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23rd April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Full marks for maiden winner Fletcher

23 April 2021 – Former Memphis Tiger star Michaela Fletcher won a lot of golf tournaments in a storied amateur career. Now she’s a winner on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.

And the 25-year-old Maritzburg golfer broke her professional duck in the most magnificent style at the iconic Gary Player Country Club on Friday.

A pin-seeking chip from 30 feet across the water at the par-five 18th dropped dead centre and the resulting birdie for a final round one-under 71 sealed Fletcher’s her maiden success in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International.

“First and foremost, the satisfaction of being able to play under the gun and win is amazing. Having played amateur golf most of my career, this is what I’ve dreamt of doing since I joined the pro ranks last year. I’m so thrilled with this result,” said the elated winner.

Fletcher began the final day on four-under and triumphed one shot better, but she was pushed to the end by Nobuhle Dlamini, who shared the overnight lead, and last week’s Jabra Ladies Classic champion, amateur Caitlyn Macnab, who started the day two shots off the pace.

“Warming up on the range this morning I wasn’t really hitting it well,” said Fletcher.

“I went out there and just trusted my game plan. I knew going into the final round that Cat and Nobby are longer hitters, so it was really important that I trusted myself and my own game.”

While she couldn’t match Dlamini and Macnab’s booming drives, Fletcher edged in front and held on to pole with superb approach shots and a hot putter. The trio turned with Fletcher in front on five-under, Macnab one behind and Dlamini a further shot adrift.

Fletcher was solid with five straight pars to start the inward loop, while her playing partners traded birdies for bogeys.

Then, with four holes to play, Dlamini made three bogeys on the bounce and fell way, but Macnab pulled within a shot of her lead when Fletcher bogeyed the par four 15th hole.

“I knew they would both go for the green in two at the last hole and they did,” Fletcher said. “I went from not striking the ball well to striping it down the middle. I thought about going for it, but I had left myself at an awkward distance. So I stuck to the game plan and laid up. I had to take a longer club, though. When I got to the ball, I was so relieved that it was short of the water and I was safe.”

Her caddy offered some paternal advice and Fletcher obliged.

“My dad turned to me and said: ‘Look to make it; you can make this’. I’ve been chipping really well all three days and I caught it just perfectly. I was just really happy to watch the ball disappear down the hole.”

Macnab’s two-putt birdie for a 70 handed her second on her own at four-under. Dlamini also made a four on the closing hole and a round of 74 earned her a share of third alongside Denmark’s Linette Holmslykke, who signed for 69.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour is three-for-three with their #LevelUp campaign for the 2021 season, as Macnab and Fletcher followed in the footsteps of French golfer Manon Gidali, who claimed her first pro win in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open.

Fletcher was overjoyed to cross join the maiden winner’s circle.

“Things got a little hairy towards the end; the cracks in the swing showed up under pressure and I doubted myself just a bit, but I’m proud of the way I just grinded through,” said the former Memphis Tigers standout. “At the end of the day, golf doesn’t always have to be pretty; you just have to get it in the hole. I’m happy with the way that I played under the circumstances.”

With three events to go, she hopes to raise her game to an even higher level.

“I’ve proven to myself that I really belong here. Lockdown really tested me. It was a really tough year leading up to this and I am so proud. I grinded through a really tough swing change in the lockdown, and today, I grinded my way to the win,” she said.

“When things got difficult, I never felt sorry for myself. I never gave up. I worked with what I had and won, and that is a huge confidence booster for me. My amateur days were good, but my pro days are going to be even better.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s next stop is Soweto Country Club and the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open.

The circuit then swings through the Garden Route for the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt, before it returns to the Mother City for the season-finale Investec South African Women’s Open, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour at Westlake. The €200 000 national Open doubles up this year as one of the qualifying event for golf’s biggest Major, the U.S. Women’s Open.

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

22nd April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Fletcher eyes maiden win at Sun City

22 April 2021 – Maritzburg’s Michaela Fletcher produced a stunning seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to lead a Sunshine Ladies Tour event for the first time in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at Sun City.

The 25-year-old former Memphis Tigers standout fired eight birdies at the Gary Player Country Club to set the early clubhouse target at four-under, before Nobuhle Dlamini joined her at the summit.

