News of a winner-takes-all prize worth R100 000 for the final event in the 2016 Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies sent a huge ripple of excitement through the field starting the SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Huddle Park this morning.
Over the last seven tournaments, professionals have been accumulating points to try and finish in the top 10 in the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Points Standing to qualify for the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s showpiece at Millvale Private Retreat next week.
On the line is the opportunity to win the season finale and rake in the lion’s share of the R1-million Bonus Pool on offer.
The cash prize has fired up rookie Bertine Strauss.
The 24-year-old Koster golfer competed in only three events due to her LPGA Tour commitments, and is precariously perched in the number 10 spot following her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour breakthrough at the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Sun City on Friday.
“If I needed anymore motivation to pull a rabbit out of the hat this week to make the top 10, this prize money announcement has done it,” Strauss said.
“I needed a great week at Sun City to get into the top 10, and I got the job done. Now Investec, the Sunshine Tour and its partners have given me a massive reason to go for back-to-back victories.
“Lee-Anne (Pace) has won the final event and the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies two years running, but I believe I can give her a run for her money.
“I grew up playing Millvale and I know the course like the back of my hand. But I will need to win the SuperSport Ladies Challenge to get the maximum points, because I’m 950 points behind Lee-Anne.
“If I can close the gap on her, I have half a chance to beat her for the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, but now I definitely want to bank that R100K.”
The 10 qualifiers for the final event will be duelling for first place cheque worth R400 000, while the balance of the R1-million Bonus Pool will be divvied up to the rest of the field in the order that they finish in the final points standing.
It’s all to play for in the penultimate counting event for Strauss, but four-time Sunshine Ladies Tour champion Stacy Bregman was equally psyched about the R100 000 prize announcement.
“This year’s Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies is tighter than ever and the cash prize is going to raise the stakes even more,” said the number five ranked player.
“The standard of golf is definitely a lot higher this season because the winning margins have been so much smaller than in previous years.
“Millvale is the kind of course that doesn’t only benefit the long hitters and it rewards accuracy and good course management. The cream of the crop are heading to Millvale, so this added incentive is going to set a cat among the pigeons. This year’s final is wide open.”
The Sunshine Tour’s top 16 will still be vying for their share of the R10-million Chase to the Investec Cup Bonus Pool, while the winner of their final event at Millvale from 9-12 March will collect a cash prize of R250 000.
In addition to their winner’s cheques, both champions will also receive a Montblanc watch.
By Lali Stander