Share on: [addtoany buttons='facebook,twitter,email']

6th December 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Sunshine Ladies Tour celebrates decade with exciting 2023 schedule

6 December 2022 – Reigning AIG Women’s Open champion Ashleigh Buhai will headline the 30th Investec South African Women’s Open when the Sunshine Ladies Tour celebrates its 10th anniversary with an action-packed season in 2023.

Buhai, who became the country’s second women’s Major champion with her Muirfield triumph in August, finished her international season in style with a gritty one-stroke victory in the Women’s Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club.

It is entirely fitting that the pride of South African women’s golf will return to the fairways she forged her career upon as the Sunshine Ladies Tour celebrates a decade as Africa’s principal platform for professional women golfers and development conduit for amateurs coming through the ranks.

Buhai, the only amateur winner of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s flagship event, will be targeting a fourth victory in March.

The world number 28 won her first SA Women’s Open title at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington in 2004 and was still an amateur when she repeated the feat at Durban Country Club three years later.

In 2018, the year Investec became the title sponsor of the national open, Buhai made it a hat-trick of wins with her first professional victory in the event and her third on Ladies European Tour.

The new season will tee off from 1 – 3 February at Sun City, South Africa’s unrivalled number one holiday resort. The homegrown talent will go head-to-head with the first international campaigners to hit South African shores in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International, and the R1.3-million season-opener will be contested at the world-renowned Gary Player Country Club.

Next, the circuit heads to South Africa’s premier lifestyle resort, Fancourt, nestled in the heart of South Africa’s Garden Route for the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am.

The 10th edition from 10 – 12 February will be another milestone worthy of celebration, and to mark the occasion, the purse has been bumped from R600 000 in 2021 to a staggering R2.5-million. In addition, the leading 10 teams on the final day will fight it out for the lion’s share of the R100 000 prize pot in the Betterball Pro-Am Competition. 

In previous editions of the popular Sunshine Ladies Tour stop, which is played concurrent with the Sunshine and Challenge Tour’s co-sanctioned Dimension Data Pro-Am, the first two rounds were played at the nearby George Golf Club and the final round at Fancourt. This year all three rounds will be contested at the Outeniqua and Montagu courses.

Atlantic Beach Links in the Cape will host its first Sunshine Ladies Tour event with the R400 000 Cape Town Ladies Open from 15 – 17 February. The City of Cape Town, who has hosted the Investec South African Women’s Open since 2018, has supported the event since 2015.

The former home of the Investec South African Open, Glendower Golf Club in Edenvale, will welcome back the fifth edition of the Jabra Ladies Classic from 22 – 24 March. The winner of the Jabra Ladies Classic receives an invitation to compete in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour.

The Joburg Ladies Open, returns to Modderfontein Golf Club from 1 – 4 March.

The first Ladies European Tour stop in South Africa 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.

The Investec South African Women’s Open will draw the curtain on the 2023 season from 8 – 11 March.

This 72-hole showdown will be played at the picturesque Steenberg Golf Club for a second successive year, and the field will be competing for an increased purse of €320 000 (over R5.9-million), thanks to the investment by Investec and the City of Cape Town.

“We are extremely excited for this 10th season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour,” said Thomas Abt, Sunshine Tour Commissioner. “The Sunshine Ladies Tour has grown into an attractive product and together with our partners, we will continue to grow this circuit for the benefit of our members.

“We are delighted to have committed sponsors who have gone the distance with us, and partners such as the Ladies European Tour with whom our flagship events, the Joburg Ladies Open and the Investec South African Women’s Open, are co-sanctioned.

“The success of the Sunshine Ladies Tour has been unfathomable. Participation has increased tenfold, especially with international participation and the prize money has more than quadrupled from what was on offer in our first season. And the knock-on effect for our rising amateurs has been fantastic, with many of our young golfers now flourishing on the international stage and US collegiate circuit.”

The pathway the Sunshine Ladies Tour provides for young golfers to the bigger global platforms is best illustrated by 2022 Investec Order of Merit champion of 2022, Linn Grant.

The 23-year-old began her 2022 season in South Africa. She racked up victories in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, the Jabra Ladies Classic and the Joburg Ladies Open and won the season-long points race. Building on this incredible start on the Ladies European Tour, Linn became the first female golfer to win on the DP World Tour in June, won the LET Rookie of the Year title and recently capped her season as the winner of the LET Race to Costa del Sol.

Throughout the 2023 season, the Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners will vie for glory in the points-based ranking system.

The top three professionals on the final Investec Order of Merit will gain automatic entry into the 2024 Investec South African Women’s Open, and the winner receives a bonus prize worth R 200 000. Should the winner of the 2023 Investec South African Women’s Open be a South African, she will be rewarded with the Investec Homegrown Award, worth R 100 000.

