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2nd February 2022 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

McCallum on the Move in Cape Town

Former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi McCallum battled strong winds and a steady drizzle to open up a one-shot lead on day one of the SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open on Wednesday.

With the course playing tough and longer in the adverse conditions, the Gauteng golfer might have been in for a long day after a bogey, bogey start, but McCallum managed to turn things around.

She responded with six birdies to hit the front with a one-under-par 73 and was the only player to break par in the opening round.

Nicole Garcia and England’s Thalia Martin share second on level par, with Lejan Lewthwaite – fresh off her victory in the Vodacom Origins of Series Final at Sun City – a further stroke back in fourth.

After finishing with back-to-back bogeys, McCallum was pleasantly surprised to find herself leading the season-opener of the ninth Sunshine Ladies Tour season.

“It’s definitely more than I expected, given the conditions. I just wanted to put a decent score together to get into contention, so really pleased with the outcome,” she said.

“We’ve played the SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open here at Royal Cape six out of seven times, so I’ve pretty much worked out where I can score, but today I had to adjust my strategy completely with the strong North Westerly.

“It was like a reverse strategy. Holes that are usually reachable were totally out of reach and I had to adapt by going for birdies on the holes where I would normally play for par. I just tried to minimize the bogeys before the final stretch, because I knew that would be tough.”

McCallum turned one-over, but birdies on 10, 11, 13 and 15 took her three deep.

“Sure enough, I dropped the last two holes,” she said. “We usually have the wind behind us over the closing stretch, but today they were really tough,” she said. “For instance, I usually hit driver and a short iron into the last hole, but today I needed driver, 3-wood to get on the green. Lejan said she had to hit driver, driver and she is one of our longer hitters.

“I knew it was going to get tough at the end, so I am pleased that I looked for opportunities early on the back nine, where I could use the wind. There is still a lot of golf to play, but I’m very happy with today’s result, and hopefully I can build on it.”

And with 36 holes to go, don’t count out last year’s top golfer Lee-Anne Pace.

The reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion – chasing her fourth title in this event – finished the day just four strokes off the pace in joint fifth alongside former winner Stacy Bregman and rising stars Zethu Myeki and Nadia van der Westhuizen.

Southern Cape’s Kim de Klerk, a regular campaigner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour over the last X years, leads the amateur challenge at Royal Cape. De Klerk opened with a four-over 78 to join last year’s runner-up Cara Gorlei, Norway’s Maiken Bing Paulsen and multiple winner Kim Williams in a tie for ninth.