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29th April 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Play-off in Standard Bank Ladies Open gives Bregman long-awaited win

JOHANNESBURG, 29 April 2023 – Stacy Bregman sank a curling 20-footer for birdie on the first play-off hole on Saturday to celebrate her first win in over five years as she took the inaugural Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s West Course.

Bregman narrowly missed a birdie putt to win it from Lee-Anne Pace from a nearly identical position in regulation play, but it was a perfectly judged effort in the play-off as she beat Pace to break a victory drought which had lasted five years and three months.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said. “It’s been a while, and I’ve had a couple of tough years, and that makes this really special.”

The play-off happened when Pace pulled off a trademark birdie-birdie finish in regulation play to close out a final round of three-under-par 69. Bregman had to fight off the nerves after holding the 36-hole lead. She made bogeys on the fourth and again, crucially, on the 13th, as she signed for a closing level-par 72.

“I had said to Neal Herman, my caddie, that we were just going to go out there and have a bit of fun,” said Bregman. “That’s because I haven’t been the best on the golf course attitude-wise. I just tried to change my attitude a bit, which has obviously helped. Everyone has said for a long time that I need to do that, and I think it eventually clicked.

“I also just backed myself a little bit more than I have been. Sometimes when you’re struggling, you forget that you can play this game. I know I can, and I proved it to myself this weekend. I came out with the victory and I’m very proud of myself.”

It wasn’t just that personal pressure and the knowledge that Pace was in pursuit that she had to deal with.

Rookie Kiera Floyd put up a doughty challenge and her power off the tee putting her in positions that gave her plenty of opportunities. She got it to five-under through 11 holes, and, with enough holes ahead of her, including the par-five 18th, she had every right to expect to push for a win.

But a bogey on 12, and pressing just a little too hard, left her one-stroke out of the play-off in third place on four-under. Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia and Cara Gorlei finished a further stroke back in joint fourth.

For Bregman, all the doubts about choices made and missed putts in that final round were dispelled as her putt went in on the play-off hole, and Pace’s narrowly missed. “It just shows that my game is in good shape,” she said. “I held up under pressure there, and to make a birdie on the play-off hole shows that I’ve still got it. I wasn’t thinking much standing over the putt, actually. I just stuck to my processes. You can’t really think of the outcome. I just tried to read it as best I could, put the best speed on it, and let nature take its course. In the end, it worked in my favour.”

Bregman was really pleased with the opportunity Standard Bank presented with the new tournament on the Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule. “Without sponsors like Standard Bank, women’s golf in South Africa wouldn’t be where it is today,” she said. “There are so many up-and-coming amateurs, young pros that have been given a real chance to compete when they didn’t have anything outside the six tournaments at the beginning of the year. I think you’re going to see the level of women’s golf in South Africa really rise.”

Reigning SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Samantha Whateley took the amateur honours on four-over-par 220. The Country Club Johannesburg golfer finished in a tie for 11th with Lora Assad after posting rounds of 75, 71 and 74.

SA Women’s Amateur Championship finalist Ellandri van Heerden, who plays out of Bloemfontein Golf Club, was next best. Rounds of 74, 75 and 74 saw the 15-year-old finish in 16th place on her own on a score of seven-over 223.

28th April 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Bogey-free Bregman leads Standard Bank Ladies Open

JOHANNESBURG, 28 April 2023 – Stacy Bregman didn’t drop a shot on Friday on her way to a four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s R1.1-million Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s West Course.

She started her second round steadily from the 10th, picking up just a single birdie on her front nine on the par-five 11th, but she got going properly on her back nine as she picked up birdies on four, seven and nine. She reached five-under for the tournament, giving her a one-stroke lead over first-round leader Cara Gorlei heading into Saturday’s final round.

“I’m very happy. It’s good to have a bogey-free round,” said Bregman. “I’ve been doing a lot of good work with my coach, John Dixon, and it’s slowly starting to take shape.”

Her four-under-par was the best score of the day, with the next-best performance coming from Nadia van der Westhuizen, whose three-under-par 69 lifted her to two-under for the tournament and a share of fifth with Lee-Anne Pace. They were one shot back from rookie Kiera Floyd and veteran Tandi McCallum, who shared third on three-under after rounds of two-under and one-over respectively.