 Peta Dixon, Investec’s head of sponsorships, said: “We are proud to continue to give our talented women in sport a platform to showcase their talent through our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour, and to ensure that these golfers are recognised for their dedication and given opportunities to excel.

“It has been very exciting to witness the growth of the local women’s professional circuit over the last decade and to empower women through sport. We are delighted to be part of the journey to grow Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit and through our investment in four of South Africa’s rising talents in Nicole Garcia, Stacy Bregman, Lejan Lewthwaite and Zethu Myeki.”

Alexandra Armas, Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour, said the LET is delighted to once again feature two premier events in South Africa on their 2023 schedule.

“We welcome the opportunity for international competition for our members, and we are very proud of our strong, longstanding relationship with the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Two co-sanctioned events on our global schedule strengthens our goal of providing competitive opportunities for our members on all the continents.

 “Our sincere thanks to the Cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town and Investec for their incredible commitment. These events not only benefit our members, but undoubtedly also positively impact on participation and interest in the women’s game in Africa.”

Women’s PGA of South Africa chairperson, Margie Whitehouse, said: “We would also like to express our gratitude to the Sunshine Tour, and all our partners and sponsors who have ensured that the Sunshine Ladies Tour has gone from strength to strength in the last 10 years. Thanks to their tremendous support, our rising talent will once again have the opportunity to compete for fantastic incentives and competitive purses, and we look forward to watching the future stars showcase their talent on the 2023 Sunshine Ladies Tour.”


R1.3-million SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International

1 – 3 February

Gary Player Country Club

R2.5-million Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am

10 – 12 February

Fancourt (Outeniqua and Montagu Courses)

Better Ball Pro-Am (R100 000 prize money)

R 400 000 Cape Town Ladies Open

15 – 17 February

Atlantic Beach Links

R1-milion Jabra Ladies Classic

22 – 24 February

Glendower Golf Club

€ 300 000 Joburg Ladies Open *

1 – 4 March

Modderfontein Golf Club

€ 320 000 Investec South African Women’s Open *

8 – 11 March

Steenberg Golf Club

*Co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour

16th May 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

A season to remember

The 2022 Sunshine Ladies Tour was book-ended by an announcement of a continued partnership with increased value from Investec before the season started, and yet another thrilling Investec South African Women’s Open Championship to close the season out.

The ninth season of the tour featured six Investec Order of Merit counting events, teeing off in the City of Cape Town with the SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open from 2-4 February and culminating with the SA Women’s Open, back in the Mother City from 30 March-2 April.

In a massive move for women’s golf development, two events – the Joburg Ladies Open and the SA Women’s Open – were co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour, offering the champions playing privileges on the international circuit, while the Jabra Ladies Classic offered the winner a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the 2022 Ladies European Tour.

In addition to the growth on the schedule, there was a massive growth in prize money offered too, as the players competed for nearly R13-million.

The purse for opening event of the season, the SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open, was boosted to R400,000, and the Investec SA Women’s Open had a €300,000 purse, or just over R5-million.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s main vision is to give young players a platform to level up.

Appropriately, it was a rookie who first tournament as Nadia van der Westhuizen closed with a third-round one-under-par 73 to take her maiden professional victory, holding off reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace, five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Stacy Bregman, Tandi McCallum, who led the first two rounds, and last year’s runner-up Cara Gorlei – consigning them to joint second.

The Dimension Data Ladies Challenge saw the emergence of someone who was to become the big story of the season.

Sweden’s Linn Grant began her pro season with an innocuous-looking level-par 72, but she followed that with a pair of five-under 67s to race to 10-under-par for the tournament and a seven-stroke victory over Nicole Garcia. Even though it was her first tournament of the season, she had enough in reserve to hold off a superb eight-under-par 64 in the closing round by Garcia.

There was another runaway win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge as Paula Reto, on a break from the LPGA Tour to visit family at home, teed it up at Sun City. She was playing her first tournament at Gary Player Country Club, and it didn’t show as she opened with a 67 in the first round and a 65 in the second. But in the end, a closing 71 was more than enough to give her a 10-stroke win over Casandra Alexander. Grant and Pace shared third on two-under-par, while Bregman and Romy Meekers of the Netherlands placed joint fifth place on one-under.

That was followed by another episode in the Linn Grant saga, as she edged Reto by two shots over 54 holes in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club. It was a superb closing seven-under-par 65 which got the job done for her.

For the Swede, her South African campaign was a vindication of hard work and of the decision to play here before launching herself on the Ladies European Tour. For the Sunshine Ladies Tour, it continued its legacy of launching new champions to the world stage.

And there was still more to come from Grant.

