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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (14 March 2020) – Alice Hewson could not have wished for a better start to launch her professional career on the Ladies European Tour. On a warm and tranquil Saturday in the City of Cape Town, the 22-year-old rookie from Hemel Hempstead in England lifted the Investec South African Women’s Open title in her first start, coming from behind to triumph by a shot.

2020 ISAWO AliceHewson winner

Alice Weston from England won the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open by one shot at Westlake Golf Club in her Ladies European Tour debut. PHOTO – credit Sunshine Ladies Tour 

“It feels absolutely incredible and it really is a dream come true. I don’t have words, really. Growing up as a kid, all I could ever dream of was playing on the Ladies European Tour and to win in my first event is just indescribable,” said Hewson, who turned professional in September and finished fifth at LET Q-School in January.

“This has definitely happened a lot quicker than I thought it would. I was hoping to get off to a nice steady start, but this is definitely a good thing!”

Hewson lagged three strokes off the pace from the overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany at the start of the final day.

She sacrificed a birdie at the first hole with a bogey on the third, but she quickly clawed back the gain on the five-under-par. She entered a four-way share of the lead after nine holes and then took pole position after all three players in the final group bogeyed the 10th hole.

With a bogey of her own on the 11th, Hewson dropped back into a share of the lead, but then broke away from the pack when she holed a 20-footer for birdie on the par five 13th.

From that point until the closing hole, no-one could catch her.

What could have turned into disaster for a lesser player turned into triumph after Hewson found the trees with her tee shot on the 18th.

Her second shot hit some branches, causing the ball to drop back down into the rough, but she played a gutsy chip shot up to the green and then holed a seven foot putt for par to complete a round of 71, ending on five-under-par.

“The 18th was a highlight because I was still in trouble after my third shot, and the other highlight of my round was the long putt I sunk on 13,” said the 2019 European Ladies’ Amateur Champion. “Most of the week my putting has been very good, and my driving. I just went out there to play my own game. This golf course can play pretty tough and it’s going to give some shots back to you so I tried to keep my game super steady and make some birdies.”

When asked if she was concerned about whether the tournament should have been played, given the Coronavirus pandemic, Hewson replied: “I think it was definitely the right decision that we continued playing this week and it’s also the right decision that future tournaments have been cancelled. Everyone was already here and there is a very low risk here so it was nice to be able to play some golf, because we don’t know how long it’s going to be now before we will again.”

South Africa’s Monique Smit recorded a career best finish on the LET when she holed a clutch putt for par at the last for a round of 71 to share second with Sweden’s Emma Nilsson.

2020 ISAWO MoniqueSmit InvestecOoMwinner

South Africa’s Monique Smit sealed the 2020 Investec Order of Merit title with a joint runner-up finish in the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club.  PHOTO – credit Sunshine Ladies Tour 

Smit, who claimed the final card on offer at the LET Q-School in Spain in January when she edged out three players in a sudden-death play-off, not only bagged R276 000 for her joint runner-up finish, but also edged out Stacy Bregman for the R100 000 bonus that came with winning the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Investec Order of Merit.

“Right now, this is very surreal. Standing over the final putt, I knew I had to hole it and I just felt extremely confident. That one putt earned me my travel money for the year,” said the Oubaai golfer.

“We lost mom last year and in every tournament this season, I’ve thought of her. She caddied for me in every season of the Sunshine Ladies Tour since it launched in 2014. Today, standing over that final putt, I really felt her. That putt was for my mom.”

Scotland’s Kelsey MacDonald, Manon de Roey from Belgium and Manon Gidali from France tied for fourth, while overnight leader Olivia Cowan from Germany tied for seventh.

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley was the only amateur to survive the cut to 60 and ties and was the proud recipient of the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur. The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad member and Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation carded a final round 75 to tie for 46th.

2020 ISAWO KaiyureeMoodley AmateurWinner

Former Youth Olympian Kaiyuree Moodley claimed the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur – and only amateur to make the cut – in the 2020 Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club. PHOTO – credit Sunshine Ladies Tour 