For Bregman, it was her work on the greens on the revamped course which led to her good score.

“I putted really well today,” she said. “I felt I rolled it really well. The greens haven’t been perfect, because they are still so new. But I also hit it really well, and I converted putts when I needed to.”

Bregman is a five-time winner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, including three wins in 2015. Her last win on the circuit came in 2018 in the Canon Tshwane Ladies Open, so a performance like her 68 was very encouraging. “It was one of those rounds where it felt easy,” she said. “It wasn’t really a grind which was quite nice for a change. I felt great for it to feel as if it was just coming naturally. I felt comfortable out there today.”

Gorlei who led the first round at five-under struggled with five bogeys on her card in the second round, but she was able to limit the damage with four birdies and stay in the fray, just one back.

Bregman is well aware of the challenge which lies ahead of her should she wish to step back into the winner’s circle. “Going into the final round, I’ve just got to carry on doing the same processes,” she said. “I can’t get ahead of myself, and that should be enough. It has been a while since I won, and there has been so much progress that a lot of people don’t see unfortunately. But things have been so close, so it would be really cool tomorrow to pull it off.”

Reigning SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Sam Whateley set the pace in the amateur challenge.

The 18-year-old Country Club Johannesburg junior fired a one-under 71 to finish on two-under in a tie for 10th with Brittney-Fay Berger, Kelsey Nicholas and Casandra Alexander, who won the Jabra Ladies Classic and the SuperSport Ladies Challenge earlier this season. SA Women’s Amateur finalist Ellandri van Heerden is two strokes further back.

Tune in to SuperSport channel 213 from 09h00 for live coverage of the final round.

27th April 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Off-season work helps Gorlei to lead in Standard Bank Ladies Open

JOHANNESBURG, 27 April 2023 – Cara Gorlei took advantage of work she has done in a short off season to card a five-under-par 67 on Thursday in the opening round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s R1.1-million Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s revamped West Course.

Gorlei made six birdies and dropped just a single shot as she took a one-stroke lead over former SA Women’s Open Tandi McCallum.

Big-hitting Bonita Bredenhann of Namibia is a further two shots back in a share of third on two-under-par with a trio of former Sunshine Ladies Tour champions including Lee-Anne Pace, Nicole Garcia and Casandra Alexander, already a two-time winner this season.

“We’ve had quite a break since the Investec South African Women’s Open in March, and to come back with a round like this just shows what I’ve been doing in this little off season has been working,” said Gorlei.

“It’s incredible to have the addition of this event, something like this stature, after the summer wrapped and we’re really thankful to Standard Bank for putting this together. It’s a really cool event and I hope that we can keep it up for the next couple of years.”

For Gorlei, the round came together around some changes she made at each end of her game, from the driver off the tee to the putter on the green.

“We’ve worked hard on being able to use my driver,” she said. “It sounds strange, but I used to pretty much play with just 13 clubs in my bag because I couldn’t get my driver right. So, we kind of fiddled with shafts and stuff and we found a match. I hit a lot more fairways and I am able to try and be more consistent.

“I also changed my conventional putting grip to a claw grip, and the ball has just been coming out of the middle of the putter so much better. I putted well today.”

The Milnerton golfer started her round with a birdie on the first and made two more ahead of the turn on the seventh and ninth. With gains on the 11th and 13th, a really low round looked possible, but she dropped a shot on the 15th. “I hit a really bad tee ball on eight with my three-wood, flared it out right and made a good save,” she said. “I did the same thing on 15. Found my ball, but I was well in the bush and I punched it out. I actually hit a good approach, but my par-putt just lipped out. I did well to come out of there with a five.”

She followed that dropped shot with pars on 16 and 17 and then she picked up a final birdie on the last hole.

Behind the players in third, rookie Kiera Floyd and five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Stacy Bregman were on one-under in a share of seventh, with local favourite Kelsey Nicholas on level-par in ninth.

Driving women’s golf development in South Africa is a primary objective of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, and no less than seven amateurs took advantage of the opportunity to build experience playing alongside the professionals this week.

Free State junior Ellandri van Heerden was impressive in her first Sunshine Ladies Tour start.