Having offset two bogeys and a double at the par-three 13th with five birdies, a gain on the par four 17th saw the 2018 champion sign for a round of 70, and a share of pole position.

Fletcher began the second round six shots adrift of overnight leader Caitlyn Macnab on three-under, but she began chipping away at the deficit with birdies on the third and fourth holes. Another brace of birdies on the eighth and ninth holes saw her turn four-under.

Superb iron-play on the par fours – 12, 13 and 14 – set her up for three further gains, but she lost a shot to the field her first bogey of the day at the short 16th.

“I made a right mess of that hole, but ’m happy that I amends with a birdie finish,” said Fletcher. “It was a really good round. I struck the ball really well both rounds, but the difference was that the putts dropped today.”

Fletcher was the first Tigers women’s golfer to advance to the NCAA Championships, doing so in 2015. She was also a two-time NCAA Regional qualifier during her four year stint at the University of Memphis.

She joined the pro ranks on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last year. “I had a fantastic time at college, but I was really ready to turn pro,” said Fletcher, who ranked 15th in the Investec Order of Merit after scoring top 20 finishes in her seven starts.

“I had planned to return to the United States to build experience on the feeder circuits, but when the country went into the hard lockdown after the Investec South African Women’s Open in March, I had to switch gears.

“It was a blow, for sure, but I used the time to work on a major swing change at the small driving range back home. Putting in the time and the hard work was worth it. It worked out for the best in the end. Once I was happy with my swing, I took a complete break from golf for six weeks so I could really relax and I then I started preparing for the 2021 season.

“Big ups to the Sunshine Ladies Tour for getting the season together in the midst of everything that is happening. It’s so awesome to back out playing competitively again.”

Fletcher will now face the biggest challenge of her young career as she looks to hold off the chasing pack, led by the big-hitting eSwatini golfer and Macnab, who registered a 73 to finish in third place on two-under.

“I learned at college to accept that I can’t control what the other players do,” Fletcher said. “Nobby and Cat are both big-hitters; they can pull out the driver on a lot of holes. I am shorter off the tee, but I hit a lot of fairways and greens, so I have to play to my strengths, stick to my game plan and stay in my own head-space. If I can do that well, I have a chance to win.”

Last year’s runner-up Tandi McCallum, LPGA champion Lee-Anne Pace and Dane Linette Holmslykke are also still in with a shout.

Parkview’s McCallum is level after 36 holes after carding 73 in round two, while Pace and Holmslykke posted respective rounds of 72 and 71 to tie for fifth on one-over.

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

21st April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini chasing Macnab at Sun City

21 April 2021 – Reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion Caitlyn Macnab carried her imperious winning form from the Jabra Ladies Classic to the Pilansberg, where she edged out Nobuhle Dlamini for the round one lead in the Ladies SuperSport Challenge, presented by Sun International.

Macnab lived up to the billing as one of the headline acts at Sun City, carding a three-under-par opening round 69 at the Gary Player Country Club, but former champion Dlamini is in hot pursuit, just one shot off the pace.

Last year’s runner-up, Tandi McCallum, opened with a one-under 71 to sit alone in third, with Anna Magnusson from Sweden and seasoned French campaigner Astrid Vayson De Pradenne tied for fourth on level par. Lee-Anne Pace and former SA Long Drive champion Lenanda van der Watt share sixth, a further shot adrift.

Defending champion Lejan Lewthwaite opened with a three-over-par 75 and is six off the pace.

Big-hitting Dlamini is starting to hit the form that saw her rack up victories in the Joburg Ladies Open and Dimension Data Ladies Challenge last season, and brought her close to winning the 2020 Investec Order of Merit title.

The eSwatini golfer enjoyed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour success in the 2018 edition at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club. Three years earlier she was finished second at the Lost City Golf Course and in 2019, was the runner-up again at the Wild Coast.

Dlamini also wore the bridesmaid’s tag in the 2016 Sun International Ladies Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club and she once again showed her affinity for this tournament – and the championship layout – with a solid 70 that featured two dropped shots and four birdies

“I’m pleased with the round; the set-up is tough and there was a couple of tricky pins. If you offered me a two under of the start of the round, I would have taken it,” said Dlamini. “No real drama. I hit it well off the tees and my iron-play was good, but I could have putted better.

“I can’t hit driver off the tee on many holes because of the set-up, but I am striking it well, so I might get a little more aggressive with my approach shots tomorrow.”

