Fri, 14 May 2021

France's Manon Gidali holed a 25-foot birdie putt on the first extra hole of the Cape Town Ladies Open to claim her maiden professional victory in the opening event of the 2021 Sunshine Ladies Tour season.

Gidali started the final day two shots behind South African leaders Cara Gorlei and amateur Caitlyn Macnab at Royal Cape Golf Club on Friday.

The 27-year-old French golfer fired a round of one-under-par 73 to finish the 54-hole event tied with local hope Gorlei on four-under-par 218.

A birdie putt on the second playoff hole saw Gidali secure her first professional trophy.

Gidali stated that her inspiration came from a similar situation in the recent Qatar Open.

"I was thinking about my friend Antoine Rozner. He sank a long putt to win on the European Tour two weeks ago in Qatar and I was thinking, 'You can do it too.' And I made it," said the elated Gidali.

Despite starting the 2020 season with conditional status on the Ladies European Tour, Gidali made the most of her nine starts to achieve a career-best 33rd ranking in the Race to Costa del Sol in 2020 in just nine starts.

Gidali is the 13th international champion and the fourth French player to enjoy success since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014.

Gidali opted to play in the Sunshine Ladies Tour series in order to prepare for her first full season in Europe in 2021.

"I've been training hard all winter so I was really excited to come out here and play," she said.

"It means a lot to me to get my first professional win here on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. This gives me the confidence to know that I can win and obviously the next step is to win on the LET. I'm really excited to keep playing now."

South Africa's Gorlei had mixed emotions after recording her best finish in a tournament thus far.

"It was awesome to be back in contention," said the 25-year-old Arkansas University graduate, who joined the pro ranks last year.

"I had lots of emotions going into today with a share of the lead, but after I made that double bogey at the 10th I was five shots back of Caitlyn. I had to gather myself and concentrate on my own game and I'm proud of the way I pulled things back. Onwards and upwards from here. I have stepped it up a level already and it's only week one. There is still a lot of golf to be played this season."

Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite finished third on two-under.

Reigning South African Amateur champion Macnab edged to a three-shot lead after nine holes, but she lost momentum on the back nine and slipped out of contention with a double bogey when she found the water on the par-three 15th.

A closing bogey saw the GolfRSA number 1 finish fourth on one-under.

"I feel like I can take a lot of positives away from this event and it is all part of the learning process," said the 19-year-old.

"I am happy otherwise with how my game held up and how I dealt with the pressure and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."

Macnab won't dwell too much on the missed opportunity, however, as the tour moves to Glendower for the next event, the Jabra Ladies Classic.

Macnab tasted success before with wins in the 2020 Ekurhuleni Open and the 2019 GolfRSA Champion of Champions event.

The R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic from 14-16 April offers the leading non-exempt LET player a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open - the qualifying event for the fourth Major, the Amundi Evian Championship at Evian Resort Golf Club in July.

Source: News24

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