Final Result

211 - Alice Hewson (ENG) 70 70 71
212 - Monique Smit 70 71 71, Emma Nilsson (SWE) 69 72 71
213 - Manon Gidali (FRA) 72 72 69, Manon De Roey (BEL) 75 68 70, Kelsey Macdonald (SCO) 70 70 73
214 - Agathe Sauzon (FRA) 72 72 70, Julia Engstrom (SWE) 71 72 71, Emily Pedersen (DEN) 73 70 71, Maha Haddioui (MAR) 72 71 71, Meghan MacLaren (ENG) 73 69 72, Valdis Thora Jonsdottir (ISL) 72 70 72, Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso (ITA) 69 71 74, Olivia Cowan (GER) 69 68 77
215 - Ashleigh Buhai 70 73 72
216 - Lejan Lewthwaite 73 74 69, Johanna Gustavsson (SWE) 73 73 70
217 - Laura Fuenfstueck (GER) 70 75 72, Lee-Anne Pace 71 73 73, Mireia Prat (ESP) 71 73 73, Karolin Lampert (GER) 78 71 68
218 - Hannah McCook (SCO) 73 72 73, Jane Turner (SCO) 74 70 74, Maria Hernandez (ESP) 73 71 74
219 - Casandra Hall 72 76 71, Anna Magnusson (SWE) 75 71 73, Tiia Koivisto (FIN) 72 74 73
220 - Karoline Lund (NOR) 77 70 73, Sian Evans (ENG) 73 73 74
221 - Laura Gomez Ruiz (ESP) 77 70 74, Becky Brewerton (WAL) 76 72 73, Stacy Bregman 74 75 72, Maiken Bing Paulsen (NOR) 73 77 71
222 - Lina Boqvist (SWE) 72 75 75, Eun-Jung Ji (ESP) 73 72 77, Sideri Vanova (CZE) 72 77 73, Nicole Garcia 69 80 73, Leticia Ras-Anderica (GER) 73 77 72
223 - Leonie Harm (GER) 74 74 75, Patricia Sanz Barrio (ESP) 73 73 77, Rachel Rossel (SUI) 70 75 78, Carolin Kauffmann (GER) 73 76 74, Magdalena Simmermacher (ARG) 71 79 73, Hayley Davis (ENG) 78 72 73, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ) 75 75 73
224 - Sarah Schober (AUT) 73 74 77, Charlotte Thompson (ENG) 75 73 76, Tvesa Malik (IND) 73 75 76, Maria Beautell (ESP) 73 76 75, Valentine Derrey (FRA) 75 74 75, Michele Thomson (SCO) 72 77 75, Kaiyuree Moodley AMA 74 75 75, Linda Wessberg (SWE) 74 76 74, Ivanna Samu 78 72 74, Sarina Schmidt (GER) 74 76 74, Inci Mehmet (ENG) 75 75 74
225 - Mimmi Bergman (SWE) 72 75 78, Morgane Metraux (SUI) 73 75 77, Annelie Sjoholm (SWE) 73 73 79, Alison Muirhead (SCO) 76 73 76, Astrid Vayson De Pradenne (FRA) 76 73 76, Cara Gorlei 75 75 75
226 - Elia Folch (ESP) 76 74 76, Isabelle Boineau (FRA) 72 78 76
227 - Georgina Blackman (ENG) 78 71 78
228 - Kim Williams 73 76 79, Carmen Alonso (ESP) 75 74 79
229 - Camille Chevalier (FRA) 72 75 82, Christina Gloor (SUI) 74 75 80, Chloe Williams (WAL) 76 74 79
231 - Caroline Rominger (SUI) 78 72 81

 

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

SOWETO, 28 February 2020 – Monique Smit claimed an emotional fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title at the Joburg Ladies Open, where she tapped in for par at the final hole to emerge from an enthralling finale with a one-shot victory.

2020JLO Crop MoniqueSmit 3

George golfer Monique Smit claimed her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour title with a one-shot victory in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club. Credit Sunshine Ladies Tour. 

Almost exactly a month ago, the South African won a four-way play-off to clinch the 20th and final card on offer for the 2020 Ladies European Tour season at the final stage of the LET Qualifying School in Spain.

The 28-year-old George golfer brought that same big match temperament to Soweto Country Club on the final day to edge out overnight leader Sideri Vanova with a one-under-par 71 to triumph on one-under 217.

Vanova from the Czech Republic started the day with a seven shot advantage, but the Oubaai golfer started to close the gap in impressive fashion with birdies at the second and third holes.

“I hit a solid 8-iron straight at the pin, four feet short of the hole and boxed the putt for birdie,” said Smit. “On third, I managed to get it on for two. It should have dropped for eagle, but just slipped past and I had a tap-in birdie.”

Smit bounced back from a double bogey on the fourth with another gain on the par four fifth and countered a drop on the eight with a birdie on nine to turn one-under.

“The fourth was just an oops on the scorecard. On five, I took a lesser club and hit it hard and I got a favourable kick on to the upper tier of the green and holed a beautiful 15-footer for birdie. And I made another solid birdie on nine to keep the momentum going.”

Vanova – chasing a career first victory in her debut on the South African women’s professional golf circuit – aided Smit’s challenge when she dropped five shots on the outward loop.

With her lead cut to just one shot, the Czech golfer started the back nine with five straight pars, but Smit matched her shot for shot, including answering Vanova’s birdie on the par four 15th with one of her own.

“The birdie on 15 was a super lucky one. I hit a good 3-wood down the fairway and I took a three-quarter wedge into the green because we had a bit if wind from behind. I started it out a fraction to the right and I got such a good member’s bounce. It stopped five feet from the pin, and I knocked it in to stay one shot behind Sideri.”

Both players had just hit their second shots into the 16th when play was suspended for dangerous conditions.