A closing five-under-par 67 in the Joburg Ladies Open gave her a five-shot win over Switzerland’s Kim Metraux and a dream start in her first event on the Ladies European Tour. Grant, who earned cards for the 2022 LET and LPGA Tour at Q-School last year, had already shown her calibre with two runner-up finishes at the end of 2021, making the most of invitations to two events in her home country.

While Grant scripted a wonderful success story on the tour, Lee-Anne Pace had a tale of her own to craft, which she did with an incredible display of gutsiness in the face of adversity as she dramatically won her record-breaking fifth Investec South African Women’s Open Championship title at Steenberg Golf Club.

She came back from the dead and triumphed in a gruelling six-hole play-off, eventually dispatching the challenge of the Argentine Magdalena Simmermacher after the duo was tied on level-par after 72 holes of regulation play. That was after overnight leader Becky Brewerton of Wales heartbreakingly slipped out of contention after a final round six-over 78 to miss out on a play-off spot by one.

In addition to her fifth South African Women’s Open title, it was also Pace’s 11th Ladies European Tour victory and her 15th Sunshine Ladies Tour title – and she also earned herself a place at the US Women’s Open later in the year.

Incredibly, Grant managed yet another top-10, finishing in a share of seventh, six strokes behind Pace and Simmermacher in the play-off.

The Swede had already sewed up the Investec Order of Merit, but Pace got a little closer to her in second. Alexander took third, as Reto’s two tournaments were not enough to qualify for a position on the list. Garcia and Nobuhle Dlamini of eSwatini rounded out the top five.

Of the nearly R13-million up for grabs, Grant took home well over R1-million, which proved the point that the Sunshine Ladies Tour had a 2022 which has set it up for continued growth and success.

2nd April 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Gutsy Pace prevails to lift 5th SA Women’s Open title

If there is a virtue in holding on for dear life, then Lee-Anne Pace displayed it in spades as she came back from the dead and triumphed in a gruelling six-hole play-off to win her record fifth Investec South African Women’s Open Championship title at Steenberg Golf Club on Saturday.

“I can’t believe it, I honestly can’t believe it, I’m in shock,” said Pace after she eventually dispatched the challenge of the Argentine Magdalena Simmermacher after the duo was tied on level-par after 72 holes of regulation play.

That was after overnight leader Becky Brewerton of Wales heartbreakingly slipped out of contention after a final round six-over 78 to miss out on a play-off spot by one.

In addition to her fifth South African Women’s Open title, it was also Pace’s 11th Ladies European Tour victory and her 15th Sunshine Ladies Tour title – and she also earned herself a place at the US Women’s Open later in the year.

“I was a little down at the beginning of the week, because I just missed out on the majors – by 20 points on last year’s ranking, or something like that,” she said. “So, it’s great to earn a place in the majors!”

She started the day seven shots behind Brewerton, but the Mossel Bay native played the conditions superbly throughout the day.

Pace kept things cool for the first part of her round, but a terrific burst after the turn saw her put herself back in contention. She had pars all through the front nine, before birdies on 10, 12 and 16 put her back among the conversation, albeit with a dropped shot on the 11th.

“I needed that birdie on 10,” Pace said. “I was getting a bit frustrated with my putts not going in, I missed the shot off the green and got a bit lucky, but I got it on the green and holed the putt, so that gave me some confidence coming in.

“The 11th was always going to be a tough hole, whether you go in with a wedge or go for the green. I decided to go for it and had a terrible lie, I had to hit it, but I backed off it a bit unfortunately.

“I’d been struggling on the greens all week. I’d been hitting so many greens all week, and everything came together except the putter, and nothing wanted to drop, but when it really counted it did on the last hole.”

Meanwhile, Simmermacher had led after the first round in Cape Town, but found herself alongside Pace on two-over heading into the final day, with a third round 77 seeing her drop down the standings in the breezy conditions. Birdies on five and nine put the Argentinian in contention, before two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine saw her complete the day in 70 shots and set up the nail-biting finale.

And with the sun starting to set over Cape Town, both players pulled out a number of spectacular shots to keep the contest alive.

The par-five 18th had been causing issues for players all week, with the tight green and water on the right-hand side meaning there was all sorts of trouble to be avoided. Both players kept things fairly routine for their opening three journeys down the last, with pars apiece every time.

Then, with the tee box moved forward 75 metres, things started to get interesting as both players started chasing the green in two. A miraculous bunker escape from Simmermacher then forced a fifth play-off hole, before two fantastic approaches and putts saw the duo head back to the tee for a sixth time.

And that’s when the pressure eventually told, as Simmermacher hit her second into the water, paving the way for Pace to two-putt her way to victory, and she made no mistake

Further down the rankings, Casandra Alexander of South Africa and England’s Felicity Johnson finished in a tie for fourth on three-over, as Alexander went round in level-par for the day, while Johnson shot 74 for her final 18 holes.

