SA trio to take on Women’s Open

2014-06-15 15:00

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South African international golfer Stacy-Lee Bregman says she will be rooting for compatriots Lee-Anne Pace, Ashleigh Simon and Nicole Garcia when they play in the US Women’s Open.

The tournament tees off at Pinehurst No 2 in North Carolina, US, on Thursday, the same venue hosting the men’s US Open, which concludes tonight. Pinehurst will host the women’s major for the first time in the course’s existence.

Bregman, who plays on the Ladies European Tour is an experienced campaigner, but she won’t be travelling to North Carolina. She missed the cut in qualifying.

Simon and Garcia earned their cards in December to swing their clubs on the tour before they qualified to compete at the more prestigious Pinehurst No 2.

Bregman said: “I hope the trio does well at the Open. Competition will be stiff as the cream of the crop will be contesting.”

She said she was hopeful the experience of Pace, as the only local player among the three who was used to competing at the highest level, would work in her favour.

Pace has had eight wins in Europe. She was the only player to win three titles on tour last year. She took part in the US Open in 1999 and finished tied for 55th.

“She has been overseas for years and feels it’s about time to lift the Open title and put South Africa on the map. But Nicole and Ashleigh will prove their mettle in this big one as well,” said Bregman.

Garcia, who is coached and caddied by her boyfriend Grant Veenstra, said she was looking forward to making her mark.

“I will be nervous in the first two holes as it’s the first time I’ll be competing in this big one. I hope to settle down and prove my mettle on the course,” she said.

The venue itself has created mixed feelings among some players, who feel the course will be worn out after the gruelling event there a week before.

But this has been brushed aside by those who insist the ladies competition will, in fact, be classier.

To make the event colourful, 11-year-old US player Lucy Li will be the youngest player in the history of the US Women’s Open to tee off.

Defending champion Inbee Park from South Korea won last year’s tournament at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York, carding an 8-under for a total of 280.

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