The Ladies Tshwane Open teed off at Zwartkop Country Club on Tuesday boasting a purse of R400 000, thanks to the support of the City of Tshwane, the business community of Tshwane and various sponsors from the private sector.
The prize money increase was announced at the pro-am prize giving on Monday evening by councillor Nontshikelo Mokhoto, the MMC for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture, on behalf of City of Tshwane Executive Mayor, councillor Solly Msimanga.
Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan welcomed the news.
‘Following the success of the Ladies Tshwane Open on the Sunshine Ladies Tour over the last three years, various sponsors from the private sector and the business community of Tshwane decided to partner with the City of Tshwane,’ Nathan said.
‘Their support reduced the cost of the event for the City of Tshwane and subsequently, the prize money has been raised to R400 000 this year. This investment reflects very positively on the tour’s growth and is another memorable milestone for the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
‘The overall prize money in our first season was R1.75-million and this year, our players are competing for more than R4-million over nine events. The growth year-on-year is down to the support shown by Investec, the City of Tshwane and our other sponsors and their continued commitment bodes well for the growth and development of the ladies professional circuit.’
Nathan added that the tagline for the Ladies Tshwane Open – It’s more than just golf – captures the essence of the Sunshine Ladies Tour perfectly.
‘The Ladies Tshwane Open – like all the tournaments on the Sunshine Ladies Tour – is a platform to nurture and develop amateur talent and a stage where the country’s top players can come to showcase their talent and inspire the next generation,’ he said.
‘These tournaments represent the first step for our up-and-coming amateurs in their journey to the pro ranks. It provides a truly competitive stage where they can gain experience while testing themselves against top local and international competitors.’
Defending champion Monique Smit leads the field alongside reigning Chase to Investec Cup for Ladies leader Carrie Park and top ranked Lee-Anne Pace, coming off a hat-trick of titles in the SA Women’s Open.
The 2017 champion will receive the lion share of the purse worth R56 000 and will bank 520 points in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies. The Ladies Tshwane Open will be played from 31 January to 2 February and entry is free for spectators.
By Lali Stander
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