Monique Smit Photo: Catherine Kotze
The renaissance of women’s professional golf in Southern Africa is set to continue past the season-finale Investec Cup for Ladies as the country’s leading lights head to Zambia for the inaugural Zambia Ladies Open Championship.
South Africa’s top professionals and amateurs will showcase their talents at the Ndola Golf Club from 28 – 30 March, competing for record prize money of R750,000.
Zambia Ladies Golf Union president, Moona Mwila, expressed her delighted with the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s participation in this historic event.
“The Zambia Ladies Open Championship is a true celebration of women’s golf in Southern Africa and the realisation of a dream for women’s golf in Zambia,” Mwila said.
“Not only does the tournament celebrate the first-ever women’s professional championship in Zambia, but we are very proud that it coincides with our 50-year jubilee. We are extremely excited to welcome our visitors to share in this historic landmark occasion for women’s golf in Zambia.”
Mwila said the immediate positive response from the Women’s PGA of South Africa (WPGA) to support the event had a strong impact on their fundraising efforts.
“The Zambia Ladies Golf Union were ready to take women’s golf in Zambia to the next level and we were delighted that the WPGA shared and supported our vision,” said Mwila.
“The WPGA’s commitment inspired a lot of people to work towards realising our goal of hosting an international professional event.
“We are especially indebted to Alex Mashano and the organising committee for helping us reach this incredible milestone. Alex and his team were all thrown in the deep end to raise the prize money and to organise an event of this magnitude, and their selfless and tireless efforts are deeply appreciated.
“We are also indebted to the club captain, executive committee and the members of Ndola Golf Club for availing us the use of one of our country’s premier golf clubs for our inaugural Zambia Ladies Open.”
WPGA chairman, Margie Whitehouse, said that the WPGA strived to establish a competitive platform for professional women’s golf in South Africa, but also held a firm vision of expanding the game in Southern Africa.
“The return of the South African Women’s Open in 2012, sparked a wonderful revival for us,” Whitehouse said
“We forged a strong alliance with the Sunshine Tour and our sponsors and laid a solid foundation for the future with the launch of the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year.
“However, we were absolutely delighted when the Zambia Ladies Golf Union first approached us to endorse the Zambia Ladies Open Championship. We are pleased to align our vision of growing the game of golf among women in the southern African region with the Zambia Ladies Golf Union and privileged to work with the ZLGU in creating something truly spectacular for women’s golf.”
A field of 51 players from 13 countries will contest the 54-hole stroke play event, including Sunshine Ladies Tour champions Monique Smit, Tandi von Ruben and Kim Williams, as well as the country’s top five amateurs and four members of the South African Golf Development Board.
Five Zambian amateurs will also compete, while leading amateurs from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana and Uganda will also join the line-up at Ndola Golf Club.