SA dominate Nedbank ladies golf

2002-04-24 11:10

Johannesburg - The 2002 Nedbank Ladies Professional Golf Tour provided the women's professional golf circuit with four thrilling events, and three victories for one South African.

Mandy Adamson took top honours by winning three events - the Vodacom SA Ladies Players Championship at Parkview, the Kyocera Mita SA Open at Devonvale and the Nedbank Ladies SA Masters at Houghton.

Adamson's outstanding performance throughout the tour and her stunning win at the Nedbank Ladies SA Masters - which included a record breaking second round of 64 - prompted Nedbank to double her prize money for the Houghton event.

Rikka Hakkarainen of Finland snatched a memorable victory at the Telkom Ladies Classic at Randpark. With consecutive birdies on the last three holes, she notched up her first professional win.

Greg Garden, general manager: Nedbank Marketing and Communications says: "We are delighted to have seen the Nedbank Ladies Professional Tour enjoy great success in the last month.

"The excellent performance of the South African golfers has helped boost interest in the local professional game, and proven that we have tremendous local talent."

The Nedbank LPGT also provided South Africa's top women professionals with quality international competition from twenty-two overseas entrants.

These included a fifteen-strong Scandinavian contingent, as well as golfers from Ireland, the USA, and the Ivory Coast.

Many of the overseas players spoke warmly of the hospitality they had received on the Tour. Players like Norway's Cecilie Lungreen - who finished second in the Nedbank Ladies SA Masters - assured tour organisers that they would be returning for the 2003 event.

Garden continues: "The experience of competing in an international field has also helped to blood some of our younger women golfers.

"As tour sponsors, we wanted to assist the WPGA in increasing the scope for developing golfing talent in South Africa, and to lift the profile of the women's game locally. The 2002 Tour has certainly gone a long way in achieving this."

The Nedbank LPGT also saw the return of South African professionals who have typically competed exclusively on the international circuits.

Tania Fourie, LPGT Director, elaborates: "Many talented South African golfers chose to pursue their careers abroad - lack of sponsorship and the large costs associated with professional golf, inhibited local development.

"But support by local sponsors is bringing the game - and our top golfers - back to South Africa.

"The incentives to play a worldclass tour on first rate courses makes the South African circuit attractive.

"The sponsorship deal with Nedbank effectively provided an incentive for the more established pros to stay at home rather than travel abroad in search of playing opportunities."

The Nedbank LPGT serves as preparation and provides a competitive environment for both local golfers and the overseas professionals before they tackle other international events like the European and USA tours later in the year.

Solid performances came from Zoe Grimbeeck and Cherry Moulder who will now move onto the USA Tour, while Caryn Louw - who led the first round of the Nedbank Ladies SA Masters - will be tackling the European tour.