Caitlyn Macnab during round one of the SuperSport Ladies Classic, presented by Sun International, at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, South Africa.
Image: Petri Oeschger

Macnab, meanwhile, is riding a wave of confidence after a top four finish in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open and an eight-shot triumph at Glendower last week, where she became the first amateur winner of the pro women’s golf circuit since Ashleigh Buhai in 2007.

The Texas Christian University-bound teenager’s 69 came courtesy of three birdies on the back nine.

“I had a solid start with two good birdies, but I made silly bogeys on nine and 10,” she said. “I took 5-iron off the tee on nine and the club slipped out of my hand. I was completely out of position, and had to hit a massive hook. I had a mud ball and the ball didn’t come out well. My chip came out hot and I missed the putt. It wasn’t a bad bogey. I hit a good drive and a decent second on 10. I had a lengthy putt and smashed my first putt way past and missed the return.

“Other than those two holes, it was solid. I only missed the fairway once, on the final hole. Actually, I missed one more, but I was only a foot off so I’m not counting it. The rough is really thick, so hitting fairways was key to me scoring so well on a course like this. My swing is also improving; I’m starting to hit the shots and the shapes that I want to.”

Macnab is feeling confident, but also realises that things can change quickly.

“Confidence is a funny thing. Yes, I have an expectation to win events, but my bigger expectation is to give it all that I can; always 100%. When you’re hitting good shots and playing good rounds, your confidence builds. You don’t feel so restricted. You can hit the ball much more freely and play the shots you want to play. For me it also means I can be more creative and when I can play like that, I feel like I’m playing my best golf.”

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

20th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite set for Sun City defence

20 April 2021 – Lejan Lewthwaite will draw on fond memories of the Gary Player Country Club to spark a return to winning form when she takes up her title defence in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, on Wednesday.

The Serengeti golfer lifted her second Sunshine Ladies Tour trophy at Sun City last year after edging out Tandi McCallum with a birdie at the first play-off hole.

“Sun City brings back a lot of happy memories and I can’t wait to defend my title,” Lewthwaite said.

“The Gary Player Country Club is a fantastic venue and remains one of my favourite courses in the world. It’s steeped in history and I was so thrilled to add my name to a winner’s list with so many legends of the game who have won at the Gary Player.

“Last year’s win delivered a huge shot of confidence and definitely helped me to the winner’s circle a week later in Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at Fancourt. It’s always great to return to a place that sparks positive memories, because it gives you a psychological lift. I have no doubt that the Gary Player Country Club will do that for me this week.”

Starting with her own first round playing partners, Lewthwaite knows she will have to stave off some pretty stiff competition to go back-to-back on the iconic championship course.

Four-time Ladies European Tour (LET) winner Marianne Skarpnord from Norway tasted success on South African soil with her 2013 triumph in the South African Women’s Open and will be looking for a fast start to her 2021 campaign, while GolfRSA No. 1 amateur Caitlyn Macnab impressed with a runaway eight-shot victory in the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower last week.

The field is further awash with seasoned winners, led by LPGA Tour champion Lee-Anne Pace.

Multiple Sunshine Ladies Tour titleholders Nicole Garcia, Stacy Bregman, Monique Smit, Kim Williams, eSwatini’s Nobuhle Dlamini and Jane Turner from Scotland will be gunning for a first win this season, as will England’s Florentyna Parker and Anne-Lise Caudal from France, both former winners on the LET circuit.

Some of the new kids on the block have also signalled their intent to level up this season, with Manon Gidali from France breaking her duck in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open.

“I don’t feel any extra pressure coming in as the defending champion,” Lewthwaite said. “It has taken a while to get the rust off after the long lay-off due to the pandemic, but I am happy with the progress I’m making.

“No doubt I have my job cut out to defend my title, but I know how to keep my head down and shut out the world. I am able to stay in the moment and in my own head-space and that is how I approach every tournament round.”

After taking the leading amateur honours with a runner-up finish in the 2015 South African Women’s Open, the former US Collegiate NCAA Division one golfer cut teeth on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2016 and she is excited to see so many younger players making strides this season.

“You always want to see the cream rise to the top, but it has been an exciting season so far with two new winners stepping up,” said the Investec golfer. “It great to see up-and-coming pros like Cara Gorlei, Lindi Coetzee, Kelsey Nicholas, Michaela Fletcher and Katerina Vlasinova from the Czech Republic putting in some strong performances.

