for the tournament in a share of sixth.

With the two South Africans were Johanna Gustavsson from Sweden, who had a 72, England’s Gabriella Cowley, who had a 69, and compatriot Lily May Himphreys, who leads the Investec Order of Merit on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after her win in the Joburg Open last week. Humphreys birdied the final hole for a round of 71.

The cut to 60 and ties fell at level-par, leaving a field of 60 professionals and South Africa’s No 1-ranked amateur Kyra van Kan to battle things out over the final 36 holes. For Buhai, things look pretty rosy with a four-shot lead, but she knows that things can change in the blink of an eye. “I’ll need to keep doing what I’m doing,” she said. “I will stick to my process and stick to my steps and try and stick to my thoughts that I have in my swing, that’s all I can control and hopefully the outcome will be what we want.”

8th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

German precision nets Noja course-record at Investec SA Women’s Open

It was a display of precision golf from Germany’s Chiara Noja on Wednesday as she soared to a course-record 10-under-par 62 to take a two-stroke lead in the first round of the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club.

The lanky 16-year-old Noja, who finished 12th in a stellar field in the LPGA’s Aramco Saudi Ladies International just a few weeks back, hit 17 of 18 greens in regulation as she made an eagle, nine birdies and a bogey to relegate Ashleigh Buhai’s opening eight-under-par 68 to second place.

“It was just very consistent golf in general,” said Noja. “I didn’t feel like I was swinging it incredibly well, so I was just trying to put myself in good positions for birdies. My putting’s good, definitely. To hole some of those putts was really good. My wedges were on point, and that’s what I’ll be trying to do going into the next few days. Depending on the wind, we’re going to see exactly how much I need to go under.”

While her wedge play was outstanding, there was plenty more to catch the eye about her game.

Any good score depends on making putts, and she had 27 putts in her 18 holes, including just 12 on the front nine. But her driving also caught the eye, and on the par-five fifth, she boomed it out there to 292 yards.

It was those shots into the greens that were attention-grabbing, and that was no fluke.

“Over the last two years, I’ve spent a lot of time working on my wedges,” she said. “I used to really struggle with that. I didn’t really get to practice it much. Over the winter, I’ve done a lot of wedge work and a lot of the shots I have learnt to hit, I didn’t have in the bag at the start of the season. There’s been growth in that sense, and also trusting myself a little better. I’m just trying to commit to everything.”

After Buhai’s morning heroics, Noja’s score was the only significant shake-up on the leaderboard from the afternoon field in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Lades Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

On six-under, and in a share of third, were Johanna Gustavsson of Sweden, France’s Nastasia Nadaud and Romy Meekers of the Netherlands.

Joburg Ladies Open winner and reigning Investec Order of Merit leader Lily May Humphreys from England was back in the mix with a flawless five-under-par 67 to sit in sixth, and six players were in a share of seventh on four-under, including the next-best South African after Buhai, Nadia van der Westhuizen.

Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace opened with a two-under-par 70.

The story of the day, however, was Noja’s. “Obviously, I’ve had school, so I’ve not been running around crazy, but the work I have done in between lots of studying has mainly about trying to be healthy and try to make things repeatable,” she said. “I’ve also been working on getting shots into my bag for those in between distances that I didn’t have last year, and that’s really helped me for the last three months.” With uncertainty in the air about the weather over the next few days, Noja was reluctant to say how she might approach the rest of the tournament. “I’m going to show up, make the best of everything, of every shot, and whatever comes out comes out,” she said.

| Sunshine Ladies Tour

Two braais in a row and an afternoon on a couch

8 March 2023 – Home comforts as well as the best opening nine holes of her career propelled Ashleigh Buhai to an eight-under-par 64 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Investec South African Women’s Open Championship at Steenberg Golf Club.

The reigning AIG Women’s Open champion made seven birdies on her front nine after starting on the 10th to turn in seven-under-par 29.

There was a dropped shot on the third – her 12th – and two more birdies, and she was two shots clear of her nearest challengers after the morning field had all handed in their scorecards in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

“I got off to a great start, making three in a row, lipped out on the fourth and made a bomb on the fifth,” said Buhai, who has won the title three times already, with her last triumph coming in 2018 just down the road at Westlake. “It was a very hot start, and the best front nine in tournament play in my career – never shot 29 before.”

