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10th August 2023

Equal opportunity tees off at Vodacom Origins of Golf

BELA BELA, Limpopo – There could be no better celebration in the week of National Women’s Day than the presence of the Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals in the field alongside their Sunshine Tour counterparts and making history by competing for the same R2 million prize money at this week’s first Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Zebula Country Club.

The popular Sunshine Tour series has long broken new ground in the game since it first teed off in 2004, and this week is no exception as it now seeks to provide even greater equality in the local professional game by inviting 10 Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals to compete with the men on the series.

“I’m very excited and its pretty awesome to be playing for the same prizemoney,” Brittney-Fay Berger said. “We only have six events on the Sunshine Ladies Tour so it’s good for us to keep getting competitive playing time.

“We’re all looking to play overseas so the prizemoney is really big but it will also be a good test of our games because this course is a little long. It’s going to be tough with a top-50 cut. I’m just going to stay in my zone and bubble and not look at what the guys are doing. They will definitely be driving past us. I’m a short hitter but my irons are my strong point – I’m pretty accurate,” Berger, a 23-year-old from Mount Edgecombe, said.

“It’s a historic moment for golf in South Africa and especially for women’s golf,” added Tandi McCallum.

“The only other tournament that has seen the women competing with the men is the Scandinavian Open. So this is definitely raising the bar and it’s very exciting to be a female golfer in South Africa at the moment with the growth of our game. It’s great to see the surge in women’s golf. There has been an increase of 12% in the number of amateurs turning pro in the last year, and that’s because of more opportunity in the women’s game. And it’s wonderful that Vodacom are supporting us 100%.”

Nadia van der Westhuizen is another of the excited Sunshine Ladies Tour golfers who is eager to make her mark amongst the men.

“I’m very excited. It’s definitely going to be a very new experience for us, playing at the same time on the same course as the men, just with different tee boxes. It’s going to be a real challenge because men’s golf is also amazing. I will just try and play my same game, but I know that I’ll have to go a bit lower than usual. I’m going to be going for more of the par fives in two,” Van der Westhuizen, who has junior provincial colours in three other sports, said.

Clearly, opportunity has emboldened the Sunshine Ladies Tour golfers, and this week is going to be an historic one indeed for South African golf. – Michael Vlismas Media