“It’s a fantastic result for the Sunshine Ladies Tour. A year ago, I was one of those new faces who raised my game and broke through the ranks. It signals that the tour is achieving its goal to encourage and empower the younger generation to soar to new heights.

“I may have won three times, but I’m still a relative newcomer on the Ladies European Tour, so I am also embracing all the opportunities the Sunshine Ladies Tour is offering us to help us reach the next level.”

The defending champion would love to become the first South African to bag the Investec hat-trick this season.

“Just imagine taking home the R100 000 Investec Order of Merit, the winner’s share of the €200 000 Investec South African Women’s Open and the R100 000 Investec Homegrown Award, which is a new incentive this year for a South African winner in the SA Women’s Open,” she said.

“It would be an incredible achievement and a massive cash injection to help cover all the travel expenses. I definitely have my eye on the prize and a win this week will go a long way in getting me closer to that target.”

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


5th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Dlamini back in the mix at Sun City

5 February 2020 – For a second successive week, Nobuhle Dlamini has a stab at a sixth Sunshine Ladies Tour title after she moved into a share of the 36-hole lead in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Sun City.

The 28-year-old Eswatini forged her way to the front in the R400 000 event presented by Sun International, courtesy of a flawless four-under-par 68 at the Lost City Golf Course on Tuesday.

The Eswatini golfer was joined at the summit by joint first round leader Lejan Lewthwaite, who held on to a share of pole position with a one-under-par 71.

Former winner Tandi McCallum also returned 71 to finish in third on six-under.

Stacy Bregman and Nicole Garcia finished a further shot back. Bregman, the winner in 2015, shared the first round lead, but backpedalled to a share of fourth after carding 74. Garcia, meanwhile, shared the low round honour with Dlamini. Her 68 featured an eagle, a trio of birdies and a lone bogey.

Scotland’s Jane Turner celebrate her maiden win in this event when it was hosted at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club. She stayed in touch with a 73 to finish a further stroke adrift.

Dlamini led the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open through 36 holes last week, but she battled a balky putter on the final day at King David Mowbray Golf Club and ended up losing to Lee-Anne Pace.

Although the flat-stick is still a little icy, Dlamini was pleased to sign for two bogey-free rounds.

“I hit a lot of fairways, but wasn’t hitting it close enough to make the birdie putt,” she said. “I’m happy with birdies on three of the par fives and a bunch of solid pars, though, because the conditions were a lot tougher.

“The wind was much stronger and lots of pins were tucked, so you couldn’t attack the flags. You couldn’t really feel the strength of the wind through the trees, but once you hit it, the wind played around with your ball. Playing in the wind in Cape Town was definitely a benefit for us, because we had to make a lot of adjustments out there.”

Dlamini landed her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at the Wild Coast in 2018, but she had a chance two years earlier, when she carried a four-shot lead in to the final round at Sun City.

“I started with a bogey and made nine on the par five second and I never recovered. I ended up shooting 77 for a runner-up finish. I’ve never forgotten that day and I would love to get my revenge,” she said. “I really enjoy the Gary Player. The course is slightly longer and you don’t have to lay up as much as you do here at the Lost City. I can use my driver. It’s a tougher course, but there are some very good holes where you can make birdies.”

Lejan Lewthwaite held on for a share of the second round lead on seven-under in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at Sun City; credit Sunshine Ladies Tour.

Lewthwaite fired five birdies to offset a pair of bogeys, but was left ruing a double bogey at the par four 17th that cost her outright lead.

“I was three-under with two to play, so a little disappointed with the double, but I’m happy that I kept it under par,” said the Serengeti golfer. It was a tougher day, for sure, but I stuck with the same thought processes and just kept calm out.
“After the double I told myself to go for an eagle finish. I really went for my second shot. I had an uphill lie, though, and it went a little high and came up short in the hazard. I didn’t really have a shot, so I took the drop and almost holed it. I was happy to make the up-and-down for par,” said the Investec-backed golfer.

“Gary Player is a little tougher, so I’m sticking to my thought processes. The rough is up way more than here at the Lost City and positioning off the tees will be crucial. I’m really excited. The greens are a lot quicker so I’ll be happy get the putter going on that side.”