France’s Agathe Sauzon also shot level-par to take sixth on her own at five-over, while four players shared seventh on six-over.

Linn Grant from Sweden, who claimed her maiden Ladies European Tour title in the co-sanctioned Joburg Ladies Open, backed up last week’s victory with another strong performance, finishing in a tie for seventh with fellow Scandinavians Madelene Stavnar and Tiia Koivisto and France’s Emma Grechi.

Seventh place for Grant was also enough for her to seal the Investec Order of Merit title, with three victories in South Africa to start the year, with the win in Johannesburg adding to successes at the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic in February.

“I just had the best couple of weeks here, I’m glad that I decided to come for eight weeks and start my season over here,” Grant said. “I’ve met some great people, including Lee-Anne, I’ve had the best time and played some great golf as well.”

Reigning South African Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Kiera Floyd held her in the gusting wind to keep pace with the professionals and a joint 26th place on 10-over saw the 17-year-old GolfRSA National Squad member lift the prestigious Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the 132-strong field.

The fifth Investec South African Women’s Open trophy came with a R 728 550 pay-day in the City of Cape Town and a bank of points that rocketed Pace to the top of the 2022 Race to Costa del Sol rankings. She sits on 681.67 points, with Grant in second-place on 586.25.

For Pace, all of this means it’s time to believe it.

She will board a plane to Thailand on Monday night brimming with confidence ahead of her next two events and basking in the knowledge that she is comfortably the most successful player in the history of the South African Women’s Open Championship.

1st April 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Brewerton on cruise control in Cape Town

Becky Brewerton will go in search of her first Ladies European Tour title in 13 years when she tees it up in the final round of Investec South African Women’s Open with a commanding five-shot lead on Saturday.

The championship layout at Steenberg Golf Club had seemed scorable in the light wind and rain during the opening round, but the high winds and firmer greens made it a different proposition over the last two days.

Brewerton fired a flawless six-under-par 66 in the second round to open up a four-shot lead and while most of the players in the 66-strong field treaded water or back-peddled in the gusting winds on moving day, the two-time Solheim Cup star was in a league of her own once again.

With conditions getting even tougher in the afternoon for the leading players, Brewerton executed her trusty punch shot in the four-club wind to near-perfection, manufacturing 16 pars for a 74 to finish at five-under.

On a day when Spain’s Paz Marfa Sans was the only player to break par with a two-under 70, Brewerton was – unsurprisingly – pleased as punch with her pace-setting performance.

“I’m probably as pleased with today’s effort as I was with yesterday’s, which is quite weird to say considering there was an eight-shot difference in my score,” the 36-year-old said. 

“It was brutal out there and I think it was just a day where everyone knew you were going to make mistakes and be in difficult positions, but you just had to try and minimise it.

“I utilised the punch shot very well again, but it was exhausting. The best thing I did was to not try and brace against it but just go with it and hit the punch shot and keep the swing as smooth as possible.

“The most difficult thing was putting, especially if you’re going across the breeze, because if you had the break going one way and the wind going the other. It was quite hard to work out which one was going to have the most effect. Some putts were a bit hit-and-hope and they paid off the majority of the time.” 

Norway’s Maiken Bing Paulsen emerged as the closest challenger, a 73 leaving her alone in second at level-par.

England’s Felicity Johnson (75) and Emma Grechi from France (72) tied for third on one-over, with South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace a further shot adrift in joint fourth. The four-time winner also returned a 74 to share fourth with Frenchwoman Lucie Malchirand (73), last year’s runner-up Leonie Harm from Germany (75) and first round leader Magdalena Simmermacher from Argentina (77).

Pace, the reigning Investec South African Women’s Champion, was pleased with her day’s efforts and is looking forward to another testing day tomorrow.  

“It was about a four-club wind and you didn’t know if you’re going into it sometimes or if it’s off the side, so it was a very tough day,” she said. 

“Some tees were moved up, but it was still playing long because of the wind. It was tough, but I quite enjoyed it because you have to hit some creative shots and keep it low, and that’s my sort of golf. I think I got a bit unlucky out there today, but otherwise I’m happy with my score.

“I believe I’m still in it. I’m managing myself a lot better; I’m not getting as frustrated anymore, and if a few more putts drop tomorrow it could be interesting.” 

Marfa Sans, courtesy of her low round of the day, vaulted to joint ninth and will start the final day alongside South Africa’s Casandra Alexander, who signed for 75, Tiia Koivisto from Finland (74), Norwegian Madelene Stavnar, reigning Investec Order of Merit leader Linn Grant from Sweden and amateur Kiera Floyd at four-under.