The 2023 SA Women’s Amateur finalist opened with a two-over 74 to grab a share of 13th with rookie Bronwyn Doeg and Francesca Cuturi,.

She is one shot better than reigning SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Sam Whateley from Central Gauteng, who tied for 16th with Zethu Myeki, Lenanda van der Watt and Brittney-Fay Berger.

Mpumalanga’s Nicola Schoeman signed for 77, Cara Ford shot 78, and Zane Kleynhans from Gauteng North and Charlotte Millard from Central Gauteng posted a pair of 79s. The youngest campaigner this week, 13-year-old Lourenda Steyn from Gauteng North, carded 93.

The 54-hole event wraps up on Saturday, with live coverage of the final round televised on SuperSport channel 213 between 09h00 and 13h30.

26th April 2023 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Standard Bank drives womens golf development with Sunshine Ladies Tour event

Johannesburg, 26 April 2023 – As part of its commitment to driving the development of women’s golf, Standard Bank has joined forces with the Sunshine Ladies Tour to add a new event to the 2023 schedule: the Standard Bank Ladies Open, which will be played at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington on the West Course from April 27 to 29.

Headlined by the 14-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner and 11-time Ladies European Tour winner, Lee-Anne Pace, as well as the winner of two tournaments on this year’s Sunshine Ladies Tour, Casandra Alexander, the 54-hole Standard Bank Ladies Open is a welcome addition as Africa’s leading women’s professional circuit celebrates its 10th season in 2023.

“The addition of the Standard Bank Ladies Open extends what has already been a successful 10th season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour. With another competitive event, the season extends beyond March, thereby strengthening preparation for the Ladies European Tour,” said Sanah Gumede, Head: Wealth and Investment, Standard Bank SA.

“At Standard Bank, guided by our firm belief in the potential of Africa, we continue to take bold steps that enable Africa’s people to unleash their potential. This investment is yet another practical expression of our commitment to unlocking potential in women’s professional golf. Such initiatives continue to drive global momentum of women’s sport and secure South Africa’s rightful place in the arena.”

Gumede adds that Standard Bank’s partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour goes beyond just monetary investment, “it demonstrates our investment in equality and meaningful change within the sporting arena”.

In recognition of the fundamental role that sport plays in driving social and economic development, Standard Bank has supported various sporting initiatives over the years aimed at growing sports in the country, at grassroots, amateur and professional levels.

The new event – boasting prize money of R1.1 million – extends the 2023 schedule, giving South Africa’s local professionals, as well as those who ply their trade on the Ladies European Tour, an extra opportunity at home as the Sunshine Ladies Tour grows from its solid base.

In addition to the presence of Pace and Alexander, seasoned veterans and winners like Nicole Garcia, Stacy Bregman and Tandi McCallum will make the tournament a mouth-watering prospect when they tee it up alongside exciting rookies Kiera Floyd and Gabi Venter, young professionals Zethu Myeki and Cara Gorlei and a group of the country’s top-ranked amateurs.

“It is vital for the expansion of the Sunshine Ladies Tour that partners like Standard Bank join us as we work on creating more playing opportunities for our women professionals,” said Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt. “Without the support of industry giants like Standard Bank, growing the Sunshine Ladies Tour beyond the six events at the start of the season would be so much more difficult to achieve. We are grateful for all they bring to the table. This is an important step in the growth of the Tour, and we believe it’s the first of many such steps.”

Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club has hosted several events since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014, and the revamped West Course promises a good test for the field.

“On behalf of the board, members and staff, it gives us great pleasure to host the Standard Bank Ladies Open on our ‘new’ West Course,” said Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club CEO Christopher Bentley. “During our 131 years of its existence, Royal has played an integral role in the development of golf in our country, and we are proud to be at the forefront once again in supporting the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

“The Club is preparing to ensure conditions of play provide a fair test, so that good golf will be rewarded with good scores and great memories. We look forward to welcoming the players, officials and all golf enthusiasts to another memorable event”

The 54-hole tournament will be preceded by a pro-am at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington West on April 26 and the final round will be broadcast live on SuperSport Channel 213 from 9 am to 1:30 pm on Saturday April 29.