Stacy Bregman jetted into the Mother City for this week’s Cape Town Ladies Open riding a wave of confidence after a one-two start to her 2018 Sunshine Ladies Tour season.
And a determined Lee-Anne Pace will be hunting a trophy after illness derailed her Joburg Ladies Open last week.
However, both former champions could come under pressure when the Cape Town Ladies Open tees off at Royal Cape Golf Club on Tuesday.
Several international players showed great form in the first two events, including Carrie Park from South Korea, who claimed her rookie title in the SA Women’s Masters at Rondebosch Golf Club last year, and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini.
Canon Ladies Tshwane Open champion Bregman is currently second in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but Park and Dlamini are fourth and fifth respectively, while Alexandra Lennartsson from Sweden is tucked just behind Pace in sixth on the Points List.
Lennartsson was buoyant after a tie for fifth in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open and joint sixth in the Joburg Lades Open.
‘These were my best two results since I started coming to South Africa and I feel confident starting this week,’ said the lanky blonde from Nykopings near Stockholm, who tied for 16th and 19th in her previous two Cape Town Ladies Open starts.
‘This year feel like I’ve brought a game that can compete. ‘You need a bit more club at sea level, but the course is not too long and, after two tournaments, I feel like I know where to hit and where to miss and that comes with experience. The mountain, the sea, the course – it’s all so beautiful. I think that they have done a great job to prepare the course for us, given the water problems in Cape Town and I’m just excited to get started. I’m feeling very positive this week.’
Compatriot Hanna Roos has also returned for a third season.
The 29-year-old from Uppsala recorded a career-best Sunshine Ladies Tour finish with a 13th place finish at Modderfontein Golf Club last Friday and is also counting on experience to move her towards a first visit to the winner’s circle.
‘I was 31st in my first year and 21st last year, so I’m moving in the right direction,’ said Roos. ‘After last week, I’m hoping for a top 10, maybe even a win.’
Meanwhile, bubbly Nastja Banovec – the first-ever Slovenian golfer to debut on the Sunshine Ladies Tour – is having a ball on her first visit to South Africa.
The former Paul Lawrie Invitational champion joined the pro ranks in 2017 and competed in eight events on the European Ladies Tour Access Series. She was disappointed to miss the cut in the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open, but a strong performance on the back nine at Modderfontein saw her surge to joint 18th on the final leaderboard.
‘I’ve heard about the Sunshine Ladies Tour from the girls on the LET Access Series and a bunch of us decided to come out this year and travel together,’ said the Otočec golfer (pictured above).
‘It’s 15 degrees below zero back home and there’s snow everywhere, so you can imagine how much we are enjoying the sunny weather. We’ve come here to learn and improve and I’ve already learned so much in two tournaments.
‘The course in Pretoria was really tight and full of trees, but my course management was poor. I didn’t make a great start at Modderfontein and I just made the cut, but I had a really solid final round. I had 10 one-putts and I chipped in for a 72. Now I’m excited to start Cape Town.’
Durbanville amateur Jordan Rothman will lead the local challenge alongside fellow Western Province amateurs Tara Griebenow from Bellville, Zayb Fredericks from Royal Cape, Katia Schaff from Clovelly and Stellenbosch golfer Bianca Wernich.
The 15-year-old Rothman hit the headlines last year when she ousted SA’s number one-ranked Kajal Mistry in the first round of the Sanlam Womens Amateur Match Play Championship and was one of the anchors for the victorious Western Province team in the SA Womens Inter-Provincial.
Rothman also stunned recently when she upstaged the male juniors to qualify for the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series Final.
Main picture of Lennartsson and Banovec courtesy of Sunshine Ladies Tour.