A heavy 60-minute downpour during the nearly three hour suspension had left the firm greens a little more receptive, but the already penalising rough absolutely brutal. Smit made a superb par from the back of the green, while Vanova failed to capitalise on a 12 footer for birdie on 16.

“Sideri took on the pin on 17 (par three). She overshot the green and caught a bad bounce that left her in the trees. She dropped another shot and I made a good par to level the score,” Smit said.

On 18, the 30-year-old Czech paid the price of an errant drive when she leaked her tee shot left into the rough. Smit’s percentage golf earned her a share of the lead on the penultimate hole and a cautious 3-wood off the tee on the final hole set her up for the win.

“The rough had been so punishing on a dry day, but with the rain it was like chewing gum. Sideri hit her second shot with absolutely everything she had, but she only advanced it a few metres. She hit a magnificent third out of the rough, though and was about 15 feet short right of the pin,” Smit explained.

“I was well behind her with the 3-wood off the tee and had the advantage of going first. I just wanted to find the putting surface when I saw her in the rough. I lagged my first putt to half a foot and she nearly holed her putt. Unfortunately it pulled up short and I had the par putt for the win.”

Smit was visibly emotional in a post-round interview and dedicated the victory to her mom Rejeanne, who passed away last year. “Mom was always on the bag over six seasons on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. She was on the bag for my first win in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am in 2014 and she shared in all my great moments and the not-so-great ones,” said the 28-year-old.

“She was my best friend and my biggest supporter and the hardest thing I ever had to do was to lay my mom to rest. To come into the final day with a seven-shot deficit was nothing compared to that. I could hear her tell me just give an extra 10% and I did that today.

“I tried to win the Joburg Ladies Open for four years, and finally Bongi Mokaba from the City of Joburg has given me the trophy. I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result.

I am so proud of the way I achieved it. Soweto Country Club demands respect and rewards it, and that is what I did for 54 holes. I stayed true to my game plan to hit fairways and greens and to show the course respect. I’m absolutely over the moon with this result.

“I want to congratulate Sideri on a wonder start to her season. Her smile never wavered, no matter what happened out there and she is a wonderful ambassador for the game, a great example to other pros and a fantastic role model for the youth. I’m sure we will be seeing more of her in the next two weeks.”

Vanova closed with a round of 78 to seal a runner-up finish, while Stacy Bregman took third on six-over with her final round 73. Fourteen-year-old Stephanie Barbaglia won the leading amateur prize. The Bryanston golfer carded rounds of 73, 79 and 76 to tie for seventh.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour travels to Glendower Golf Club next week for the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, where the international field will fight it out for the winner’s share and a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour from 4-6 March.

This is the penultimate event before the season wraps up with Investec SA Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club from 12-14 March.

The Sunshine Ladies Tour showpiece, co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour and the Women’s PGA of South Africa, boasts a €200 000 prize fund and the winner not only earns exemption on the Ladies European Tour until the end of 2021, but will tee it up in two Majors this year – the AIG British Women’s Open and the Evian Championship.

Final Result

(All competitors RSA unless otherwise stated and amateurs are indicated AMA)
217 - Monique Smit 71 76 70
218 - Sideri Vanova (CZE) 69 71 78
222 - Stacy Bregman 74 75 73
225 - Jane Turner (SCO) 72 78 75, Kim Williams 73 75 77
226 - Tara Griebenow 75 74 77
228 - Stephanie Barbaglia AMA 73 79 76, Nicole Garcia 78 77 73, Bonita Bredenhann (NAM) 77 75 76, Mimmi Bergman (SWE) 75 75 78, Lejan Lewthwaite 73 76 79, Sharmila Nicollet (IND) 76 73 79
229 - Michaela Fletcher 77 77 75, Caroline Rominger (SUI) 75 78 76, Ivanna Samu 76 75 78
230 - Jessica Dreesbeimdieke (NAM) 78 78 74, Tandi McCallum 79 77 74, Lindi Coetzee 76 72 82, Zhen Bontan (NED) 76 72 82
231 - Casandra Hall 76 78 77, Woo-Ju Son (KOR) 74 79 78
232 - Maria Beautell (ESP) 70 83 79, Bianca Lohbauer AMA 80 74 78, Zethu Myeki 78 77 77, Christina Gloor (SUI) 76 76 80, Lenanda van der Watt 75 76 81, Hayley Davis (ENG) 77 79 76, Flora Peuch (FRA) 80 76 76
233 - Cara Gorlei 77 78 78, Brittney-Fay Berger 79 77 77, Emie Peronnin (FRA) 75 81 77
235 - Alexandra Bonetti (FRA) 74 81 80, Marion Duvernay (FRA) 79 77 79, Kelsey Nicholas 80 76 79
236 - Catherine Lau 77 78 81, Rachael Goodall (ENG) 78 78 80
238 - Rachel Rossel (SUI) 76 78 84

 

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