WPGA breaks new ground with Sunshine Ladies Tour
The Womens PGA of South Africa (WPGA) has entered a new era in women's professional golf in South Africa with the launch of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
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The tour will kick off in February 2014 with a series of six qualifying tournaments and culminate in the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies. The leading 10 professionals at the end of the series would also qualify for the prestigious finale to be played from March 20 to 23.
It was a giant step for women’s professional golf in South Africa, WPGA chairman Margie Whitehouse said.
“Women’s professional golf in South Africa was in a wasteland since 2009, but the return of the South African Women’s Open as a Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned event in April 2012, sparked a revival in the sport,” Whitehouse said.
“When the new WPGA board was incorporated in October 2012, we acknowledged that our members and aspirant professionals were being forced to seek a competitive platform abroad.” The six qualifying events would be 36-hole tournaments carrying a prize fund of R100,000 each while the cup finale would pay out R300 000.
Dates and venues were still to be advised. Whitehouse confirmed the SA Women’s Open 2014 edition would be a 72-hole event at San Lameer Golf Estate from October 16-19.
“We hope to secure sponsorship to offer one or two more events, because this would not only to make the trip to South Africa an even more attractive option for the world’s top players, but would create a fantastic opportunity for our local players to gain invaluable experience against international players.
“It will also excite and encourage our young golfers and cultivate a whole new focus for women’s golf in South Africa. With strong support from the corporate sector, we believe this can be achieved and we can build the Sunshine Ladies Tour into a strong, international Tour over the years.”