Nicole Garcia can barely wait for the Cape Town Ladies Open to get underway at Royal Cape Golf Club on Wednesday when the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season launches in Cape Town.
The eighth season of the tour gets underway at the oldest golf club in South Africa from 7-9 April, and the field will be competing for the lion’s share of the R200,000 prize fund and trying to set an early marker on the season-long Investec Order of Merit race.
“Six weeks, six events, more than six-million in prize money and a load of amazing incentives – you bet we are champing at the bit to get going,” said Garcia.
A three-time winner on Africa’s premier women’s professional golf circuit, Garcia missed a full season in 2019 due to hip surgery. She had high hopes of making a comeback last year, but the global COVID-19 pandemic put paid to her plans.
“The last 12 months has been frustrating, especially for the Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigners,” she said. “South Africa went into the level five lockdown shortly after the Investec South African Women’s Open and the LET also pressed pause on their 2020 schedule until August.
“With the long breaks between events and trying to work around all the travel restrictions, the season was really a write-off for most of us. That’s why we all are so eager to push the reset button.
“We are incredibly blessed that the Sunshine Ladies Tour sponsors and partners are backing us in these trying times. The Sunshine Ladies Tour tagline this season is ‘level up’ and it is certainly the right time for all of us to embrace that and take things to the next level.”
The Sunshine Ladies Tour’s most prolific winner Lee-Anne Pace will headline the field in the season-opener in the Mother City. The LPGA champion will be chasing an unprecedented fourth Cape Town Ladies Open title, having won the event in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Other players on the watch list include LET campaigners Stacy Bregman, Casandra Hall and eSwatini standout Nobuhle Dlamini, Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Jane Turner from Scotland and France’s Anne-Lise Caudal and rising stars Ivanna Samu, Zethu Myeki, Cara Gorlei, Michaela Fletcher and Tara Griebenow.
By Lali Stander