Floyd, the reigning SA Women’s Stroke Play champion, negated four bogeys in her level par round to pull ahead in the battle for the leading amateur glory. Fellow GolfRSA National Squad members Megan Streicher (76) and Gabbi Venter (77) are three and six shots adrift, respectively

30th March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Pace in touch as Simmermacher leads the way

Two late birdies in her opening round lifted four-time defending champion Lee-Anne Pace within three shots of Magdalena Simmermacher, who stole a march on the field on a wet and windy opening day in the Investec South African Women’s Open.

The 26-year-old Argentinian made the most of the gentler morning conditions and fired in an opening salvo of four-under-par 68 pull clear of the field.

After a birdie start on the par-4 10th, Simmermacher plodded to the turn in pars, but turned on the fireworks over the last five holes, firing four birdies to transform her round into a field-leading effort at Steenberg Golf Club.

The 2020 Olympian finished one slender shot clear of Sweden’s Josefine Nyqvist and Alice Hewson from England, who also took advantage of an early start.

But unlike her challengers, the Argentine blossomed on her back nine as the wind gathered speed.

“I’m really happy with today’s round; I gave myself a lot of opportunities on the back nine, my front nine, but I only managed to make one birdie,” Simmermacher said.

“On the front nine I left myself chances close to the pin, and that’s why I ended up making four birdies on the last five holes. I played better when the wind got stronger. I’m not sure of the reason – maybe because you have to hit a certain shot, so you just focus on that.

“We played the pro-am with tough conditions so that was good preparation. I struggled on the greens last week, but I was still playing good and today I managed the pace better.”

Having given herself some time away during the off-season as she returned to South America, she has wasted no time in getting back to her best in 2022, giving herself a solid start in the Race to Costa del Sol chase. 

Augusta University graduate Nyqvist dropped only one shot on her opening hole but shot up the leaderboard with a quartet of birdies on her outward loop. Ten straight pars from the ninth kept her within striking distance of the pacesetter.

“Today was a really nice day,” she said. “I struggled a bit in the last two tournaments, but I’ve been working at it and trusting what I do, and I guess today it paid off, so I’m very happy. I did some technical work in the off-season, but mostly I’ve been working on keeping my mindset clear and trusting what I’m doing. I’m just trying to stay positive and live in the present. 

“The first nine wasn’t too bad because I teed off early, so I got lucky there. The wind picked up on the back nine, and it was hard out there. You just have to stay focused on every single shot. I just tried to hit the centre of the green and play par golf. I left some birdies out there, so I’m excited to go out and get them tomorrow.” 

Hewson, who broke through for her maiden LET victory in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open, was an equally happy camper after putting herself in a promising position.

She made a brilliant start with an eagle on the par-five 12th and sandwiched a birdie between bogeys on 13 and 15 to out in 34. Birdies on her 15th and 17th holes saw her pull level with Simmermacher, but not even the bogey finish could darken her bright smile.

“I’m very happy with how I played this morning. It was really windy out there, especially on our back nine, but I managed to control my ball height well really well,” the Englishwoman said. 

“It was important to hit fairways and greens just to give yourself a few chances out there, and I made the most of some of the chances I gave myself, so hopefully more of the same tomorrow. I have some incredible memories of my first LET start and win in 2020 and it’s great that I’ve finally been able to come back. I’m just enjoying every minute of it.”

Just two off the pace, lurking at two-under are Sweden’s Johanna Gustavsson, Anne-Charlotte Mora from France and Spanish duo Elia Folch and Carmen Alonso and Carmen Alonso, with a further seven players locked in on one-under, including 2021 champion Pace.

Level through the turn, the 41-year-old negated a bogey on the par-3 second with a brace of birdies on her 16th and 17th holes to put herself back within touching distance of Simmermacher.

She shares eighth with another former champion, Marianne Skarpnord from Norway, as well as

Lora Assad and 2021 Joburg Ladies Open champion Casandra Alexander and Lora Assad sit at level-par with last week’s champion Linn Grant from Sweden, among others, and the next best South African is reigning SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Kiera Floyd, who grabbed a share of 22nd with former Investec Order of Merit winner Nobuhle Dlamini on one-over.

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.

26th March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dream Joburg Ladies Open win seals Grant’s SA hat-trick

It was a dream start to life on the Ladies European Tour (LET) for Linn Grant, as the Swedish star claimed a five-shot victory at the Joburg Ladies Open in her first start as a full member.

The victory for Grant was her third in the last month on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, having claimed success in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and Jabra Ladies Classic in February.

And she completed her South African hat-trick in style on Saturday, with the rest of the field having no answer for her incredible final round at Modderfontein Golf Club.

The 22-year-old from Helsingborg shared the lead with Spain’s Maria Hernandez on five-under at the 36-hole mark, but she was a cut above the rest over the last 18 holes, firing a six-under-par 67 to triumph on 11-under 208. 

