SouthAfrica.info (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Bigger Purse for SA Women's Open

The 2013 South African Women's Open takes place at the Southbroom Golf Club on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast from 19 to 21 April with an increased purse and a strong international field. The tournament is co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the Women's Professional Golf Association.

Following its return to the international schedule last year, South Africa's oldest women's professional golf tournament has raised the stakes in 2013 with an increase in the total prize money from €260 000 to €290 000 (R3.41-million).

Players from at least 20 countries will be represented in this year's tournament, including defending champion Caroline Masson of Germany and a strong South African contingent of Lee-Anne Pace, Tandi Cunningham, Ashleigh Simon, Stacy Bregman and Nobuhle Dlamini.

'Good response'

"We had such a good response to the 2012 tournament after its absence from the schedule for so many years, and we are delighted with the kind of growth we have been able to achieve and which will be showcased in this year's event," Lesley Copeman of World Sports Promotions said in a statement.

The tournament will again feature a strong mix of local and international professionals and amateur invitees as part of the development drive of the event with the KwaZulu-Natal local government and the Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

"It's extremely important for the development of the South African women's game at a professional and amateur level that we have a strong South African Women's Open on our schedule, and which can offer our players an opportunity to compete against international competition," said Margie Whitehouse, chairman of the Women's Professional Golf Association.

The South African Women's Open has a proud history dating back to 1988. Its return to the Ladies European Tour (LET) schedule last year was widely welcomed as an integral part of bringing top international women's golf back to South African fairways.

'Eagerly anticipated'

"The South African Women's Open is extremely important to our members and is one of the most eagerly anticipated tournaments on the schedule," said Ivan Peter Khodabakhsh, the LET's chief executive officer.

"With 70 LET participants out of a field of 108 competitors, we are bringing some of the world's best golfers to South Africa and we are committed to seeing this tournament go from strength to strength," Khodabakhsh said.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, MEC of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism, said: "It was an incredible honour for us to be able to host the first South African Women's Open in three years in 2012, and we are delighted that it will be returning this year.

"We have hosted global men's events, such as the South African Open and most recently the Volvo Golf Champions, and it's a privilege for us to be able to once again showcase KwaZulu-Natal's wealth of wonderful golf courses to an international women's audience as well."

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