Melissa Eaton is intent on continuing her solid run on the Sunshine Ladies Tour and the KwaZulu-Natal golfer hopes to go one better in the inaugural Cape Town Ladies Open, which tees off at Royal Cape Golf Club on Wednesday. The Port Shepstone player lost the Sun International Ladies Challenge title by one stroke to Stacy Bregman in early February and Bregman beat her by the same margin in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am on Sunday. However, two runner-up finishes either side of a top 10 at Glendower catapulted Eaton to the second position in the Chase to the 2015 Ladies Investec Cup.
This has fired up the former Symetra Tour winner and she is going all out for her first Sunshine Ladies Tour title over the next two days in Ottery. The experienced coastal player says: ‘Hopefully the forecast is accurate and it really blows on Wednesday, because that will give me a chance again to get off to a good start. I was only going to compete in a few of the Sunshine Ladies Tour events initially to warm up for my first Ladies European Tour event, the Lalla Meryam Cup in Morocco. The standard of golf is really high and I am enjoying myself so much that I have decided to go all out to make the top 10 in the standings and qualify for the Investec Cup for Ladies in March. I definitely want to challenge for the R600 000 bonus Investec has put up this year and I know the other girls have the same goal.’ Eaton will be competing in Morocco alongside Bregman, as well as Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champions Nicole Garcia and Kim Williams, two-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Monique Smit and regular Sunshine Ladies Tour player Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia.
She says: ‘We are all gunning for a spot in the Investec Cup for Ladies, so we will be cutting it very fine. We would have to leave immediately after the event to fly to Morocco and we will only have one practice round, but the incentives on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year are just too good to pass up. I didn’t play last year, but I heard all about it from my twin (Nicola Eaton Gutzeit). It is absolutely fantastic to have a Tour at home again and wonderful to see our top players come back to support it. Stacy and I have gone head-to-head twice now and I know she will be aiming for a hat-trick this week, but my game is coming around nicely. If the wind blows, I might be in with a chance to take it this week.’ Bregman leads the standings with 698 points, but Eaton lags only 155 points behind in second. Eaton says: ‘A victory at the Cape Town Ladies Open on Thursday is worth 250 points. That would definitely keep me in the running in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies. Plus, we all know Lee-Anne Pace is heading home next month and will be competing in the last two events. Lee-Anne is always a threat, so we are all chasing some solid performances right now to secure our spots in the top 10.’
Photo: KwaZulu-Natal’s Melissa Eaton
Photo credit: Catherine Kotze / SASPA