“It’s always nice to get a win; it feels amazing,” said the smiling Grant. “It was great to come to the Sunshine Ladies Tour before the LET season began to make the most of the good weather and get some practice in.

“I still feel like there’s some scary holes here, especially coming in on the back nine. You have to keep your shots together and there’s a couple of holes you have to look out for on the front nine as well, so I tried not to do anything stupid really.” 

The 2017 Ping Junior Solheim Cup star showed no signs of nerves as she registered birdies on the first and second holes to create an early gap ahead of the chasing pack, before picking up another shot on the fifth to carve open a sizeable gap. 

She immediately negated a bogey on the sixth with birdies on seven and eight, turning at nine-under with her nearest challenge, Kim Metraux, four shots back.

A fifth birdie from off the green on 13 took Grant to double digits, and with the gallery watching as she walked down the last, she picked up one more shot on the 18th, the latest in a series of perfectly executed approaches onto the final green setting up a grandstand finish.

Grant, who earned cards for the 2022 LET and LPGA Tour at Q-School last year, had already shown her calibre with two runner-up finishes in 2021, making the most of invitations to the Didriksons Skaftö Open and the Creekhouse Ladies Open.

“I feel like with the two events in Sweden last year I got used to the LET a bit, so coming here this week wasn’t that huge a gap to cross, but still it was my first event,” said Grant.

Despite a four-shot cushion on the last hole, she admitted to feeling a little nervy over the final approach shot and putt. But her second turned out to be one of the best of the day. “I was going to aim pin high and to the right, but I changed at the last minute to go for it. The putt wasn’t that short, so it was nervy, but I was so happy I got it done with a birdie.”

It was a career-best finish for left-hander Metraux in South Africa.

The Swiss star maintained her good form from Friday into the weekend and reeled in four birdies on her way to a final day score of 71 (-2), capitalising on the par five first, eighth and tenth holes to pick up shots on her way to a sole second finish.

“It was quite good. I made a few mistakes here and there, and I had a couple of lip-outs but I was pleased with how I played again,” said the 26-year-old Swiss golfer of her first top 10 finish since last September.

Nicole Garcia was the highest finishing South African, coming home in two-under 71 to tie for third alongside 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open Alice Hewson from England (72) and Hernandez (73). 

Garcia began the day with back-to-back birdies to start her day, but bogeys on three and seven dropped her back to level par. She responded brilliantly with an eagle on the eighth and parred her way to successive top 10 finishes in as many LET tournaments this season. 

“My strike was better today, but I couldn’t get any momentum going with the putter on the back nine,” Garcia said. “I am happy to see my game trend in the right direction, though and hopefully that trend continues to the Investec South African Women’s Open at Steenberg next week.”

Proudly South African, the Johannesburg-native welcomed the move from the City of Johannesburg to take the tournament to co-sanctioned status.

“The Joburg Ladies Open has always been really popular, and we local golfers are so incredibly grateful to Bongi Mokaba and the City of Johannesburg for this move. To have two chances to gain winner’s status on the LET is a huge incentive for us,” she said. “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.”

Investec stable-mate Stacy Lee Bregman and Alexandra Swayne from US Virgin Islands tied for seventh on two-under, while GolfRSA’s No 1-ranked amateur Isabella van Rooyen finished third highest a further two shot adrift in the tie for 11th. 

Grant’s earlier victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour moved her to the summit of the Investec Order of Merit, and she is virtually untouchable on 3 032 points, with Garcia her nearest challenger for the title on 1 224. The Swede also banked 500 points with the win to take pole position in the 2022 Race to Costa Del Sol alongside Aramco Saudi Ladies International winner Georgia Hall and Magical Kenya Ladies Open victor Esther Henseleit.

24th March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Happy Hernandez leads the Joburg Ladies Open

Maria Hernandez gave herself the perfect birthday present – a two-shot lead in the opening round of the €250 000 Joburg Ladies Open – on Thursday.

The Spaniard made the most of an early start and the tranquil conditions at Modderfontein Golf Club to fire a four-under-par 69 that featured five birdies to set the early clubhouse lead that went unchallenged in the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event.

The 36-year-old got off to the ideal start with birdies on the third and sixth holes.

Her only dropped shot of the day came at the ninth, but she bounced back with a brace of the birdies on the 14th and 15th holes and knocked in a birdie putt at the closing hole to take the lead.

With the wind swirling in the afternoon and her target going unchallenged, Hernandez was delighted with her work on foreign soil.

“I played really solid today; I managed to stay out of trouble, and when I needed to I made up-and-downs, so it was a solid round,” she said.  

