The 2015 Investec Cup for Ladies finalists. Back, from left to right – Monique Smit, Nicole Garcia, Kim Williams, Bonita Bredenhann (Namibia) and Monja Richards. Front, from left to right – Nobuhle Dlamini (Swaziland), Stacy Bregman, Melissa Eaton, Lucy Williams (England) and 2014/2015 champion Lee-Anne Pace. Photo credit: Carl Fourie
JOHANNESBURG, 24 March 2015 - A bumper bonus pool worth R1-million for the season-ending Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, record prize money and 54-hole tournaments are just some of the exciting incentives in store for the Sunshine Ladies Tour in 2016.
Sunshine Tour chief executive Selwyn Nathan confirmed that the 2016 Sunshine Ladies Tour will feature at least eight events in 2016, offering prize money in excess of R2.6-million.
“Investec has extended their commitment for a further three years and increased their investment to R2.5-million,” Nathan confirmed.
“Investec is taking the bonus pool for the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies 2016 to R1-million, which marks an increase of R400,000. All the qualifying events will also carry minimum purses of R200,000, which is double the prize money on offer this year.
“We are very pleased with the growth of the Sunshine Ladies Tour since its inception in 2014 and delighted to confirm that all the sponsors have committed to the 2016 season.
“More importantly, all the qualifying tournaments in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies 2016 will be contested over 54 holes, which takes us one step closer to gaining world ranking points for the players.”
Women’s PGA of South Africa (WPGA) chief executive officer Barbara Pestana welcomed the added incentives for 2016 season and said this bodes well for the future of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
“We were very pleased with the growth of the Tour, and we are indebted to all the sponsors who are helping us grow the domestic women’s game,” Pestana said.
“The additional investment from Investec and the welcome addition of the Cape Town Ladies Open to our schedule is an incredible boost for the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
“Investec and the Sunshine Tour has been fantastic in their efforts to help us grow a really competitive platform for our top golfers and emerging stars and we are very thankful for their continued support.
“The added incentives are wonderful for our leading professionals, who have shown overwhelming support for the Sunshine Ladies Tour in the last two years, and for the next generation of future champions, who can hone their games on a really competitive Tour on home soil.”
Two-time Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion Lee-Anne Pace said the 2016 Sunshine Ladies Tour will herald a new era in women’s professional golf in South Africa.
“The R1-million bonus pool for the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, the increased prize money and the 54-hole events will put the Sunshine Ladies Tour on par with other international Tours,” the world number 31 said.
“It will definitely further encourage us to start the season on home soil and I believe the 2016 season will draw an even larger international presence.
“This year we saw a larger number of international entries from Great Britain, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, Nigeria, Namibia and Swaziland. The added incentives will make the Sunshine Ladies Tour a very attractive proposition at the start of the season. More international competition is great for the seasoned pros, but also valuable for the emerging stars, who can test themselves on a really competitive circuit on home soil.”
Heather Casey from Investec said they were pleased to extend their relationship with the Sunshine Ladies Tour.
“We have enjoyed being a part of the growth in Ladies golf over the last two years and look forward to continuing this platform, allowing the top female golfers in South Africa to compete professionally,” Casey said.