South African Tandi Cuningham

South African Tandi Cuningham says that her focus will be on quality rather than quantity this season as she approaches the South African Women’s Open at Southbroom Golf Club from 19-21 April.

Tandi tied for 4th at the SA Women’s Open at Selborne Park last year and would be happy with another top-five finish.

However, ultimately, her dream would be to win her home tournament just a few days after her 27th birthday, as she sets out in her fifth season on the Ladies European Tour.

“I am not playing as many events this season as I normally would, I am focusing on playing more quality over quantity and making it count in the events that I do play, so preparing well and staying focused on this the whole season is important to me,” said Cuningham, who turns 27 on Wednesday, 17th April.

Regarding the SA Women’s Open, she said: “I have been preparing the same as I normally would for any event, with the exception of maybe playing more. I have done the final tinkering with my golf coach so now it’s just about getting settled and seeing what the week holds.”

Tandi has twice tied for second place in her five years on tour – firstly at the 2010 Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open, losing a four-way play-off to Laura Davies at DLF Golf and Country Club and secondly at the 2012 Lalla Meryem Cup at Golf de l’Ocean in Morocco.

Although she doesn’t know Southbroom Golf Course very well, Tandi will have the benefit of home advantage, playing in the warm, South African summer.

“I played Southbroom Golf Club many years ago, so in all honesty I do not remember the course setup and layout particularly well but I do remember that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a coastal course so factors that will have to be taken into consideration are the wind and weather, same as with all coastal courses.

“It will be much warmer compared to last year where the event was played in the middle of our winter. All round I think it a beautiful part of the country and the girls will have an enjoyable week both on and off the golf course.

“From what I can vaguely remember, the course is fairly narrow so a premium on accurate tee shots will be a must, especially when the wind picks up. Putting on any course needs to be sharp but the coastal grainy greens can sometimes be difficult to read.”

One way that Tandi has been taking advantage of the favourable weather is by learning to slalom ski on water during the off-season and she added:  “South African weather is always good; we are very spoilt with our weather here compared to places like Europe and the UK. Our summers are always hot with loads of sunshine and our winters are mild with no snow. It might snow once every 10 years if we are lucky! You can play golf all year round and always have a golfer’s tan! We are generally an outdoor nation with so much to see and do. It’s not uncommon to see people running, walking their dogs or riding bikes anytime of the day, all year round.”

Her goals for the 2013 season are lofty: to win an event on the LET and post more consistent scores and finishes throughout, starting with the SA Women’s Open.

She commented: “I would like to be in the top 20 on the Order of Merit at the end of the season” – an achievable goal, especially if she gets off to a great start in SA!

Tandi slalom skiing on water