SA women’s golf kicks off

Henry

South African women’s golf is blossoming with a record season that kicks off on Friday at Fancourt in George.

The local Sunshine Series for women this season comprises eight tournaments, two of which are presented in consultation with the European series.

Players will compete for prize money of more than R20 million.

There is also a possibility of a ninth tournament on the calendar at the end of March. A final announcement in this regard has yet to be made.

The new season kicks off on Friday in George with 44 local and international professional players who will compete with 44 amateurs on Fancourt in the Dimension Data pro-am tournament.

The women compete over 54 holes and will share Fancourt’s fairways with the Sunshine Series’ male stars.

The men’s tournament already starts on Thursday and an incredible 312 players will showcase their talents on the Montagu layout, as well as the Outeniqua course.

The women’s tournament’s shining star is the country’s most experienced money player Lee-Anne Pace.

The 42-year-old Pace boasts 23 tournament victories all over the world and was the leading player in the European series a decade ago.

She is a four-time winner of the SA Open and is still a force on the world’s fairways despite joint problems that have plagued her in recent years.

Three of South Africa’s top players, Ashleigh Buhai, Casandra Alexander and Nicole Garcia, are competing in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh, this week and unfortunately miss the opening match of the local season.

However, those three will be in action later in the season with Buhai who at this stage is ready to defend her SA Open title at the end of April at Erinvale.

Pace will battle it out with the likes of Nadia van der Westhuizen, Stacey Bregman, Kaleigh Taylor, Kiera Floyd, Cara Gorlei, Tandi McCallum and Lejan Lewthwaite, who are all proven winners and know what it takes to stand on the top step of the podium .

Furthermore, international champions such as Anne-Lisa Caudal of France, Bonita Bredenhann of Namibia, Romy Meekers of the Netherlands and the two Norwegian players Julie Boysen Hillestad and Michelle Forsland are all also formidable opponents and, like Pace, they will yearn for success on Fancourt.

The women compete on Fancourt for prize money of R2.5 million, which in any company is a very solid prize pot.

The full program for this year’s Sonskyn women’s series is (prize money in brackets):

February

16 to 18: Dimension Data pro-am on Fancourt (Montagu and Outeniqua courses) in George (R2.5 million).

21 to 23: SuperSport challenge tournament on Lost City track at Sun City (R1,3 million).

March

6 to 8: Sunshine Series Invitational Tournament at the Blue Valley Golf Estate in Centurion (R250 000).

13 to 15: Cape Town Open on Royal Cape in Wynberg (R600 000).

April

4 to 6: New tournament to be announced. It will be played on the Serengeti estate outside Kempton Park (R1,2 million).

10 to 12: Jabra Classic on Glendower in Edenvale (R1 million).

18 to 21: Joburg-Open on Modderfontein in Edenvale (€300 000 – almost R6.1 million).

25 to 28: SA Open on Erinvale estate in Somerset West (€320 000 – almost R6.5 million).

Additional information: Sunshine Tour