Double delight for Dlamini in Soweto
Nobuhle Dlamini put an exclamation mark behind a dominant season with an emphatic four-shot victory in the R500 000 Joburg Ladies Open at Soweto Country Club on Thursday.
Her fourth Sunshine Ladies Tour victory – and her second win this season after her Dimension Data Ladies Challenge success last month – confirmed Dlamini as the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit champion for the 2019 season and earned the 27-year-old a bonus worth R100 000.
The big-hitting Swazi national carded a final round two-under 70 to triumph on a two-under 214 total.
“It’s a massive victory for me,” said a delighted Dlamini. “I didn’t expect to win the Joburg Ladies Open, but I put in a lot of work for this season.“Coming into the final event, I knew I didn’t have to win at Soweto to win the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit, but I really wanted it After the first two rounds, I knew I could win. The order of merit title would be even sweeter if I picked up a win. Two wins this season and the order of merit. I am really proud of what I’ve achieved.
“I was very excited about trying to win the Order of Merit, I think my performance at Glendower sort of sealed it for me, although it was still close. I knew I didn’t have to win the tournament to win the Order of Merit. I was really excited, but I still had a tournament to play. I’m happy to have won both.”
Dlamini began the final round on even-par with a one-shot lead over SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite and two shots clear of Sunshine Ladies Tour rookie Casandra Hall.
She fired seven straight pars before dropping two shots at the par four eighth. Back-to-back birdies at nine and 10 took her back to level, and she erased another double bogey at the 11th with three birdies on the bounce from the par four 13th.
Dlamini finished two shots ahead of former South African Women’s Open champion Tandi Mc Callum, whose final round 70 earned her a runner-up finish and bumped the Parkview golfer second in the season-long points race.
Ebotse’s Hall finished solo third on six-over following a third round 76.
The round of the day – and the tournament – belonged to Lora Assad. The Johannesburg golfer scorched her way around the Gary Player-designed championship layout in 67 strokes and rocketed to joint fourth on seven-over alongside Monique Smit from Southern Cape.
Dlamini picked up her maiden pro win in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, presented by Sun International at the Wild Coast just over a year ago and it proved a watershed moment for the Glendower professional.
“This season has been the best of my life, but the Wild Coast was the pivotal moment. That’s when I knew for certain that I could compete against the best and beat them. It changed my mind-set and I’ve just become mentally stronger since.
“I made changes to the preparation for my tournaments, and since that first win last year things have changed. I’ve been more relaxed. I trust my process and my decisions on the course. I commit to my shots and I feel much more confident.”
Playing in the heart of Soweto, made the double triumph even sweeter for the 27-year-old.
“When they first told us that the Joburg Ladies Open would be hosted here I couldn’t believe it,” Dlamini said. “I played here three years ago and it was not looking good. The greens were not good and the fairways were bumpy. It was like coming to a whole different course when we played the pro-am here on Monday. I was so pleasantly surprised and impressed.
“We owe a huge debt to Selwyn Nathan for championing the refurbishment of this course. The Sunshine Tour rallied the support of the City of Joburg, the PGA Tour and the European Tour, the R&A and sponsors like Investec, Dimension Data, Telkom, SuperSport and PPC Cement to create something incredibly special here.
“I know a lot of golfers who live in Soweto and who had to travel by taxi to go and practice at the better courses in Johannesburg. One of them lives two minutes away from the course. He came to support me in the first round and cannot wait to start practicing here.
“Selwyn, together with the sponsors have created jobs here and a fantastic legacy for the people of Soweto. The course is young, but already a great layout. It will just get better and better, and I really believe this is a championship course.”
GolfRSA Elite Squad member Zethu Myeki carded rounds of 80, 76 and 73 to claim the leading amateur honours on 13-over. The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member tied for 13th with Lewthwaite, who finished third on the order of merit after closing with a final round 84.
Kim Williams finished fourth and Hall fifth to make it an all-Southern-African sweep of the top-five in the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.
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