PURSES FOR SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR ARE TOO LOW

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Gallery -

Iwatched the fi­nal nine holes of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape.

First the good news: The golf was fan­tas­tic. When I ar­rived, Ash­leigh Si­mon (now Buhai) had a six-shot lead on Lee-Anne Pace. Six holes later the lead was zero. Game on!

Ash­leigh birdied No 16 to go one up, only to see Lee-Anne birdie 18 to force a play­off. Ash­leigh then birdied the first play­off hole to win the tour­na­ment. The ladies were very friendly to the spec­ta­tors and the end was as good a “match­play-like fi­nale” as you would ever see.

The bad news: The fi­nal round of a his­toric town’s open was played on a Thurs­day morn­ing in three­balls, for a purse of R200 000 in front of about 20 spec­ta­tors. What a pity. I don’t know what the an­swer is, but some­one must find a way to make our ladies’ golf more sus­tain­able. Maybe Louis or Ernie can stop open­ing restau­rants and de­sign­ing wine la­bels, and pump some money into ladies’ golf?

A friend of mine, Le­jan Lewth­waite, came sev­enth on two-un­der-par in the windy con­di­tions and earned R6 940. Sub­tract travel, cad­die and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs and she will be pay­ing in. Kem West­dyk, Stel­len­bosch

We are for­tu­nate to have a Sunshine Ladies Tour go­ing again, so I would think the play­ers were happy to have as many as nine 54-hole tour­na­ments in an 11-week pe­riod. The prize­money could be per­ceived as be­ing low (about R2 mil­lion out­side the Chase to In­vestec Cup) com­pared to what the men are earn­ing on the Sunshine Tour, yet this is mar­ket-re­lated for a fledg­ling mini-tour that is there to pro­vide com­pet­i­tive golf for mainly as­pi­rant pro­fes­sion­als. It builds ex­pe­ri­ence for young pros be­fore they ven­ture over­seas. It’s cer­tainly not a tour from which you can earn a sus­tain­able in­come, un­less you hap­pen to win half the events. The good news for the Sunshine Ladies Tour is that star play­ers like Lee-Anne Pace and Ash­leigh Buhai are sup­port­ing it most weeks; other­wise some of the spon­sor­ships might be lost.

Ash­leigh Buhai gets a bucket shower af­ter win­ning the Cape Town Ladies Open.

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