It was just the start she would have wanted after having flown in from Singapore on Monday. “Travel is just part of the job, it’s what we do, but I did feel on Tuesday that I was still at 3,000 feet,” she said. “With the quick turnaround and the Wednesday start, it might have been nice to have got another day of rest, but it is what it is. But to have my family here, and my husband’s family is great. We’re in an Air B ‘n’ B, we’ve had two braais back-to-back, so we’re very happy.

“But after this first round, I’m really excited to go sit on a couch this afternoon. I didn’t get to do that yesterday, with the pro-am and practice. I stayed out a little later, because I just felt I needed to get the feel of the tweak I did with my putter, but I’m very glad I did and put in the work, because it paid off.”

It was her putting which saw her surge clear with that opening birdie-burst which consisted of three in the first three holes, one on the fifth, and then three in a row again from the seventh. “I had a putting lesson yesterday,” said Buhai. “My coach Doug Wood came down for two days and it was nice to see him after not seeing him in about five weeks. We just touched up a few things and made a little tweak here and there, and it paid off straight away.”

The heat evaporated somewhat on the back nine as it drizzled throughout her round, but the fast start had already set her up. “I hadn’t seen the front nine, so I played it blind, and I don’t feel I committed as well as I didn’t on the other nine,” she said. “It showed on the tee shot on three, where I made bogey, but after that, I just trusted Dave, my husband who is on the bag this week. He told me where to hit it and I listened to him.

“My back nine played a little more trickily. I had some longer clubs in and there was a little bit of wind, especially on the last three holes. My goal was to get it to nine-under once I got it back to seven, but those last three holes, you had to hit some good shots coming in.”

Buhai will start the second round two shots back from 16-year-old German teen, Chiara Noja, who blitzed the course in 10-under 62.

On six-under are Johanna Gustavsson from Sweden, France’s Nastasia Nadaud and Romy Meekers from the Netherlands and a further shot back, on five-under, is last week’s Joburg Ladies Open winner and Investec Order of Merit leader Lily May Humphreys from England, the only player in the top six to produce a bogey-free round.

Next best of the South Africans was Nadia van der Westhuizen, who finished on four-under together with Scotland’s Kylie Henry, Luna Sobron Galmes from Spain, Denmark’s Smilla Tarning Soenderby and Agathe Sauzon from France.

Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace started her campaign for what would be a record-extending sixth championship title with a two-under-par 70, a score she shared with South African Casandra Alexander, who has won twice on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season.

They all have their work cut out for them if Buhai continues to score they was she started: “I wanted to play from a calm place, and to do my steps and processes,” she said. “I have four steps in my routine, and I have my one swing thought, and as long as I commit to that swing thought, that’s all I can do – I can’t affect the result. I do know if I keep doing that with the swing, and with the feel I had with the putter today, maybe seven out of 10 times, it will produce the result that I want.

6th March 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Investec SA Women’s Open arrives in City of Cape Town

6 March 2023 – The Investec South African Women’s Open Championship will add to the kaleidoscope of international sport that has enthralled Cape Town and the world when it tees off on Wednesday at Steenberg Golf Club.

It’s the 30th time the tournament is being played, it’s the 10th anniversary of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, which co-sanctions the event with the Ladies European Tour, and it is the sixth time the tournament will be played in Cape Town. Hot on the heels of global cricket, yachting and motorsport events, players from 29 countries will showcase their talents on a stage set amongst some of the finest scenery the Western Cape offers.

Said Cape Town’s mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis: “It is so encouraging to see women’s golf – and women’s sport in general – getting the exposure and the attention it deserves. This tournament will see world-class golfers battle it out over 72 holes for a total prize money of R5.9-million, thanks in great part to the continued sponsorship of Investec. And they will do so against the stunning backdrop of our Constantiaberg mountains.”

Heading up the world-class field is the reigning AIG Women’s Open champion, Ashleigh Buhai, the world number 20, who is returning to South Africa to play in a tournament she has won three times.

“It will be an opportunity for up-and-coming golfers to put their stamp on the game and announce themselves to the world, as they take on some of the biggest names,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis. “Just look at the career of Ashleigh Buhai, who won this tournament way back in 2004 and then again three years later, when she was still a young amateur. Since then, she has become a household name in the game and has done our country proud on the world’s biggest stages, including her spectacular play-off win in the Women’s Open at Muirfield last year.

“She’ll be back at Steenberg, leading this strong field, but she will know that the next Ashleigh Buhai could be standing behind her on the tee box, waiting to grab her opportunity.”

In addition to the up-and-coming players in the field is the five-time champion Lee-Anne Pace, who seems to reserve her resilient best for the championship. She took the last two titles in a row, once at Westlake Golf Club, and last year at Steenberg.