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

4th February 2020 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Lewthwaite, Bregman a happy double act at Sun City

4 February 2020 – Lejan Lewthwaite fired three birdies over her last four holes on Tuesday for a six-under-par 66, and the joint first round lead in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at Sun City.

As play wrapped up at the Lost City Golf Course, the Benoni golfer found herself surrounded by former champions of the Sunshine Ladies Tour event.

Lewthwaite shares the top spot with 2015 winner Stacy Bregman and the Investec-backed pair lead by one shot from Tandi McCallum, who claimed the inaugural title in 2014.

Bregman and McCallum both celebrated their victories at Sun City, while Scotland’s Jane Turner and Nobuhle Dlamini from Eswatini – lurking a further stroke adrift – were the respective champions at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club in 2019 and 2019.

“I hadn’t realised; that is quite something. Hopefully a good omen for me,” Lewthwaite laughed.

After finishing a frustrating fifth in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open last week, the 28-year-old spent some quality time with her putter, and credited an improvement on the greens as key to her low scoring round.

“I have been striking the ball really well since last year, but I was just not holing putts in Cape Town. Thankfully that changed. The time I spent with the flat-stick definitely paid off,” said Lewthwaite, who racked up four birdies from the fourth hole to turn four-under and reeled in four more coming home.

“I started off slowly with a couple of pars, but once the first birdie putt dropped, I started thinking I’ve got this. I holed some long putts; I holed some short ones. The birdies just kept on coming.”

She also hit some pin-seeking irons to set herself up for a good score.

“Not much wrong with the game today. I think I missed just two greens. On one I made a great up-and-down to save par, the one not so much. I hit back with birdies on 15 and 16, though, so I was able to bounce back from the double on 14,” she said.

On the back of her maiden win in the SA Women’s Masters last year, Lewthwaite spent the season in Europe where she secured her Ladies European Tour (LET) card for the 2020 season with a top 80 Order of Merit finish.

“It would be great if I could once or twice this season here in South Africa. I hope to peak at the Investec SA Women’s Open in March, because we have so many incentives to play for,” she said. “The winner gets spots in the AEG British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship, and exemption on the LET until the end of 2021. Plus a strong performance in Cape Town would mean a leg-up on the LET Order of Merit this year. That is really valuable.”

Stacy Bregman in action at the 2020 SuperSport Ladies Challenge hosted by Sun International at Lost City Golf Course.
Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour / Carl Fourie

Bregman is also targeting a return to the winner’s circle.

The five-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion got it to six-under through 15 holes, but let one slip on the par four 16th before closing out with a birdie for her 66. “I’m really stoked after this round. I played really superb golf. I gave myself a lot of chances and I made them,” said Bregman, whose last success came in the 2018 Canon Tshwane Ladies Open. “Compared to last week in Cape Town, I struck the ball really well today and was wedging it really close. I also holed a few longer putts that kept the moment going. Everything was on point.”

The Country Club Johannesburg golfer is looking forward to taking an on-song game to the Gary Player Country Club for the second round.

“Both courses are superb. You can’t fault them. The greens at the Lost City are probably not as quick as the Gary Player Country Club, but on both courses they run very true. The Gary Player is just always that little bit more challenging off the tees, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Amateur Kaiyuree Moodley in action at the 2020 SuperSport Ladies Challenge hosted by Sun International at Lost City Golf Course. Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour / Carl Fourie

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kaiyuree Moodley – fresh from helping Team Annika to a top five finish in the 2020 Major Champions Invitation in the United States – leads the amateur challenge on two-under.

The former Youth Olympian shares sixth with French golfer Emie Peronnin and Lindi Coetzee.

Lee-Anne Pace, who claimed her 25th career title in the Cape Town Ladies Open last week, opened with a one-under 71 to finish in a six-way tie for ninth with, among others rookies Zethu Myeki and Michaela Fletcher.

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

Lali Stander
Sunshine Ladies Tour Media Liaison

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28th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Turner cruises to victory at Wild Coast

28 February 2019 – Scot Jane Turner produced a stunning display of front running golf as she fired a closing two-under 68 to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, by four shots at the Wild Coast Country Club on Thursday.

The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club player ended on a four-under 206 total, four ahead of her nearest challenger and defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini. The three-time Sunshine Tour winner carded rounds of 68 72 and 70, meaning Turner was the only player to finish under par for the week.

