Tandi McCallum: Experience Key in Windy Cape Town Ladies Open

3 Febuary 2022 Tandi McCallum during round 2 of the Sun Bet Cape Town Ladiers Open 2022, at the Royal Cape Golf Club.

She has a wealth of experience under her belt, and South Africa’s Tandi McCallum knows she will need it all when she tees off in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Cape Town Ladies Open at Atlantic Beach Links on Wednesday, 15 February 2023.

McCallum finished in a share of second in last year’s tournament played at Royal Cape Golf Club, and, while Cape winds blow all over the peninsula, the narrow Atlantic Beach just out of the city up the west coast will present a completely different challenge with winds forecast of over 40 kilometres per hour for every day of the tournament.

McCallum, who won the 2009 South African Women’s Open and the 2014 Sun International Ladies Challenge on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, as well as two Vodacom Origins of Golf events last year, also knows that the wind won’t be the only challenge facing the players.

“We played Fancourt last week, where the courses were soft and receptive after rain in George,” said McCallum, who came 11th in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am there. “Before that, we played Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, where there had also been a lot of rain. I’ve just teed off for a practice round at Atlantic Beach, and this course is not like that at all. It’s fast and firm, and the ball is going to run a long way.

“I’m also not sure how the players who are unfamiliar with it are going to deal with the fynbos here,” she added of the course where the local
indigenous vegetation lines almost all of the fairways and greens and is all but impossible to escape if you go into it.

“With the wind up too, players can’t afford to try and do things like hit it harder to compensate. Extra spin means the ball will just balloon off
course, and you could be in a world of trouble. Club selection becomes critical, and there is almost never any point in trying to take a cheeky
line here and there. Bogey will often be a good score this week, and players need to just understand that and accept it.

“There is quite a big contingent of overseas players in the tournament,” McCallum remarked of the 61 players from outside South Africa in the 88-player field, “and many of them might be quite at home in the wind.”

Chief amongst those is likely to be the current Sunshine Tour Ladies Order of Merit leader, Lily May Humphreys of England. With finishes of third and fourth to her name in the opening two tournaments of the season, she has looked a likely winner throughout.

Other contenders to watch with some serious skills in the wind is Cape golfer Isabella van Rooyen, who claimed her maiden pro title in the Standard Bank Series at Atlantic Beach Links last year, and defending champion Nadia van der Westhuizen, who came from four shots behind to win the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape by one shot in her rookie season last year.

In the end, though, it might all be down to experience when it comes to the final nine holes on Friday. “I’ve played many events at the coast in South Africa,” said McCallum, “and I know what to expect. You have to be ready for what the wind and the course can throw at you.”

Photo 1 Caption: Former SA Women’s Open champion Tandi McCallum. Photo: Sunshine Ladies Tour

With editing by gsport

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