There are also four other former winners of the tournament in the field, in Alice Hewson of England, India’s Diksha Dagar, Norwegian Marianne Skarpnord and South Africa’s Tandi McCallum.

The up-and-coming players include the four winners on this year’s Sunshine Ladies Tour circuit. South Africa’s Casandra Alexander has won twice, in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge and the Jabra Ladies Classic; Moa Folke of Sweden took the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am; England’s Hayley Davis won the Cape Town Ladies Open, and Lily May Humphreys of England won last week’s Joburg Ladies Open.

All of those victories were signals of strong careers ahead of them. There are also rookie amateurs who have been acquitting themselves well through the season: Chief among them are South Africans Kaleigh Telfer and Kiera Floyd, who lie fifth and ninth respectively on the Investec Order of Merit of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Telfer has had two top-10 finishes, coming fifth in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and third in the Jabra Ladies Classic, while Floyd came second in the Cape Town Ladies Open and fourth in the Joburg Ladies Open.

“I have no doubt that the Investec South African Women’s Open will do a fantastic job of selling not only the game of South African women’s golf to the world, but also our beautiful and vibrant city,” said Mayor Hill-Lewis.

| Sunshine Ladies Tour

SA Womens Open qualifier a breeze for Ruiz

6 March 2023 – Spain’s Laura Gomez Ruiz carded a one-under-par 71 at Steenberg Golf Club on Monday to lead five qualifiers into the main draw of the Investec South African Women’s Open, co sanctioned by the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour.

Ruiz was the only player who dipped into red figures on a blustery Cape Town morning, making three birdies and two bogeys to top the field by one stroke from Katja Pogacar of Slovenia and fellow-Spaniard Elena Hualde.

Ruiz, who has played on the Ladies European Tour for four years, and is in South African for the fourth time, drew on experience at Steenberg to top the leaderboard. “I played the course last year, so I knew it from before and that helped,” she said. “It’s very tricky, especially these greens. Uphill and downhill, it makes a big difference, especially with the wind. If the wind was from behind, the putt was really fast.”

While the wind made things tricky, Ruiz had recent experience of much tougher windy conditions to draw on. “Two weeks ago, I played the Cape Town Ladies Open at Atlantic Beach, and that was brutal,” she said. “It was the hardest conditions I have ever played in my life. So today, this wind was a breeze. It was a one-and-a-half to two-club wind.”

It was the wind that saw her drop a shot on the first hole. “I don’t know why, but it was super windy on the first hole,” said Ruiz. “After the first hole, it calmed down a bit. The birdie on seven, it was 145 metres downhill, and I hit an eight-iron. I usually hit my eight-iron 125. On 11, I hit a really good driver, and I was between clubs, and I hit the wrong one. I went over the green, and then I chipped in. The last three holes where I made par, they were quite tough, especially with the wind. On 17, downhill, downwind, 128 metres, I hit a pitching wedge, which I usually hit 110.”

The other two who made it into the field of 132 who will tee off on Wednesday were Helen Kreuzer from Germany and Nigeria’s Georgia Iziemgbe Oboh, who returned rounds of two-over-par 74.

For Ruiz, topping the qualifier is a chance to make up for her performance in last year’s Investec South African Women’s Open. “I did not make the cut last year – I was two or three off,” she said. “I know what to expect this time.”

29th March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Big guns primed for Investec SA Women’s Open

The cream of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tourn have converged in the City of Cape Town for €300 000 Investec South African Women’s Open, which tees off at Steenberg Golf Club on Wednesday.

After the top-quality golf on display in the recent Joburg Ladies Open, here is a palpable sense of nervous anticipation ahead of South Africa’s flagship event, and the mouth-watering incentives the season-finale carries.

Not only will the game’s big guns contest the biggest purse ever on the Sunshine Ladies Tour (SLT), but a winner’s category exemption means your future on the Ladies European Tour (LET) is secured for the remainder of the season, and the 2023 season.

The field this year once again exudes class and quality, led by defending champion Lee-Anne Pace, looking to make yet another notation in the history books.

Pace recorded the first hat-trick in SA Women’s Open history since 1988 with a trio of triumphs at San Lameer Country Club in 2014, 2015 and 2017 and extended her legacy last year, edging out Germany’s Leonie Harms in a cliff-hanger finish for a record fourth win at Westlake.