In third on her own was fellow Scot Gabrielle Macdonal of Craigelaw Golf Club on two-over after rounds of 72 70 70. Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Kelsey Nicholas, who plays out of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, finished a further shot adrift after posting scores of 78 68 67.

England’s Kiran Matharu and another Scot Hannah McCook – in her second start as a professional – tied for fifth on four-over with GolfRSA Elite Squad star Kajal Mistry.

The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member, who lost in a play-off in last week’s SA Women’s Masters, won the leading amateur prize for a second week running.

Turner began her round with a birdie three on the second after chipping in for birdie when it looked like a bogey was on the cards. That was just the impetus she needed, as she picked up two more gains before the turn.

On the 10th, she holed a long putt for birdie to get to six-under and open a five-shot lead over Dlamini. Two bogeys in a final three holes ultimately mattered little, as the 29-year-old had done enough to claim an emphatic triumph.

“It feels amazing what I was able to do today,” said Turner. “I can’t even begin to describe what this feels like. I have no control of what anyone else does, so I needed to keep the ball in play and hit greens in regulation and make my birdies.

“Once the putts started dropping, it gave me confidence. I actually holed a great putt on 10 for birdie. Everything just came together.”

The bogeys on 16 and 17, made it a slightly more nervy finish for Turner – but she said her mind-set still remained the same.

“I had my first bogey of the day on 16 and just like nine yesterday, it was because of a bad drive,” she said. ‘I almost managed to save my par, but left the putt short. 17 was just a bad three-putt – my first one of the week.

“The mind-set was the same coming down 18, hit the fairway and hit the green and I almost made my birdie.”

Turner has a category 12 exemption (meaning limited status) on the Ladies European Tour (LET), but has tasted victory once before as a professional at the 2017 Bossey Ladies event on the LET Access Series.

“This is my second win and they both sit right up there. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you’re going home with a trophy – although I’m not sure how it’s going to fit on the plane!”

The win at the Wild Coast though, will give Turner a massive confidence boost as she heads to the Cape Town Ladies Open and then the Investec South African Women’s Open in two weeks, where the winner will receive full exemption on the LET for the rest of the season.

“The SA Open will be a great springboard for any player who does well there,” Turner said. “It gives me a lot of confidence knowing I put together a lot of birdies this week, and I just need to keep that going in Cape Town.”

In response to the question why the purple shirts on the final day, Turner responded.

“I was diagnosed with epilepsy almost seven years ago. I do my bit to raise awareness for the condition and I hope to make a tradition of wearing purple in the final round, because purple is the colour for all epilepsy charities. Under Armour give me my clothing, and there are quite a few purple tee shirts. So all my final days are going to be purple, just like Tiger and his red.”

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

27th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Turner surges ahead at Wild Coast

27 February 2019 – Scot Jane Turner fired a second successive 69 to forge a two-shot lead on two-under at the summit of the leaderboard at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Wednesday in the second round of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International.

The Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club player carded six birdies, including three in row from the 15th, to open a gap between herself and Nobuhle Dlamini.

The defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini is on level par following rounds of 68 and 72, three shots ahead of Chloe Williams from Wales, who returned rounds of 69 and 72.

GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kajal Mistry is in the mix for a third straight week going into the final round.

The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation golfer registered a 72 to grab a share of fourth on two-over with Scottish rookie Gabrielle Macdonald and overnight leader Jessica Dreesbeimdieke. Macdonald carded 70, while the lanky Namibian battled to a second round 76.

Testament to her focus, the 29-year-old Turner was so engrossed in her round that she didn’t know she had surged ahead of the field.

“I didn’t even know I had a two-shot lead. I’ll just have to do the same tomorrow,” said Turner.

“It was pretty windy out there with strong crosswinds, but I managed to keep control over everything and I holed some really good putts. That helped me recover from the little double bogey on nine.

“I actually holed quite a long putt on the 17th, and the previous two were good approach shots. You could actually, if you were quite aggressive, reach the 16th in two. I did that and two-putted for my birdie.”

Lurking ominously though is three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Dlamini.

By her own admission, Dlamini admitted that she didn’t play her best golf in the second round, but she was confident about her chances going into the final round.

