Reto un­able to at­tend SA Women’s Open

CityPress - - Sport - PULE MOKHINE pmokhine@city­press.co.za

South Africa’s Olympian fe­male golfer, Paula Reto, will miss the SA Women’s Open be­cause of a sched­ule clash with the Ladies PGA (LPGA) tour.

The Open is sched­uled to tee off at San Lameer Coun­try Club on KwaZu­luNatal’s south coast on Jan­uary 26.

Reto was one of the sport­ing greats who par­tic­i­pated in the Gary Player In­vi­ta­tional char­ity tour­na­ment, which took place at the Lost City Golf Club in Sun City in North West two weeks ago.

Cape Town-born Reto, who plays un­der the US-based LPGA, ex­pressed re­gret at be­ing un­able to at­tend, say­ing it was im­pos­si­ble for her to do so.

“I would have loved to com­pete in the 2017 Open, but my sched­ule in the US will be hec­tic as I will be com­pet­ing at the Pure Silk Ba­hamas LPGA Clas­sic, at Par­adise Is­land in The Ba­hamas, on Jan­uary 28,” said Reto.

The Open, founded in 1988 by the Women’s Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion, is one of the premier events on the Ladies Euro­pean Tour.

Reto (26), who fin­ished tied 30th in the Open in 2014, added: “Many tal­ented lo­cal play­ers will be play­ing in that tour­na­ment, and it would have been great to com­pete against them.”

Reto and Ash­leigh Si­mon rep­re­sented South Africa at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in Au­gust, but were elim­i­nated in the early rounds.

SA Women’s Open tour­na­ment pro­moter Les­ley Cope­man said: “Many fans would have loved to see Paula in ac­tion at home. It is a pity she won’t be here. But at least Ash­leigh will be play­ing in the event.”

Cope­man added that the coun­try’s top golf­ing ex­port, de­fend­ing cham­pion Lee-Anne Pace, would com­pete as she hoped to win the na­tional cham­pi­onship for a record third time.

Tandi Cun­ning­ham and UK golfer Re­becca Hud­son had also en­tered.

Cope­man was hope­ful that the re­main­ing top lo­cal play­ers, as well as a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional con­tes­tants, would en­ter to com­pete by the clos­ing date of Jan­uary 10.

PHOTO: ROSS KINNAIRD / GETTY IMAGES

AB­SENT Paula Reto will miss the 2017 SA Women’s Open in Jan­uary as she will be com­pet­ing on the LPGA tour

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