Stacy Bregman and Dean Burmester led a dozen South African golfers in a historic first round when the European Tour and Ladies European Tour teed off simultaneously at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam golf course in Morocco on Thursday.
Sunshine Ladies Tour campaigners Bregman, Nicole Garcia, Laurette Maritz and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini started alongside Connie Chen in the Lalla Meryem Cup on the Blue Course while Burmester spearheaded the local attack in the Trophée Hassan II on the Red Course.
Sunshine Tour stalwarts Ulrich van den Berg, Jean Hugo and Justin Walters and the hungry young Turks Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Zander Lombard, Dylan Frittelli and Thriston Lawrence complete the South African line-up in Rabat.
This marked the first time that the two Tours came together at the same venue and the concept might be novel for the Europeans, but it’s nothing the South Africans haven’t experienced before.
‘We’ve played the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour annual Chase to the Investec Cups at the same venues for the last three years, so South Africa definitely set the global trend for this concept,’ said Bregman.
‘It’s always a hoot to be at the same venue as the guys. We swap tips, compare shots and have a great time grassing each other. It’s really good for women’s golf to share a venue with the men and use the opportunity to showcase our talent to a much wider audience.
‘We’ve had a lot of fun in the past couple of days to catch up and we’ve all been saying that it would really be something if South Africans could win both titles in this historic week – wouldn’t that be something!’
Meanwhile the ‘Road to Rio’ goes through Prattville, Alabama with South Africa’s top ranked Lee-Anne Pace among 28 players representing 20 countries that are in the running for Olympic qualification competing in the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic this week.
Compatriots Paula Reto, rookie Bertine Strauss and Ashleigh Simon – coming off a tie for 23rd in last week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout – will join the action in the $1.3-million event at the Senator Course, one of the three 18-hole championship courses in Capitol Hill on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail.
Picture of Bregman by Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images