With 10 wins on the LET, 14 titles on the SLT and a LPGA win to her name, the 41-year-old has experience in heaps and when you add a hat-trick of Cape Town Ladies Open titles into the mix, her affinity for winning in the Mother City and her shot-shaping skills in the wind, she is definitely among the pre-tournament favourites.

Reigning Investec Order of Merit leader Linn Grant is undoubtedly the most in-form player in the starting line-up at Steenberg.

The 22-year-old Swede not only won on debut on the local circuit but made it a brace of SLT titles in three starts with her wins in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic. Last Saturday she backed up her top billing with a five-shot victory at Modderfontein to seal a maiden LET victory.

Two South Africans who are certainly due for a LET breakthrough are Investec stablemates Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman, who are both coming into the week in strong form.

Bregman, the runner-up in 2013, catapulted up the leaderboard with a final round 70 at Modderfontein Golf Club to finish joint seventh, while Garcia, third last year, claimed a top 10 in her first start of the LET season at the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, and tied for third in Johannesburg. Expect the local pair to push their games to the limit this week.

In the first three events of the European season, a number of young European rising stars raised their hands and will be keen to follow former maiden winners Alice Hewson from England (2020) and India’s Diksha Dagar (2019) into the winner’s circle.

None more so than Kristyna Napoleaova and Kim Metraux.

Respectively ranked fifth and sixth in the Race to Costa del Sol, Napoleaova from the Czech Republic tied for second in Jeddah and Swiss golfer Metraux edged Garcia, Hewson and Maria Hernandez from Spain in the final round of the Joburg Ladies Open for the runner-up spot.

Another up-and-coming golfer looking to cash in on a LET win is American Kelly Whaley.

The 23-year-old received an invitation into the Saudi event, where she fired a final round 63 to that featured eight straight birdies and tied the course record. A top 10 finish secured her a spot in the Joburg Ladies Open, and she extended her stay on the LET with yet another top 10 finish at Modderfontein.

The local challenge is further strengthened by multiple SLT champions Casandra Hall, Lejan Lewthwaite and Nobuhle Dlamini from eSwatini, as well as 2022 SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open winner Nadia van der Westhuizen.

City of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis welcomed the return of the two women’s professional circuits to the Mother City.

“It is with great pride that l can welcome the Investec South African Women’s Open to the City of Cape Town for the fifth consecutive year. The City of Cape Town’s partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour is set to continue into 2023 after Council approved a three-year agreement, which is currently in its second year. Over the last five years, this collaboration has elevated Cape Town’s status as one of the country’s leading golf tourism destinations and we delighted to welcome the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour back to our shores.”

A total field of 132 players representing 27 countries, including six amateur starters, will vie to make the cut to 60 professionals and ties at the 36-hole mark and have a chance to shoot for the lion’s share of the purse, and the biggest trophy in South African women’s golf.

Steenberg awaits those consumed with a desire to lift the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s flagship trophy, whether in swashbuckling style of Ashleigh Buhai’s final round march to victory in 2018 or the masterful manner in which Pace clinched her fourth title 12 months ago.

Entry is free to the 2022 event, but spectators are reminded that they must present proof of vaccination or a negative covid test, not older than 72 hours. All four rounds of the 72-hole tournament will also be broadcast live on SuperSport Channel 213.

16th November 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Investec invests for a further four years

Investec is thrilled to announce their renewed partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Having supported women’s golf for many years, the group will continue to sponsor the prestigious Investec South African Women’s Open for a further five years.

The Investec South African Women’s Open, taking place on Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 March next year, is the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s showpiece event and is widely regarded as a world-class national championship tournament that attracts international talent.

The event, hosted by the City of Cape Town for the fifth successive year, will take place at the picturesque Steenberg Golf Club, Cape Town.

Proud title sponsor of the Investec South African Women’s Open, the Investec Order of Merit, and the Investec Homegrown Award, Peta Dixon, Investec’s head of sponsorships, says that the brand is committed to equality, belonging, inclusion and diversity and is focused on enabling more women to thrive.

“When looking at our own sponsorship arena, it’s not just about the sportswomen of today – but the stars of tomorrow. Women golfers continuously face the same challenges, the same courses and the same high standards as their male counterparts, and the competition is equally as tough and rewarding for both players and spectators alike. For many years now, Investec has invested in the next generation of women, on their rise to the top. We proudly support local talent on a global stage and believe that our investment will go a long way towards affording more female golfers the opportunity to not only play and perform, but to earn well too.”

