JOHANNESBURG, 27 January 2016 – Rebecca Hudson frequently pulls out her seven-wood against the long hitters on the Ladies European Tour. Little wonder then that the Englishwoman relied on her trusty companion to guarantee her victory in the Chase to the Investec Cup at Houghton Golf Club on Wednesday.

Needing par at the closing hole to win, Hudson’s well-loved club got her safely on the green in two. She lagged a 60 foot putt very close and became the first international Sunshine Ladies Tour winner since the Tour launched in 2014 when she tidied up for an even-par 72.

A four-time Ladies European Tour champion and former SA Women’s Open winner, Hudson was quite emotional after defeating local hopes Stacy Bregman and Ashleigh Simon by one stroke a winning score of four-under-par 212.

“I’m just glad that I didn’t know I would become the first international winner before I hit that first putt, because it never would have come out so well,” Hudson said.

“I used to come out to South Africa all the time and I was really disappointed when the Tour disbanded some years ago. When I heard about the new Sunshine Ladies Tour last year, I came out and I knew I would be back this year.

“I regret not playing more events last year and not staying for the final event, because this is such a fantastic Tour for us to start the season. The standard is high, the events are very well organised and we play top golf courses.

“This year I’m playing to get into the top 10 for the final event. I want a shot at the R1-million and I want to give Lee-Anne (Pace) and the other local players a run for their money at Millvale.”

Hudson started the final round in the lead at four under after earlier rounds of 71 and 69. The 36-year-old Wheatley golfer had a one shot cushion over Swiss amateur Azelia Meichtry, had a two stroke lead over Simon and started three shots ahead of Bregman.

“I haven’t been in contention for some time and I don’t mind to admit that I was pretty terrified before we started,” said Hudson.

She mixed bogeys at four, eight, 13 and 17 with birdies at five, seven, 14 and 15 and, although she came under attack from Meichtry and the SA pair, Hudson never relinquished the lead.

“The greens were tricky and I think we all battled a bit today,” Hudson said.

“On some holes, the ball would veer right or left just before the hole. You allow a little at the next hole and the putt goes dead straight. I hit it close at 13 and told the girls I’d finish, but I missed a tap-in putt for par… I was just happy that no cameramen filmed that embarrassing moment.”

Bregman and Simon turned up the heat over the closing holes when Bregman birdied 15 and 17 to tie Hudson at four under and Simon moved to three under with a birdie at 15.

“I knew needed pars at the last two holes, but the nerves got to me at 17,” Hudson said.

“I hit my approach in the greenside bunker and couldn’t up and down. Stacy was up ahead on 18 and reached the green in two and I definitely felt the pressure coming down the 18th fairway.

“When I saw her toss her ball away, I figured she didn’t birdie to take the outright lead. I pulled out the seven-wood to get on the green and it didn’t fail me. Then I heard that Stacy dropped at 18. It was a relief to know I had two putts to win.

“It feels brilliant to lift a trophy again. Last year Kirsty Fisher, who also competes on the Ladies European Tour, travelled with me to South Africa. She couldn’t come out earlier, but it’s going to be a lot of fun to shove this lovely silver plate under her nose when she gets here on Friday. She has some catching up to do.”

 

FINAL RESULT

212 – Rebecca Hudson ENG 71 69 72

213 – Stacy Bregman 71 72 70, Ashleigh Simon 69 73 71

216 – Carrie Park KOR 71 73 72

217 – Nicole Garcia 71 74 72

218 – Bonita Bredenhann NAM 75 71 72

219 – Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 71 76 72, Kim Williams 72 74 73, Monique Smit 69 76 74

220 – Tandi von Ruben 79 72 69

221 – Liezl Klotz 76 71 74, Ivanna Samu (AMA) 72 73 76, Azelia Meichtry (AMA) SUI 73 68 80

222 – Caitlyn Macnab (AMA) 75 72 75

224 – Melissa Eaton 73 73 78

226 – Alana van Greuning 78 76 72

227 – Alexandra Lennartsson SWE 71 80 76, Cecilie Lundgreen NOR 77 74 76, Francesca Cuturi 77 72 78

228 – Laurette Maritz 74 77 77

229 – Mae Cornforth 77 78 74, Monja Richards 78 79 72

230 – Elina Bergvall SWE 75 80 75, Anna Scott ENG 76 74 80

231 – Larissa Du Preez (AMA) 73 79 79

232 – Chiara Contomathios (AMA) 74 80 78, Maria Roos SWE 83 73 76, Carmia van Wyk 77 80 75

233 – Woo-Ju Son (AMA) 75 80 78

234 – Lejan Lewthwaite 77 79 78, Michelle Leigh 73 86 75

237 – Cindy Dalton (AMA) 77 77 83, Virginie Roques FRA 79 78 80

238 – Eva Steinberger AUT 82 78 78

240 – Hanna Roos SWE 82 78 80

241 – Shawnelle de Lange (AMA) 77 85 79, Anne Sophie Le Nalio FRA 85 77 79

242 – Lynette Pretorius (AMA) 85 81 76

243 – Leanda Schulze 84 81 78

244 – Crystal Cooper (AMA) 83 80 81, Natasha Carlsson (AMA) 80 85 79, Crizelda van Niekerk 85 82 77

246 – Amy Henning 79 83 84

249 – Henriette Frylinck 83 8