Entries Open for Sanlam Golf Champs

Sanlam entrant Gina Switala plays down the fairway.

Sanlam entrant Gina Switala plays down the fairway.

The entries for the Sanlam Women’s Amateur Golf Championship of South Africa 2008 have opened, and all enthusiasts are urged to come showcase their skills in the tournament scheduled to take place at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Course, Gauteng, from March 30 till April 4.

Women’s Golf South Africa tournament secretary, Paddy Goodwin, said that the entries are open to all amateur golfers affiliated to Women’s Golf South Africa, or any amateur golfer affiliated to a governing body recognised by WGSA, including amateur golfers from unions outside of the country.

The handicap limit is 18 for this event that showcases women’s golf in South Africa, and presents an opportunity for young golfers to cement their names at the top of the game in South Africa.

In the Sanlam Women’s Amateur Golf Championship of South Africa 2007, there were 95 in the Championship (9 and under) Division and 57 in the Abe Bailey (10 – 18 handicap) Division. Goodwin said, "With the improving standard and popularity and growth of women’s golf in all provinces, we are expecting an even bigger entry this year.

"The format of the event is that the girls will all play three 18-hole rounds of stroke play on Sunday 30 March, Monday 31 March and Tuesday1 April, and the top 32 in each division then proceed to the match play on Wednesday and Thursday, culminating in the final over 36 holes on Friday 4 April. 

Tournament secretary Paddy Goodwin names Bertine Strauss as among the favourites to take the 2008 title.

Tournament secretary Paddy Goodwin names Bertine Strauss as among the favourites to take the 2008 title.

"Last year’s Championship marked the end of an era in which many of the top juniors came of age and played in their last SA Amateur for a while, or for some, their last Amateur ever," said Goodwin. "This was particularly true of Ashleigh Simon, who has rewritten the record books as she rose to the top of her game, winning the stroke play event for four straight years, and picking up the match play trophy in three of those four years.

"She certainly took golf to another level, subsequently moving to the professional ranks on her 18th birthday in April 2007. Stroke play runner-up Kell Shean moved on to University in America, as did Iliska Verwey, and Tiffany Avern-Taplin".

This will be the fourth year that Sanlam have sponsored this premier event in the words of WGSA President Caroline Kettlewell, "Our thanks and credit must go to Sanlam’s Gary van Loggerenberg who ensures that from the time the official posters go up at clubs to the final prize table, nothing is left undone.

"Last year the prize table, filled with beautiful Carrol Boyes gifts, was surely the best ever in an amateur event. In addition, Sanlam sponsors the television coverage, without which WGSA would not be in a position to raise the profile of the women’s game in particular."

When asked about some of the some of the top names that are expected to participate this year, Goodwin said "This year’s event is wide open with all the top senior and junior South African golfers competing.

"These include Kim Williams (Gauteng North) and Nicole Becker (North West) who represented South Africa at The Spirit Tournament at Whispering Pines in Houston, Texas in October 2007; top juniors Dominique Jacobs (Western Province), Bertine Strauss (North West), Chloe Garner (Boland) and Chloe Garner (Southern Cape); as well as Mercia Pretorius (Gauteng), Tandi von Ruben (Gauteng) and Gina Switala (Gauteng North).

"The strongest challenge should come from Welsh golfer Breanne Loucks, a +2 handicapped player who was part of the winning team, Great Britain, at the 5 Nations Commonwealth tournament, also played at the same venue, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington (East) in May 2007. Entries are expected from across our borders include Namibia’s Bonnita Bredenhann and Trazinah Marudu from Botswana."


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