PURSES FOR SUNSHINE LADIES TOUR ARE TOO LOW
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.