Simon leads SA onslaught at British Women’s Open

South Korea's Mirim Lee28 July 2016 - South Africa's Ashleigh Simon offset a lone bogey with two birdies to open with a one-under-par 71 in the RICOH Women’s British Open at Woburn, while Olympic Games team-mate Paula Reto and LPGA winner Lee-Anne Pace carded a pair of 73s at the Marguess Course in Milton Keyes.

Mirim Lee shot a bogey-free round of 62 to take the first-round lead.

The 25-year old tied the tournament record set by Minea Blomqvist in the third round in 2004 and the round tied her career low which she previously shot in the second round of the 2014 Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn - a three-time LPGA Tour winner this season - sits three shots back and in solo second at seven under.

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SA trio set for Woburn test

Ashleigh Simon27 July 2016 - South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon will join a bevy of world stars, including her Olympic Games team-mate Paula Reto and compatriot Lee-Anne Pace at the Ricoh Women’s British Open in England on Thursday.

Simon was among 85 hopefuls who contested the last 16 places for the starting line-up at Woburn Golf Club in the Final Qualifying at John O’ Gaunt Golf Club in Sandy on Monday. She fired a four-under-par 71 to tie for seventh, comfortably snapping up her spot for the season’s four Major.

“When we arrived in England after eight successive starts on the LPGA Tour, I wasn’t too sure what to expect in the qualifier, but I knew I would go all out to make the field,” she said.

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Final Fields confirmed for Olympic Golf

SA quartet representing SA at 2016 Olympic GamesSouth Africa's Jaco van Zyl, Brandon Stone, Ashleigh Simon and Paula Reto are among the 120 men and women who will create golf history in Rio de Janeiro next month at the Olympic Games competition at Reserva de Marapendi Golf Course between August 11 and 20.

The National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have now entered the athletes who will represent their country for the first Olympic golf competition in 112 years, following the publication last Monday of the Final Olympic Golf Rankings.

With no fewer than 41 countries included in the start list for the men’s competition from August 11-14, followed by the women’s event from August 17-20, the composition of the Olympic fields highlights the broad global diversity of the sport in Rio de Janeiro, representing the ultimate shop-window for the sport and having the capacity to reach a brand new audience, especially among the younger generation across all the continents.

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Reto within striking distance in Ohio

Paula RetoSYLVANIA, Ohio, United States (15 July 2016) - On the very day that Paula Reto was named to the 2016 South African Olympic Team heading to Rio in August, the Strand native justified her selection with a strong opening performance in the LPGA Tour’s Marathon Classic in Ohio.

Reto bookended a superb 68 with birdies at the opening and closing holes at the Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania to grab a share of seventh. She shares the bus at three under with eight players, including world number one Lydia Ko and number two ranked Brooke Henderson.

The group finished two shots off the pace from Japan’s Haro Nomura and South Korean pair Hyo Joo Kim and Mirim Lee.

American Kelly Shon, France’s Celine Herbin and Airiya Juranugarn from Thailand – a three-time winner this season – sit a shot back at four under.

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OLYMPICS - IT’S OFFICIAL

2016 Olympic Games Golf TrophyThe two-year qualification process for golf’s return to the Olympic Games for the first time in 112 years has been completed with the publication today of the Final Olympic Golf Rankings. Below are the top 15 qualifiers for the Women’s Competition, who could be lining it up with South Africa’s Paula Reto and Ashleigh Simon in Rio this August.

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Brittany Lang wins US Women's Open

Brittany LangAmerican Brittany Lang won her first major title at the US Women's Open in a play-off with Anna Nordqvist after the Swede was given a two-stroke penalty.
Nordqvist was penalised for touching sand in a bunker with her club on the second hole of a three-hole aggregate play-off with Lang, 30, at CordeValle. USGA officials told Lang of the penalty before her third to the last green but Nordqvist found out after her approach.

"I wish the USGA would have told me a bit earlier," said Nordqvist, 29."They approached me after I already hit my third shot into 18, then kind of ran up to Brittany to tell her that I got penalised. I don't know if it would have changed the outcome, but it certainly would have changed my aggressiveness into the 18th pin."

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SA pair slow off the mark at US Women’s Open

Ashleigh SimonSAN MARTIN, California, USA (8 July 2016) – South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon opened with a two-over-par 74, but Lee-Anne Pace had a much tougher time in the blustery afternoon conditions and carded an uninspiring first round 78 at the US Women’s Open in California on Thursday.

Pace was in good company though, as none of the players in the marquee group that featured three of the top four players in the world were among the 14 players that broke par at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin in the afternoon.

World number one Lydia Ko birdied her final hole for a 73, Lexi Thompson matched Simon’s 74 and Brooke Henderson shot 76.

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Pace pulls out of Rio

Lee-Anne PaceStatement from Lee-Anne Pace regarding 2016 Olympics

“I have advised South African Golf Association, South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, Mr Gary Player and Sunshine Ladies Tour that I have withdrawn my name from consideration for the South African Olympic Golf Team for Rio.

I was very much looking forward to the opportunity of being part of the South African Golf Team and the wider South African Olympic Team.  However, over recent months my team has been monitoring the situation regarding the Zika Virus and finding out as much information as possible. After weighing up all the options and discussing it with my family and team, I have decided that due to the health concerns surrounding the Zika Virus, I will not be participating.

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Simon makes Major charge in Seattle

Ashleigh SimonSEATTLE, United States (10 June 2016) – South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon capitalized on a resurgence in form to grab a share of fourth on day one of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship in Washington, Seattle.

Simon fired a one-under-par 70 at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish to finish three off the pace in Thursday’s first round. The 27-year-old Johannesburg golfer trails by three shots from Canadian Brooke Henderson, who holds a two stroke advantage over South Korean In-Kyung Kim and American Christina Kim.

The South African finds herself in some prestigious company in the logjam behind the leader.

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SA’s Simon sizzles at ShopRite Classic

Ashleigh SimonGALLOWAY, New Jersey (6 June 2016) – South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon recorded a season’s best tie for 22nd in the Shoprite LPGA Classic in New Jersey on Sunday to take some great form into the season’s second Major – the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – this week.

She opened with an even-par 71 at the Stockton Seaview Golf Club, while fellow South African Paula Reto grabbed a share of the three-way lead with a first round 64. Simon rallied with four birdies on the back nine for a 69 and defied strong winds on the last day to reel in four birdies on the inward stretch for a 67 to finish at six-under-207.

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