CAPE TOWN - 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.
The Ladies European Tour (LET) campaigner, who started the day two shots behind leaders Cara Gorlei and amateur Caitlyn Macnab, fired a round of one-under-par 73 at Royal Cape Golf Club to finish the 54-hole event tied with local hope Gorlei on 4-under-par 218.
Ultimately, it took a special putt for birdie to separate the clubhouse leaders in the ensuing sudden-death play-off.
With Gorlei having already played an exquisite bunker shot to tap-in distance for par on the second trip down the closing hole, Gidali’s 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.
The 27-year-old Gidali is the 13th international champion and the fourth French player to enjoy success since the Sunshine Ladies Tour launched in 2014.
In 2019, Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch combined for victory in the Serengeti Team Championship and LET winner Anne-lise Caudal lifted the Jabra Ladies Classic title at Glendower in 2019.
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.
Three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Lejan Lewthwaite finished third on two-under.
Reigning South African Amateur champion Macnab edged to a threeshot 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 No. 1 finish fourth on one-under.