|South African Tandi Cuningham, the event champion in 2009
The Ladies European Tour resumes this week with the South African Women’s Open, being played at Selborne Park Golf Club in KwaZulu-Natal from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th July.
The country’s leading professionals will compete against a strong international field thanks to the collaboration between the LET and the Women’s Professional Golf Association of South Africa.
The LET has made great strides growing the game around the world and is pleased to finally return to South Africa for the first time since the Women’s World Cup of Golf in 2008, especially since the country is such a hot-bed of golfing talent.
The South African professionals on the LET are always highly competitive and exemplary ambassadors for the game and their country.
South Africa will be represented by 15 Women’s Professional Golf Association professionals, including LET regulars Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Simon, Stacy Lee Bregman, Tandi Cuningham, Connie Chen, Morgana Robbertze, Laurette Maritz and Monique Smit, plus six leading amateurs.
Former champions in the field include Laurette Maritz, (1989 and 1996); Tandi Cuningham (2009) and England’s Rebecca Hudson (2006).
Germany’s Caroline Masson is the top ranked player in the field at fourth on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit and despite having recorded 14 top 10 finishes since she joined the Ladies European Tour in 2010, she is still waiting for her first victory.
Masson recorded back-to-back runner-up finishes at the Allianz Ladies Slovak Open followed by a tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Ladies Swiss Open, where she lost to Carly Booth in a play-off. She also tied for sixth at the Deloitte Ladies Open in Holland.
Other highly ranked players in the field include the UniCredit Ladies German Open champion Anne-Lise Caudal from France, last year’s Lacoste Ladies Open de France winner Felicity Johnson and former Solheim Cup players Gwladys Nocera of France and Welsh star Becky Brewerton.
Australia’s Lindsey Wright heads to South Africa as a campaigner on the LPGA Tour for the past eight years and a winner on the Ladies European Tour in New Zealand in February this year. Other international players to watch include England’s Florentyna Parker and Italian Stefania Croce.
The 2012 tournament will be played over 54 holes at Selborne Park Golf Club, with the leading South African professionals competing against an international field for total prize money of €260,000. The field will consist of 84 players, with a cut to the leading 60 professionals and ties after two rounds. World Sports Promotions are the new promoters and commercial rights owners, with the support of the KwaZulu-Natal local government and the Hibiscus Coast Municipality.
The reclamation of South Africa’s oldest women’s professional golf tournament on the international women’s golf circuit is an exciting development for all concerned and should provide an incredible boost for the province.