Johannesburg – Stacy Bregman, Ashleigh Simon and Lee-Anne Pace will spearhead the South African contingent at the Ladies European Masters in Denham, England, starting on Thursday.
The trio entered the competition on the back of some superb performances on the Ladies European Tour (LET) and LPGA last week.
Bregman, the reigning Zambia Ladies Open champion, vaulted to eighth in the rankings and hoped her current run of form would carry her to a podium finish in Buckinghamshire this week.
“I did a lot of work with my coach, Neville Sundelson, this season and during the recent break and it feels like I’m getting closer to victory all the time,” Bregman said on Wednesday.
“You always drop a couple of shots, so you accept that. The Italian Open was a great warm-up for me, though, and I’m looking forward this week.
“I’ve played two practice rounds already and will fit another in before we tee off. The course is in fantastic condition and I’m pretty confident going into the week.”
Two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Monique Smit made the most of a rare start on the LET to claim a share of 27th on four over 220 alongside compatriot Connie Chen, while LET rookie Kim Williams bounced back from a missed cut in Italy to tie for 59th.
Simon came close to clinching the title last year after losing by a single shot to seven-time Major champion Karrie Webb.
Last week, Simon and Pace battled delays, suspensions and harsh weather conditions in Rogers to earn cheques at the LPGA’s Arkansas Championship.
Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Simon made the cut on the button with rounds of 70 and 72 and a final round 68 lifted her to a tie for 37th on three-under-par 210.
Investec Cup for Ladies champion Pace opened with a 68, shot a second round 73 and rallied with a 71 in the final round for a share of 54th on one-under 212.
Simon and Pace were among 48 tournament winners lining up this week and would join the action at the 18-hole John Jacobs-designed championship course in Buckinghamshire alongside Sunshine Ladies Tour regulars Bregman, Williams, Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia and Swaziland’s Nobuhle Dlamini, as well as Chen.
Other top names in the 144-strong field include defending champion Webb from Australia, four time Major winner Laura Davies, 2014 LET champions Charley Hull and Kylie Walker from Britain and 12-time LET champion Gwladys Nocera from France. – Sapa