South African teen sensation, Ashleigh Simon carded an opening round 5 over par 77 at the Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes, on a day when a host of top names struggled, including Evian Masters winner, Karrie Webb.
Simon, competing her first golfing major, teed off just after 4:15pm yesterday. Her round of 77 included two birdies, nine pars, and seven birdies.
Chief Executive of the Women’s World Cup of Golf, Tania Fourie, says: “This is a great feat for South Africa … Finally we have another player coming through onto the international stage, to follow in the footsteps of Sally Little and Laurette Maritz.
“Ash will be a great ambassador for South African golf as well as for the World Cup. I am so excited for her and her future in this game. Ash has showed a great deal of dedication to her game and its really fitting that she walks onto that 1st tee this week from and representing South Africa….Good Luck Ashleigh, I am rooting for you!.”
South African golfing great, Sally Little, was equally complimentary. “It gives me great pleasure to see Ashleigh making such progress and for South African women’s golf to realize that our young players really need financial support to go and pursue their dreams.
“International competition is vital for Ashleigh’s growth I am sure that together with me South Africa will watch her performance with pride as she tees it up with Laurette in her first British Open.
“This week is sure to be an experience that Ashleigh will carry with her for a lifetime,” said Little.
Simon’s successes have also caught the eye of the South African media, who are now following her progress with great interest.
Seasoned golf journalist, Michael Vlismas, says "Ashleigh has long been tipped as the next best thing for women’s golf in South Africa. But this year will be a major turning point for her.
“She has already claimed the international amateur victory she has wanted for so long, and now she’s playing in the Women’s British Open,” said Vlismas.
“South Africa has long known of her potential. But by the end of 2006, women’s golf worldwide will be keenly aware of this young talent from down South."
gsport wishes Ashleigh all the best for her second round, teeing off just after 11:15am.