Simon sizzles at Ladies European Masters

Ashleigh Simon2 July 2015 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon is handily placed in a three-way tie for second after an opening five-under-par 67 and is just one stroke shy of Frenchwoman Sophie Giquel-Bettan in ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club on Thursday.

Simon claimed a joint runner-up finish behind seven-time Major champion Karie Webb in this championship in 2013 and was thrilled to pick up where she left off.

“Well, it isn’t close to the 63 I shot in the first round two years ago, but it’s certainly a lot better than I have played in the last few months,” Simon said.

“I’m really pleased with this result. I’ve worked hard on my short game in the last two months and it is so great get the putter working nicely with the rest of my game.”

Simon racked up four birdies and an eagle at the par-five 14th and her only bad shot of the day – a wayward drive at the par-four third – resulted in the lone bogey on her card.

“With the exception of a bad tee shot at three, I drove the ball beautifully all day,” said Simon.

“I had a good start with birdie at 12, but the eagle really kicked up the momentum and it was good to finish with back-to-back birdies.

“I left a few out there, but I was able to knock some in to put myself in a good position.”

Simon is a two-time Ladies European Tour winner but it has been four years since she won the Portugal Ladies Masters. Based in the United States where she competes on the LPGA Tour, Simon has had a frustrating season and her short game has been her downfall.

She spent some time with her coach Doug Wood at the Wanna Be A Champion Academy during a short break home over her 26th birthday in May. They worked on her wedge play and she started seeing some progress, but she continued to struggling on the greens.

“We had a week off and I worked for hours with the Trackman and it paid off in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship last week,” the four-time Sunshine Tour winner said.

“I had a bogey-free first round for the first time in ages and a really solid second round. Unfortunately the putter just went cold again on Sunday, but Doug came to London to see Nicole Garcia and myself and we did some more work before the first round.

“I felt a lot more confident and comfortable on the greens, but I am keeping my expectations low. I just want to enjoy this start and keep building on this.”

Compatriot Stacy Bregmann took a seat on the 15-strong bus at two under, while Melissa Eaton and Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia returned 74s.

Evergreen Laurette Maritz opened with a 75, LET winner Connie Chen carded a 76 and Garcia and fellow Sunshine Tour winner Monique Smit registered a pair of 78s.


PHOTO – Ashleigh Simon; credit Catherine Kotze / SASPA
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.

Simon in London, Pace to Pennsylvania

Ashleigh Simon1 July 2015 – South Africa’s Ashleigh Simon is ready to tee it up in this week’s ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters at Buckinghamshire Golf Club while compatriot Lee-Anne Pace travels to Pennsylvania this week to put the final touches to her preparation ahead of the 70th US Women’s Open.

Simon joined fellow Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Monique Smit, as well as Melissa Eaton, Connie Chen, Laurette Maritz and Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann in the Ladies European Tour (LET) event that tees off near London on Thursday.


SA’s Reto shines in Arkansas

Paula Reto30 June 2015 – South Africa’s Paula Reto closed the gap on compatriot Lee-Anne Pace after banking a cheque worth $31,213 for top 15 finish in the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday and climbed to 78th in the Official Money list with earnings of $76,762.

The Bloemfontein golfer lags a little less than $10,000 behind Pace, who moved to 76th place after a tie for 64th at Pinnacle Country Club.

Reto also jumped 12 spots to crowd Pace’s rear-view mirror in the Race to CME Globe. Reto is 83rd in the standings with 196 points, while Pearl Valley’s Pace is 82nd on 198 points.


Play-off joy for Lincicome at ANA Inspiration

ANA Inspiration champion Brittany LincicomeAmerican Brittany Lincicome claimed a play-off victory in the ANA Inspiration and celebrated after four tough days at the Dinah Shore Course with her second dip in Poppie’s Pond at Mission Hills Country Club on Sunday.


Reto moves at ANA Inspiration

Paula Reto5 April 2015 - South Africa’s Paula Reto fired a two-under-par 70 at the Dinah Shore Course at Mission Hills Country Club to break into the top 40 in the ANA Inspiration on Saturday, but compatriot Lee-Anne Pace had another tough day at the office and slipped to joint 70th in the season’s first Major.

Reto started moving day in a tie for 48th after earlier rounds of 74 and 73 just saw her make the weekend.

She followed a birdie-bogey combo at the second and third with five pars and notched a birdie at the ninth to turn in one under.

The second-season LPGA Tour player birdied the 12th, dropped at the 16th, but signed off with a birdie at the par-five 18th to vault to a tie for 36th on one-over-par 217.

Pace, meanwhile, completed the front nine with nine straight pars, but bogeys at the 11th, 14th, 15th and 18th saw her sign for a 76 that dropped the LPGA champion to six over 222.


Pace, Reto make ANA Inspiration weekend

Lee-Anne PaceSouth Africa’s Lee-Anne Pace pulled off an impressive second round performance at Mission Hills Country Club in California to play herself into weekend in the season’s first Major, the at the ANA Inspiration.

The two-time Investec Cup for Ladies champion was in serious danger of missing the cut after a disappointing five over 77 in the first round.

However, Pace rallied with a hat-trick of birdies over the closing holes at the famed Dinah Shore Course to save her championship with an impressive three-under-par 69 on Friday.

The Pearl Valley golfer turned one under after two birdies and a bogey. She notched two more birdies immediately after the turn, stumbled with a double bogey at the par-four 12th, but produced the hat-trick of birdies at the end to finish a stroke above the cut, set at three-over-par 147.


Pressel leads ANA Inspiration

Morgan PresselAll eyes are on Lydia Ko this week as she eyes becoming the youngest major champion in LPGA Tour history. But the current holder of that record, Morgan Pressel, may have something to say about Ko taking that from her just yet after firing a five-under-par 67 in the afternoon to storm into the lead in the Ana Inspiration.

Pressel became the youngest major champion at the age of 18 when she took the leap here into Poppie’s Pond in 2007 and is hoping to add another plaque to the Walk of Champions.


Nocera lifts Lalla Meryem Cup

2015 Lalla Meryem Cup winner Gwladys NoceraGwladys Nocera made amends for the heartbreak of her play-off defeat 12 months ago by coming back and claiming a two stroke victory in the Lalla Meryem Cup at Golf de L’Ocean in Agadir.

The 39-year-old Frenchwoman sealed her 14th Ladies European Tour title, just three months after her last victory in the Hero Women’s Indian Open.

She started the day with a two stroke lead and a final round of one under par 70 was enough to end two strokes ahead of South Africa’s Nicole Garcia (70) and English duo Melissa Reid (66) and Felicity Johnson (67).


Garcia and Pace in prime position

Nicole GarciaSouth Africa’s Nicole Garcia fired a six-under-par 65 to vault to second in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, while compatriot Lee-Anne Pace cruised to a flawless 67 to tie for 12th in Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour on Friday.

On another low scoring day at the sun-kissed Golf de l’Ocean in Agadir, Garcia and 2014 runner-up Gwladys Nocera from France capitalised in the perfect conditions with 65s.

Nocera took pole position at nine-under-par 133, while Garcia finished a further stroke adrift.


Garcia sets pace in Morocco

Nicole GarciaNicole Garcia led the Sunshine Ladies Tour pack in the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco, while Lee-Anne Pace and Paula Reto got off to a slow start in the Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour on Thursday.

Garcia carded an opening 69 in the Ladies European Tour event at Golf de l’Ocean in Agadir to finish just two strokes behind pacesetters Tonje Daffinrud of Norway and Ursula Wikstrom of Finland.


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