“The course is in great shape and the greens are really good. When the wind picked it up it made it a bit more challenging, but the greens were in good shape, so that was a plus. The back nine is trickier. On the front nine you have the three par-fives, so it’s easier to have a chance for birdies, but I actually played better on the back nine, so I’ll take it.

“It’s my third time out here and I love South Africa. I like the people; I love the environment and I always enjoy it when I come here.”

Alexandra Swayne from the US Virgin Islands, Germany’s Luisa Dittrich, Smilla Soenderby from Denmark and Italy’s Virginia Carte tied for second on two-under.

Swayne made her Ladies European Tour debut in January and the 21-year-old made an impressive start event on South African soil.

“I started on the back nine and I was even par, and I knew the front nine was going to be difficult, but I finished with an eagle and birdie, so it doesn’t feel like I shot two-under because I finished like that, but it was okay,” Swayne said.

“This is my third LET event so it’s been interesting. There’s a lot of travel for me from the Virgin Islands, but I’ve enjoyed it. I have no expectations – I go out there and have fun and hope a few putts drop. Golf’s a crazy game; you just have to go out and play your game.” 

South Africans Nicole Garcia and Ivanna Samu finished a further stroke back in a tie for eighth.

Samu was still in amateur when the event was played at Modderfontein in 2018, and she finished joint second behind the champion Ashleigh Buhai. Back to full strength after a two-year battle with cancer, she got off to an eagle-birdie start and turned six-under, but three bogeys and a double-bogey on 14 put paid to all her earlier efforts.

“I struggled in the wind coming home, but I’m happy nevertheless just to be out there and competing again,” said the smiling 23-year-old. “I played a lot of golf here as an amateur and I know how tough the back nine can be in the wind. But I’m still happy with the start and hopefully I can build on it tomorrow.

In-form Garcia, hunting a first LET win and riding the confidence of a top 10 finish in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International last weekend, also made a strong start with a trio of birdies in her first four holes. But she gave back two shots on 15 and 17 and two more bogeys on the back nine saw her slip into a tie for eighth.

“It was a little bit messy,” Garcia said. “My ball striking wasn’t on today, which made it a bit difficult, especially off the tee and I had a few bogeys. I’m happy with the end result, though. Considering I wasn’t hitting it 100%, there were a lot of positives to build on for tomorrow. 

“The wind picked up and there’s was a storm coming in. This course isn’t so easy when you have a wind gusting to compete with, but I think I will have the better side of the draw tomorrow morning with a storm forecast in the afternoon.”

Sweden’s Linn Grant – a two-time winner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season and the current Investec Order of Merit Leader – and 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open champion Alice Hewston from England are also in the bus at one-under alongside Manon De Roey from Belgium, Finland’s Noora Komulainen and Frenchwoman Emma Grechi.

23rd March 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Joburg Ladies Open breaking new ground in 2022

The leading lights of South African women’s professional golf have been presented with a massive opportunity as the Ladies European Tour rolls into town for the Joburg Ladies Open, teeing off on Thursday.

After six years as part of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, the Joburg Ladies Open has graduated to a jointly sanctioned event this year, boasting an increased purse of €250 000 and offering a Ladies European Tour (LET) exemption for the champion.

These incentives have fired up the local campaigners, but they have also attracted a strong international field of players representing 27 countries to Modderfontein Golf Club – the site of Ashleigh Buhai’s 2018 success in the third edition of the popular Sunshine Ladies Tour stop.

“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 enjoy even more success as a co-sanctioned event in 2022,” said Bongi Mokaba, City of Johannesburg Director: Event Management.

“Not only does the Joburg Ladies Open serve an important role in helping to stimulate the South African economy amidst the COVID-19 recovery, but many of our regular Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners were negatively impacted by the travel restrictions levied over the last two years. This year’s champion will not only take home the lion’s share of a purse worth €250 000, but gain playing privileges in Europe at the start of the season. We are so delighted as the City of Johannesburg to play a part in launching the career of the next champion while inspiring the next generation of future stars of the game.”

Two-time Ladies European Tour champion Julia Engström from Sweden will headline the international field in the 54-hole showpiece alongside Norway’s Marianne Skarpnord, Englishwoman Alice Hewston and Swedish rookie Linn Grant, who have all tasted success on South African soil.

Skarpnord has lifted to trophies in South Africa – first the 2013 SA Women’s Open and then last year, when she lifted the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge title. Hewston won the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open Championship in her first Ladies European Tour start, while Grant has visited the winner’s circle twice in her rookie season on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year, with victories in the Jabra Ladies Classic and Dimension Data Ladies Challenge.

Two more players to watch are Johanna Gustavsson from Sweden and Kristyna Napoleaova from the Czech Republic, who tied for second in Jeddah and catapulted to third and fifth respectively in the Race to Costa del Sol.