“We are delighted to extend our partnership with Investec,” commented Pauli van Meersbergen, Sunshine Ladies Tour General Manager.

“Investec continues to break new ground in closing the equality gap, and we are honoured to partner with a company that consistently looks to create more opportunities for women, both on the course and in the workplace.

“Thanks to the collaboration between Investec, the City of Cape Town, the Ladies European Tour and the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Investec South African Women’s Open has flourished and become a sought after, world-class event on the international calendar. Our thanks also to the WPGA for their support. We are proud to see this incredibly exciting week now cemented in our annual schedule for the next four years.”

In addition to Investec’s significant contribution to the increased prize pool for the Investec South African Women’s Open, Investec has also doubled the bonus prize on offer for the 2022 Investec Order of Merit to R200,000. “We eagerly await 2022, with so much more to come in our ongoing quest to remain Out of the Ordinary,” concludes Dixon.

About Investec

Investec partners with private, institutional and corporate clients, offering international banking, investment and wealth management services in two principal markets, South Africa and the UK, as well as certain other countries. The group was established in 1974 and currently has approximately 8,200+ employees. Investec has a dual listed company structure with listings on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.

Investec-sponsored pro golfers

Investec currently sponsors four pro-players Lejan Lewthwaite, Nicole Garcia and Stacy Bregman from South Africa and Stephanie Meadow from Ireland.

Investec South African Women’s Open

The tournament became a co-sanctioned event between the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Ladies European Tour in 2018. The champion will earn a Tournament Winner’s Category Exemption on the Ladies European Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour for the remainder of the 2022 and the 2023 season.

Investec Order of Merit

The Investec Order of Merit is based on a points system, and the top three placed professionals on the final Investec Order of Merit will gain automatic entry into the 2023 Investec South African Women’s Open. In order to qualify for the Investec Order of Merit bonus prize, players must have competed in at least four events in the 2022 Sunshine Ladies Tour season. The winner of the Investec Order of Merit will receive a bonus prize of R200,000.

The Investec Homegrown Award

Investec continues to support local talent with the Homegrown Award, which was first introduced in the 2021 season. It rewards a South African winner of the Investec South African Women’s Open with an additional prize of R100,000.

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#InvestecSAWomensOpen | @InvestecSAWomensOpen
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2nd June 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace will need her experience in US Women’s Open

2 June 2021 – Major championship golf, by and large, demands experience as a contributor to success, and Lee-Anne Pace has played in 33 majors ahead of the US Women’s Open which tees off on Thursday at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

The reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion played her way into her seventh US Women’s Open with her victory on May 16 at Westlake Golf Club, and will be drawing on her experience in those six previous visits to the tournament to try and improve on her best finish of 43rd in 2017.

Her victory at Westlake came under trying circumstances, mostly as a result of the weather, but those would have prepared her to hang in there when the going will get tough as it inevitably does in any major championship. In the last three US Women’s Opens, of the 59 players who have played eight rounds or more, only five have cumulative scores of under par.

Lee-Anne Pace (credit Petri Oeschger/Sunshine Ladies Tour)

Pace will know that hanging in is making sure the simple things are done right, and that hitting fairways and greens will give her the best chance of making whatever few birdies are on offer.

The past 15 champions have shown well-rounded games en route to victory, but they have shone most brightly around the green. While they ranked 20th in the field on average in driving distance (249.6 yards) and about 25th in fairways hit (73.4 percent), they truly separated themselves by hitting 69.1 percent of the greens in regulation. They were on average third in the field with 3.96 birdies/eagles per round and had 29.3 putts per round.

The South African has a good record over a long Ladies European Tour career in terms of greens in regulation, hitting 62.8 percent of them over 183 tournaments, but she will be aware that she will have to make very sure of her accuracy throughout the week at the Olympic Club. And her putting over those many tournaments in Europe averages out at 30.04 per round.

She has the tools to go with her experience, but she is not the most experienced of the three South Africans in the field.

Ashleigh Buhai has 36 majors behind her, and will be playing in her eighth US Women’s Open with a best finish of 27th in 2017. With her experience in the United States – she plays on the LPGA Tour – she may well have a sense of comfort during a difficult week.

The third South African in the field is Nicole Garcia, who first qualified for the US Women’s Open at Pinehurst in 2014 through the European qualifier in England. Like Pace, she got in to this year’s tournament at the Olympic Club with her performance in the Investec SA Women’s Open at Westlake.

The tournament gets full coverage on SuperSport channel 201 from 11pm on Thursday.

