Ashleigh Simon Photo: Dale Boyce
Ashleigh Simon is a pretty happy camper after back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, but the two-time champion has already set her sights on a hat-trick at the R100,000 SuperSport Challenge, which tees off on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Joburg professional broke through for her third pro title – and first on South African soil – at the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Glendower and just a few days later, clinched a four stroke victory in the 18-hole rain-shorted Ladies Tshwane Open at The Els Club Copperleaf.
Not even the change of venue from Zwartkop Country Club to Observatory is detracting from Simon’s quest to depart for the LPGA Tour with three trophies on her mantle.
“I’m playing well at the moment, so anything is possible,” said Simon. “I feel good going into the last one and if I can keep it under par, another win is certainly a possibility.”
The inclement weather that has plagued Gauteng over the last week rendered the Zwartkop course unplayable, but Sunshine Ladies Tour Tournament Director, Pauli van Meersbergen, said the management at Observatory immediately stepped up to host the sixth event.
“We called around, but most of the courses in the immediate area were struggling with flooding,” Van Meersbergen said. “I called Mark (Renwick) at Observatory and he didn’t hesitate to offer us the course.
“We had a good look at the layout this afternoon and the fairway at the seventh is the only hole that could pose a slight problem. The course drains incredibly well and the rest of the course is perfectly playable.
“If the weather cooperates, we hope to get our full 36 holes in on Thursday and Friday.”
Renwick said the club was honoured to host an event the new Sunshine Ladies Tour.
“We have enjoyed a very long relationship with the Sunshine Tour, and that is why we didn’t hesitate to help out the Sunshine Ladies Tour. We are so pleased that the ladies once again have a platform to compete and we look forward to hosting the Tour and the players here at Observatory.
“The course has held up nicely with all the rain and I believe the ladies will have a great time with us.”
Simon will tee it up alongside two other recent champions, Sun International Challenge winner Tandi von Ruben and Monique Smit, who defeated her for the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am.
Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigner, Stacy Bregman, will join Anne-Lise Caudal from France and Morgana Robbertze in the first round, while eight-time LET champion Lee-Anne Pace will tee it up alongside Ladies Tshwane Open runner-up, Cecilie Lundgreen from Norway and LET Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland.
Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion Kim Williams will be playing alongside fellow LET rookie Nicole Garcia and South Africa’s Francesca Cuturi.