I’m just back from a 5 week stint in South Africa where I was competing on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. It was a great way to escape the winter and start my 2023 season. To start the trip I flew to Johannesburg and headed for Sun City, a resort surrounded by the Pilanesberg National Park. I was excited to see where my game was at, after doing some technical work on my swing in January. Despite the thunderstorms and delays that week, we managed to get all 3 rounds in and I finished up in a tie for 13th place. I dropped a few shots near the end so I was a bit disappointed however it was a solid performance. The tour then headed for Fancourt on the Western Cape, but I had just missed out on qualifying for a spot in the limited field event, so I spent the week as a reserve on site. I almost made it in, moving up to 1st reserve the day before the tournament started so I had to wait around on the day until everyone teed off and the tournament got underway. It was a shame not to be playing as I felt like my game was in good shape but it was a good lesson – highlighting the importance of every shot – a top 10 at Sun City would have got me in.
We then flew to Cape Town to the Atlantic Beach resort. As the name suggests we were right by the sea, and we experienced some of the windiest conditions I’ve played in… coming from Scotland that says a lot! Despite the ball moving on the greens and the unplayable conditions the tour seemed determined to complete all 3 rounds. I was tied 3rd after round 1 but unfortunately finished 22nd. It was fairly exhausting playing in 70kmph gusts on an extremely tight golf course, and by the end of round 3, I was delighted to be finished and moving on to a new week.
There was one more regular event on the Sunshine Tour in Johannesburg at Glendower Golf Cub before the co-sanctioned events with the Ladies European Tour. The field was strong with 110 players and only the top 30 made the cut for the final day. Unfortunately I didn’t have my best golf and I missed the cut. Luckily I had done enough to qualify for the Joburg Ladies Open the following week and my first LET event this year. It was an exciting opportunity and after some good practice on my driving I felt confident going into the event. So you can imagine how I felt after starting round 1 with 3 bogeys in a row. The ability to forget previous mistakes and focus on the next shot is key in golf and I did my best to stay patient, but despite making a few birdies I ended up with a 76 (+3) in round 1. I needed a low score in round 2 to make the cut and I got off to a good start. However, a few bad tee shots on the back 9 cost me in the end and I missed the cut by 2 shots. The margins are small between a good week and a bad one in professional sport and it can be difficult trusting the process and moving on from disappointment. My ranking on the Sunshine Tour after these 5 events meant I was one spot out of automatically qualifying for the final event in Cape Town. I flew there for a pre-qualifier round in the hope of getting one of the five spots left into the field. I was in a great position through 11 holes but had a bit of a nightmare on the 12th and blew my chances of making it. A bit like leading the formula 1 and then out of nowhere you crash and you’re now out of the race.
I decided to fly home rather than hang around the rest of the week. After 5 weeks on the road I knew it would be nice to come home and rest and reflect on what went well and the areas I need to improve to ultimately do better in my next events. My coach said to me if you’re not winning then you’re learning and that is definitely the case this time around. It was great to be back to competitive action and despite some disappointments I enjoyed my time in South Africa. I was lucky enough to go on safari and also visit the famous Camps Bay beach in Cape Town. Now I’m back to the cold, and I have a bit of time at home before my next event in France in April.