Written by Mike Green for

16th May 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Historic 4th Investec South African Women’s Open title for Perfect Pace

16 May 2021 – Lee-Anne Pace was the home heroine once again as she clinched a record fourth Investec South African Women’s Open title, carding a final round of 72 for a one-shot win over Germany’s Leonie Harm.

In the Ladies European Tour (LET) curtain-raiser Pace’s victory, where she finished the tournament on two-over-par, at Westlake Golf Club also ensures she leads the 2021 Race to Costa del Sol.

“I’m so happy to win again. My last win on the LET was in 2014 and to get number 10 is just incredible,” said Pace, who was also the first Sunshine Ladies Tour golfer to win the flagship event three successive years in 2014, 2015 and 2017 (no event in 2016).

“It’s always nice to play to end the Sunshine Ladies Tour season and start the LET season here at home, and this year is it extra special. Thank you to all the golfers who made the effort to travel to South Africa to compete in this year’s Investec South African Women’s Open. Also, a big thank you to Investec and the City of Cape Town for your incredible support of women’s golf.”

After play was suspended with the leaders only midway through the third round, Pace – playing in the final group with Harm and compatriot Nicole Garcia – had plenty of golf left as they completed the third round before heading back out onto the course again.

But there was a surprise leader when the third round wrap up.

The LET’s youngest member, 17-year-old Pia Babnik, had carded 69 in the sunny conditions to see her level par for the tournament. The Slovenian teenager started the final round two shots ahead of Pace, who carded 73 and three clear of Harm and Garcia.

Babnik had a mixed final round and a pair of double bogeys at 16 and 18 saw her slip out of contention.

Lee-Anne Pace not only lifted her record 4th Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club on Sunday, but also banked the Investec Order of Merit title and became the first South African winner of the brand-new Investec Homegrown Award.; credit Roger Sedres.

Pace, who has dominated the Sunshine Ladies Tour since its inception in 2014 with 13 victories, knocked on the door all summer and she finally got the job done over the last 18 holes.

The 40-year-old offset a lone bogey with two birdies on the front nine and made another birdie on the par-4 12th. “I don’t know what happened on the last two holes; I think I realised I had it in the bag and just lost my focus,” said the South African, who held on to seal her 10th LET title despite finishing with successive bogeys.

“I’m actually quite glad I played out of the trees on the 18th and that I didn’t go for it, I thought I had to go for it, because the last scoreboard I had seen still had me at +1 and in second-place. My short game has been so good, so I thought if I play out on the green I would have a chance and the worst case was a play-off.

“I hit the ball on the right side of the hole for the whole day. There were a couple of putts that could easily have dropped that didn’t. I was very happy with my game, I hit a lot of the greens and I did it!”

There was a lot on the line for Pace, who not only walked away with the lion share of the €200 000 purse and the Investec Order of Merit title, worth R100 000. She also pocketed another R100 000 as the first South African winner of the brand-new Investec Homegrown Trophy.

US Women’s Open qualifiers at the Investec South African Women’s Open – Karolin Lampert & Leonie Harm from Germany and SA pair Lee-Anne Pace & Nicole Garcia; credit Roger Sedres

On top of this, Pace’s triumph at Westlake shot her to the top of the 2021 LET Race to Costa del Sol and earned her the first of four spots into the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open.

“The incentives to win this week was incredible. We really had so much to play for and I can’t be more excited. I am going for my US visa next week – Olympic Club, here I come,” said a jubilant Pace.

The 76th US Women’s Open takes place in June and the other three players who earned a ride into the second Major of the year was Harm, who recorded her best-ever finish on the LET at this tournament, as well as Germany’s Karolin Lampert and South Africa’s Nicole Garcia, who tied for third.

Garcia said: “That last putt for par on 18 was the most nerve-wracking putt I ever had to sink; I really wanted that US Women’s Open spot and the relief to see it drop was indescribable. I am absolutely over the moon that I nailed it. And I am so grateful to everyone that made this year’s Investec South African Women ‘s Open happen so we could get those spots.”

It was also a good news day for reigning South African Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab, who lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur.

2021 Investec South African Women’s Open leading amateur Caitlyn Macnab; credit Roger Sedres

The GolfRSA No. 1 won the Jabra Ladies Classic three weeks ago and became the first amateur to win on the local professional circuit since Ashleigh Buhai’s SA Women’s Open win in 2007. The 19-year-old Glendower amateur improved every day, carding rounds of 77, 75, 74 and 73 to tie for 16th on 299.


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