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Mon Apr 21 14:13:56 SAST 2014

Thirteen amateurs to compete at SA Women's Open

Sapa | 10 July, 2012 12:510 Comments

Image by: Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

South Africa’s top women amateurs are relishing the opportunity to test their skills against some of the leading professionals in the game, when they tee it up in this week’s SA Women’s Open at Selborne Park Golf Club.

The tournament organisers have extended the number of amateur invitations, granting a total of 13 exemptions to the country’s leading amateurs, many of whom will be playing in their first professional tournament.

The SA Women’s Open, co-sanctioned by the Women’s Professional Golf Association and Ladies European Tour, will feature professionals from 20 countries competing at Selborne from Friday.

“I think it’s going to be fantastic and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of measuring myself against the pros,” said Kim Williams, South Africa’s top ranked women’s amateur golfer. 

“It’s a big step up from the amateur to pro ranks, so the more experience you can gain at that level the better.”  Williams has the added incentive of defending the Jackie Mercer Trophy she won for finishing as the leading amateur in the 2009 SA Women’s Open, which was the last time this event was played.

“I really enjoyed the experience of playing in the 2009 SA Women’s Open, and I was very disappointed when it fell off the schedule,” she said.

“So I’m delighted it’s back and I hope to win the Jackie Mercer Trophy again.”  A successful defence of that title would make Williams only the second amateur in the history of the event to do so. Ashleigh Simon won the Jackie Mercer Trophy a record four consecutive times from 2004 to 2007.

Nobuhle Dlamini, the number two ranked amateur in South Africa, was also looking forward to the challenge, teeing it up in a professional tournament for the first time in her career.

“It’s a great opportunity for all the amateurs,” Dlamini said.

“We all want to be professionals one day and this is the perfect opportunity for us to measure ourselves against the professional standard.   “I think the tournament is such a positive step for women’s golf in South Africa.

“We have so many amateurs at the moment who could compete as professionals.” 

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