Kim Williams Photo: Dayle Boyce
Kim Williams will headline the field for the inaugural Zambia Ladies Open Championship alongside Monique Smit and Tandi von Ruben at Ndola Golf Club from 28-30 March.
While the country has hosted a number of Zambia Opens on the Sunshine Tour, the R750,000 Zambia Ladies Open is the first of its kind for professional women and coincides with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Zambia Ladies Golf Union.
The trio of champions have all recently celebrated success on the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
Smit won the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and SuperSport Challenge, while Von Ruben claimed a play-off victory in the Sun International Challenge and Williams broke through for her maiden pro win at the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies at Houghton.
Williams collected an additional three top five finishes and ranked sixth on the final Sunshine Ladies Tour Order of Merit, following a seventh place finish at the Investec Cup for Ladies on the weekend.
Now the 27-year-old Pretoria golfer is seeking more success before she departs for the Ladies European Tour in April.
“I would love to win one more event, or even just add another top three finish,” said Williams.
“It would go a long way in building my confidence before I leave for the Ladies European Tour again.”
The 27-year-old Pretoria golfer said the last few weeks of competition helped her to a joint 29th finish in her debut at the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco last week.
“It is very important to put yourself in a position to challenge each week and to maintain that kind of consistency,” Williams said.
“You have to get used to playing under that kind of pressure and you can only do that with regular competition. Before the Sunshine Ladies Tour, we had some opportunities on the amateur circuit to compete on the bigger stage.
“But the Tour has definitely came around at the right time for me and the other LET rookies, Nicole Garcia and Nobuhle Dlamini. The Zambia Ladies Open is such a fantastic bonus for us.”
Williams believes the 54-hole stroke play event will be a tightly contested affair.
“The championship has drawn a field of 49 players from 13 countries, with 30 of those professionals,” she said. “However, the amateurs that will be teeing it up are the best from South Africa and other African countries, and they are an unknown entity, just like the course at Ndola.
“I don’t think one can pick an outright favourite and that’s going to make this very interesting this week.”
While the 30 professionals will vie for the winner’s share worth R60,000 in the 54-hole stroke play event, the remaining amateurs will challenge for the leading amateur honour.
South Africa’s former number one amateur welcomed the inclusion of the country’s top amateurs Michaela Fletcher, Magda Kruger and Mae Cornforth, as well as four members from the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB), six leading amateurs from Southern African countries and five top Zambian representatives.
“I think we have all witnessed over the last six weeks just how beneficial it has been for the amateurs to play with the pros on the Sunshine Ladies Tour,” said Williams.
“The WPGA and the Zambia Ladies Golf Union should be applauded for inviting the amateurs to play in the prestigious event and especially including the girls from the SAGDB.
“Just five months ago, I was still in the amateur ranks. I know how hungry I was for competition and I would have killed for an opportunity like this.”