American Kelly Whaley will also be making her debut on South African soil, coming off a course-record-equalling nine-under-par 63 in the final round at the Royal Greens that featured a new LET tournament record of eight consecutive birdies.

The foreign contingent can expect to face strong challenges from the home front, led by defending champion Casandra Alexander (nee Hall), 2016 winner Lee-Anne Pace and Nicole Garcia, who are currently placed third, fourth and fifth in the rankings.

After a delayed start to the season, Alexander hit the ground running following her honeymoon with a runner-up finish in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge and a tie for fourth in the Jabra Ladies Classic.

Pace backed up a runner-up finish on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and a top five in her first LET start with two more top-four finishes at home. The reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion will be eager to hunt down an 11th LET tournament title, while in-form Garcia returns to Modderfontein on the back of a top-10 finish last weekend in the Saudi Ladies International.

Other notable players expected to shoot for glory include 2021 Ladies Italian Open champion Lucie Malchirand from France, Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Lejan Lewthwaite, Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland – the winner in 2020 – and Stacy Bregman.

Rising young stars on the home front to look out for include Cara Gorlei, currently sixth in the rankings, Zethu Myeki and Nadia van der Westhuizen, who broke her duck in the season-opening SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open. GolfRSA’s leading amateur Isabella van Rooyen will also be looking to make the most of her sponsor’s invitation to build experience playing in the star-studded field.

Spectators are welcome to attend, and entry is free, providing they can provide proof of vaccination, or a Covid-19 test not older than 72 hours. The second and final rounds of the Joburg Ladies Open will be televised on SuperSport Channel 213 from 09h00 to 14h00.

25th February 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

More Sunshine Ladies Tour glory for Grant at Glendower

Linn Grant of Sweden turned it all on at Glendower Golf Club on Friday as she carded a superb seven-under-par 65 to pull clear for a two-stroke victory in the R1-million Jabra Ladies Classic.

Grant is certainly taking the Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline “Level Up” to heart, as this marked her second visit to the winner’s circle in her debut season, after she celebrated a maiden pro win in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt a fortnight ago.

In the end, it was a bit of a race against time as the leaders cranked up the pace of play – as well as the quality – to beat in incoming highveld thunder storm. It took a buggy ride to their tees shots to play their approaches as quickly as possible.

Grant made two birdies in the final four holes in response to Paul Reto’s three birdies in three from the 13th to the 15th, and, when Reto bogeyed the 16th, the Swede took the gap and stretched out for the win

“We rushed on the 18th because we knew there was a storm coming in and we had been told we had 15 minutes or half an hour to make it in,” said Grant. “That was a little stressful.”

In fact, she felt things were stressful for most of the closing stretch as she did battle with Reto who had won so handily last week at Sun City. “I was very nervous, like for the last five holes,” said Grant. “I knew that we were tied for the lead for much of the time, and Paula holed a very long putt on 13, which tied it up again, so I was nervous, but it was fun too.”

It was a bogey-free effort for Grant, who turned in three-under 33 to move to six-under for the tournament, level with overnight leader Reto who turned in one-under 35.

Just before the turn, Grant had begun to apply the pressure with two of her birdies on that front nine coming on seven and eight. She put pedal to the metal after the turn with two successive birdies pulling her clear, while Reto made just pars after the turn.

Then came Reto’s run from 13 to 15, which drew her level after the 14th, and exchanged birdies on 15 kept them locked up at nine-under.

But once Reto made her bogey, Grant was able to close things out, denying the LPGA Tour player a double victory after her SuperSport Ladies Challenge success at Sun City last week.

Nobuhle Dlamini of Swaziland finished with a two-under-par 70 to be third on four-under, and Casandra Alexander endured a frustrating final round during which she birdied just one of the par-fives on her way to a three-under, and a share of third at three-under with reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion Lee-Anne Pace.

Marine Legentil, the 2022 South African Women’s Amateur champion, edged reigning South African Women’s Stroke Play winner Kiera Floyd & SA Women’s Amateur finalist Kyra van Kan in a count-out on eight-over-par 224 for the Leading Amateur trophy.

For Grant, her South African campaign has been a vindication of hard work and of the decision to play here before launching herself on the Ladies European Tour.

“It’s been good, and I’ve seen that my game is headed in the right direction,” said 2021 Arizona State graduate. “One thing I’ve learned, especially from today, is that regardless of where you play, the competition against yourself kind of gets into your head a little bit and dealing with that well helps a lot.”

The Swede is taking a week off to explore the attractions in Cape Town before she returns to Fancourt to prepare for the two upcoming tournaments co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour – the €250 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Modderfontein Golf Club from 24 – 26 March, and the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open in Cape Town. This year’s 72-hole event carries a purse of €290 000 and will be hosted by Steenberg Golf Club from 30 March-2 April.