“It was a tough day today from the star to the finish. I hit a lot of greens in regulation,” said Dlamini. “It wasn’t great overall. The back nine played really tough with the South-East wind. I’ll take it though. I’m level par, and two behind and still within reach.

“There’s nothing to stress about really. I’m going to go work on my putting now, and hopefully I’ll be sharper for tomorrow.”

The 27-year-old holds second place on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, following her win in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am two weeks ago, and a fifth place finish last week at the SA Women’s Masters.

The consistent play of Dlamini has seen her remain in line for the first title defence of her career at the scene of her breakthrough victory on tour.

“I think I’ve been quite consistent even when it’s not been going so well and holding my score together. Tomorrow I’ll have to chase a little bit harder, but I’ll also need to be cautious about what is happening around me.”

For the 23-year-old Williams, meanwhile, the chance to play in the final group will be a challenge she is relishing.

“I’m really happy with my putting at the minute; it’s come a long way actually,” said the Wrexham Golf Club player. “I’ve really struggled the last 12 months and it has taken time to come right.

“My entire game has kind of been in-and-out so I’ve had to be patient. But it seems to be coming together nicely.  I’m really happy with where I am. I like being in the hunt going into the last day, rather than just trying to protect a score.

“The last time I was in the final group was over 18 months ago. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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

26th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Jessica jets to Wild Coast lead

26 February 2019 – Jessica Dreesbeimdieke scorched her way around the Wild Coast Country Club on Tuesday to open up a two-shot lead on four-under 66 in the first round of the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International.

The 22-year-old University of Denver graduate made her debut on the Sunshine Ladies Tour last week at the SA Women’s Masters, and her period of adjustment seems to be over as she carded a round including five birdies in difficult wind conditions.

Dreesbeimdieke eclipsed the performance of defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini of Swaziland, who shares second alongside Scotland’s Laura Murray on two-under 68.

The international domination of the leaderboard continued down to a share of fourth on one-under 69 with three-time winner Bertine Faber tied with France’s Emilie Piquot, Chloe Williams of Wales and the Scot Jane Turner.

Dreesbeimdieke, who had a solitary bogey at the par four fifth, said a strong start to the round helped her find her stride.

“I got off to a really hot start,” said Dreesbeimdieke. “I birdied the first two holes and narrowly missed a birdie on the third. My putting was definitely a lot better today than last week. That’s really what made the difference. My ball-striking has been really consistent lately.”

The psychology and social legal studies major who now lives in Florida, USA, carded eight pars and a birdie on the back nine as the wind began to howl.

“As soon as the wind came up I was just trying to keep my pars going. It was more about managing your game than doing anything crazy. Then I happened to make a birdie on 17, which felt like a hole-in-one with the wind. I aimed 40 metres right of the pin because it was a crosswind, and it finished just left of the hole. I probably made a seven-metre putt for birdie.”

The study of psychology will come in handy in the pressure situations Dreesbeimdieke will encounter in tournament golf.

“I like to think psychology helps me with golf, but then I’d have a tendency to over analyse,” she said. “It definitely helps me with coping techniques and keeping my mind in the right place – which was a challenge when I turned pro.”

Dlamini, meanwhile, went off the 10th and had a slow start to her round with two bogeys and a birdie to turn in one-over. Coming home, the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner clicked into gear with four birdies in five holes from the third, but signed off with a bogey at the par three eighth.

“I started quite solidly, I wasn’t putting great on the front nine, but the game plan was good,” said the big-hitting Swazi golfer. “The one birdie on 12 was good. One over was still okay on the front nine, but I played much better on my second nine.

“I’m happy to be playing here again. I like the course and I’m looking forward to the rest of the tournament, I’m quite solid and consistent. Hopefully I’ll make a few more putts.”

Murray had a fantastic day on the greens, and she made sure to thank the shortest club in her bag after her solid opening round.

“I hit the ball really nicely today, but I holed quite a few putts,” said Murray. “I seemed to get the speed of the greens pretty well. I had 26 putts out there, so I was happy with that. I must have holed a 35-footer for birdie at the first hole, so that was a bonus.”

In addition to her hot putter, the Kippie Lodge Sports and Country member has a secret weapon in her armoury this week – a vital factor in Lejan Lewthwaite’s play-off victory in the SA Women’s Masters last Saturday.

