San Lameer Country Club is relishing its return to world-class professional golf when it hosts the 2014 Cell C South African Women’s Open from 16-19 October.
The club, a former venue on the men’s Sunshine Tour and the prestigious South African Masters, has embarked on extensive renovations of the clubhouse as part of the Cell C South African Women’s Open’s vision to keep improving the golf infrastructure on the Hibiscus South Coast.
“It’s an honour for us to host such a historic tournament and be part of the resurgence of women’s professional golf in South Africa,” said Pine Pienaar, Managing Director of San Lameer Estate.
“This is such an exciting time for the women’s game, and we consider it a major coup to be the home of the flagship event of the South African women’s game,” added Pienaar.
The 72-hole tournament, which boasts an increased purse of €30 000 this year, has once again secured the support of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, Hibiscus Coast Municipality and Ugu South Coast Tourism.
“We are extremely proud to have played a role over the last few years in the growth of the South African Women’s Open as the premier women’s golf tournament in the country,” said Michael Mabuyakhulu, KZN MEC for Economic Development and Tourism.
“KwaZulu-Natal has established itself as an international golf destination of choice, with major tournaments coming to these fairways.
“We’ve hosted the men’s South African Open, the Volvo Golf Champions and the World Amateur Golf Championships, and to again secure the Cell C South African Women’s Open is another coup for us.”
Hibiscus Coast Municipality Mayor, Cllr Nomusa Mqwebu, added that the municipality will again benefit from the hosting of this international event.
“As the Hibiscus Coast Municipality we are delighted that the Cell C South African Women’s Open is returning to our shores in a few months.
“The tournament has brought not only positive reviews from the players and organisers, but has helped put our municipality firmly on the international stage.
“We are confident that this year’s tournament will bring with it even more opportunities and excitement on and off the field of play,” she said.
Ugu South Coast Tourism’s CEO Justin Mackrory commented: “We look forward to welcoming these dedicated professionals to our piece of paradise.
“The greater South Coast has 11 golf courses which have continued to attract golfing enthusiasts and professionals over the years.
“San Lameer is truly a spectacularly scenic course and we have no doubt that the players will have a thoroughly enjoyable tournament.”
With a history dating back to 1988, South Africa’s oldest women’s professional tournament will once again feature the country’s leading professionals competing alongside a strong international contingent as well as 10 South African amateurs.
“It’s a pleasure for us to be coming back to South Africa for a Cell C South African Women’s Open that since its return to our international schedule has shown incredible growth,” said Ivan Khodabakhsh, Chief Executive Officer of the Ladies European Tour (LET).
“We have such a strong representation of South African professionals on the LET who have all done our Tour proud. I’m pleased that we can bring 70 of our leading international professionals to South Africa to showcase what is a magnificent event.”
South Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace and American Cheyenne Woods will lead the strong field that will tee it up in the €320 000 tournament.
Pace will be out to add the Cell C South African Women’s Open to her growing list of achievements, the most recent of which was being voted by Compleat Golfer magazine as the 2013 Golfer of the Year.
This marked the first time in South African golf history that the award has been given to a women golfer, and recognised Pace’s three victories on the Ladies European Tour in 2013 as well as her second-place finish on the tour’s ISPS HANDA Order of Merit and being voted the LET Players’ Player of the Year.
Pace was also named the Women’s Professional Golf Association (WPGA) of South Africa’s Player of the Year.
Defending champion Marianne Skarpnord of Norway has also confirmed her place in the field for South Africa’s premier women’s professional tournament, which is co-sanctioned by the WPGA of South Africa and the LET.