Cape Town - The Sunshine Ladies Tour and the Women's PGA of South Africa (WPGA) announced on Monday that the South African Women's Open will be jointly co-sanctioned between the Sunshine Ladies Tour, WPGA and the Ladies European Tour (LET).
"We are delighted to announce that the LET will be a full co-sanctioning partner to this year's South African Women's Open," said Sunshine Tour Chief Executive Selwyn Nathan.
"The Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA are extremely excited to welcome back the LET for the first time since the 2014 SA Women's Open.
"This partnership is a huge step forward in restoring the status and prestige befitting our national championship. Partnering with the LET also provides the opportunity to improve the strength of the field through the greater depth of international players currently competing on the Ladies European Tour."
With the full co-sanction, the field for the SA Women's Open will include 60 spots for members of the LET.
The prize money earned in the prestigious championship will count towards both the Property Fund Order of Merit and the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit.
New title sponsor Investec boosted the prize money to R2 million, which makes it the largest purse on offer since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014.
"We are absolutely delighted with the confirmation from the LET," said Danni Dixon, head of Marketing for Investec Property. "Following our initial investment in the Sunshine Ladies Tour to aid the promotion and growth of South African women's golf, both locally and internationally, we decided to take up the title sponsorship of the South African Women's Open this year.
The tournament will mark the Ladies European Tour's first visit to South Africa since 2014, when three-time champion Lee-Anne Pace from South Africa prevailed in a play-off against Holly Clyburn from England to lift her first of three titles at San Lameer Country Club in KwaZulu-Natal.
"The LET is delighted to co-sanction the Investec South African Women's Open with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the WPGA," said the LET chairperson, Mark Lichtenhein.
"South Africa is a proud sporting nation which has produced some of the world's leading golfers and we would like to say a huge thank you to the Sunshine Ladies Tour for welcoming our international competitors.
"In terms of a tournament venue, we could not ask for more. Atlantic Beach Country Club is one of the finest and most picturesque courses in South Africa and previously hosted qualifying for The Open Championship in 2004 and 2005.
"We are excited to bring our international players to compete alongside South Africa's local talents and we look forward to the renewal of our partnership."
The SA Women's Open will be contested at the picturesque and challenging links layout of Atlantic Beach Country Club from March 8-10 in Cape Town.