“I picked up Gilbert for this week, who was on Lejan’s bag at San Lameer and he helped me quite a few times with taking the right club,” Murrary said.

GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry, who lost to Lewthwaite at the first extra hole at San Lameer,  is not out of it, either.

The 18-year-old Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member offset three bogeys with a trio of birdies for an even-par 70 to tie for eighth with former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England.Ends

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



25th February 2019 | Sunshine Ladies Tour

Williams wielding winning formula at Wild Coast

25 February 2019 – If recent performances are anything to go by, Kim Williams will be one of the favourites in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, which tees off at the Wild Coast Country Club on Tuesday.

Third on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit after a fourth place finish at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am two weeks ago, and a third place at the South African Women’s Masters last week, means Williams be hoping to ride her wave of form into the winners circle.

In fact, Sunday’s winner at San Lameer Country Club Leján Lewthwaite had finished third and second this season before breaking through for her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win. The Investec golfer, who shot to number one in the rankings, is not in the line-up this week, though.

Lewthwaite departed the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast on Monday to make her 2019 debut on the Ladies European Tour in Australia.

Williams, meanwhile, rose to fifth in the standings and hopes that its third time lucky for her this week.

“I just need to keep doing what I have been doing the last two weeks and hopefully make a few putts,” said the Centurion Country Club golfer.

Williams grabbed a share of the 36-hole lead with Sweden’s Sofie Bringner at San Lameer. She stayed ahead of the field for most of the round, despite triple bogeys at the par three fourth and 16th holes. Those two holes cost her six shots, yet Williams ended just two shots outside the play-off for the title.

“I just need to stay patient, because these things happen. It wasn’t bad shots, but I still ended up with a triple on both par threes. I just need to stick with the processes. Hopefully I keep knocking on the door, meaning the victory is around the corner,” Williams said.

With a short turnaround between tournaments of three days, Williams took time to relax between events to keep herself fresh for another title challenge.

“I just took Sunday off, went down to the beach and relaxed. Hopefully nothing has changed from last week,” she said. “The last couple weeks I’ve been hitting my irons really nicely, so if that keeps up I’ve got a really good chance this week.”

GolfRSA Elite Squad golfer Kajal Mistry, coming off a top five finish at Fancourt and a play-off loss in the SA Women’s Masters on Sunday, is looking for another hot finish in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International, at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club; Justin Klusener.

Lewthwaite beat young GolfRSA Elite Squad player Kajal Mistry on the first play-off hole by holing a monster 35-foot putt to seal victory.  The play-off with the 18-year-old Ernie Els and Foundation member drew praise from Williams, who was paired with the youngster in the final round.

“She is an amazing golfer and she has a very big future,” Williams said. “Although Kajal still has a lot to learn, she already has a fantastic game, a great temperament for the big moments and her course management is coming along great.”

Although she is not eligible for earnings, Mistry’s top four finish in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge and play-off loss in the SA Women’s Masters effectively moved her to third in the Investec Order of Merit. She hopes to take the lessons learned last week to produce another top finish.

“I learned that sometimes things don’t go your way and to exercise loads of patience,” said the Randpark Golf Club player.

“That’s just the way it is. I tried my best and had a lot of fun being in contention. I haven’t done that in a while, even on the amateur circuit so it was fun.

“At the start of the day I was three back. When I lead by three shots on the amateur circuit, I know it’s nothing. One hole can change your situation quite quickly. I stick it out for the whole 18. There was never a point where I thought I couldn’t do it at San Lameer. I kept my head high the whole time.”

Mistry last played the Wild Coast Country Club at age 10, nearly eight years ago.

“I last played here when I was 10 years old. This was the course where I put my first score into the handicap system. I think I shot about 110,” she laughed. “I have good memories from here, as I’ve also stayed here on holiday.”

Not to be discounted though this week will be defending champion Nobuhle Dlamini.

The Glendower Golf Club player broke through at this event last year for her maiden victory on tour. The 27-year-old has since won twice more and rocketed to second in the Investec Property Order of Merit after her third success at Fancourt. She has also spoken of her desire for a strong title defence, and will likely factor strongly this week.

Another good bet could be Gleneagles golfer Hannah McCook. Making her professional debut last week, the 25-year-old Scot contended strongly throughout the week before finally finishing an impressive tied third alongside Williams on one-over.

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