Gorlei sets sights on maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour title

Feb 15, 2022 | Featured, Sunshine Ladies Tour

Cara Gorlei is setting herself up nicely for a maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour victory, and she heads into the SuperSport Ladies Challenge which tees off on Wednesday at Gary Player Country Club.

She brings recent good form to the party with a share of fifth place at last week’s Dimension Data Ladies Challenge, and a share of second in the SunBet Cape Town Ladies Open the week before. In addition, she finished third in the Vodacom Origins series final for women at the end of January, and that was played on the challenging Gary Player Country Club layout.

In addition, the SuperSport Ladies Challenge has proved to be a fertile breeding ground for young players, with Nobuhle Dlamini in 2018 and Michaela Turner last year winning their maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour titles in the tournament. Scotland’s Jane Turner also won a maiden title there in 2019, although she wasn’t quite as young as the other two, as she as 31. Lejan Lewthwaite is also a recent young winner of the tournament, and that was her second Sunshine Ladies Tour victory.

Gorlei would love to add her name to that list, as well as to the list of more experienced players who have had their names engraved on the trophy: Monique Smit won in 2014, Lee-Anne Pace in 2015, Bertine Strauss in 2016 and Kim Williams in 2017.

Pace is back in South Africa for the tournament this year after a couple of good start to her 2022 Ladies European Tour campaign with a share of fifth in the Magical Kenya Ladies Open. The reigning Investec South African Women’s Open champion has 14 titles on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, and she spearheads a field that has been thrilled by the substantial jump in the prize fund.

The prize fund for the first four years was R200,000. It increased to R400,000 from 2018 to 2021 and this year, took a giant leap to R1.3-million, making it the third largest purse on the 2022 tour after the Joburg Ladies Open (€250,000) and Investec South African Women’s Open (€290,000). The other two events are co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour (LET), so as a pure Sunshine Ladies Tour event, it’s the richest.

There are other young players who could use a win at the SuperSport Ladies Challenge as a springboard to further success: Nadia van der Westhuizen is one. She won the SunBet Cape Town Open for her maiden title, and she had a top-20 finish last week in George with a share of 19th in the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge.

And there are other big-name players who have all the tools to pull off a victory: Chief amongst those is Paula Reto, visiting family back in South Africa ahead of getting back into action in the United States in the LPGA Tour.

With a bevy of local and foreign first-timers heading to Sun City this week, there is every chance that another rookie champion will use this event as springboard to international success. And Cara Gorlei is ready to make that leap.

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