While the rest of the golfing world were downing tools, England's Alice Hewson made the perfect start to her life on the Ladies European Tour with a win in South Africa
Finally, some uplifting golf news. A year ago Alice Hewson was finishing 10th in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur – now, on her first start on the Ladies European Tour, she captured the South African Open.
The 22-year-old, who reached a high of World No. 16 as an amateur, turned pro only last September before coming through the Q School in January.
She went into the final round three behind Olivia Cowan but ended the third and final round of Monique Smit and Emma Nilsson.
Hewson birdied the par-5 13 to take the lead and held on with five pars to finish, the final one being the most dramatic.
The two-time Curtis Cup player and European Ladies Amateur champion of 2019 as her approach caught the trees but a pitch and a seven-foot putt gave her a 71 and her first win on tour.
“The 18th was a bit of a highlight because I was in a bit of trouble off the tee and was still in trouble after my third shot,” explained Hewson. “I couldn’t have hoped for a better start. It feels absolutely incredible and it really is a dream come true. Growing up as a kid, all I could ever dream of was playing on the Ladies European Tour and to come and win my first event, the feeling is indescribable.
“This has definitely happened a lot quicker than I thought it would. I was hoping to get off to a nice steady start but this is definitely a good thing!”
— Sunshine Ladies Tour (@SLadiesTour) March 14, 2020
As for talk of the coronavirus pandemic and whether the tournament should have taken place – this week’s event in Saudi Arabia has been cancelled – Hewson added: “I think it was definitely the right decision that we continued playing this week and it’s also the right decision that future tournaments have been cancelled.
“Everyone was already here and there is a very low risk here so it was nice to be able to play some golf because we don’t know how long it’s going to be now before we will again.”
The event was co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Smit’s second place gave her the money list title which was special for a collection of reasons.
“Right now it’s very surreal. Standing over the final putt, I knew I had to hole it and I just felt extremely confident. That putt earned me my travel money for the year.
“My mum passed away last year and in every tournament this season, I’ve thought of her because she always used to caddie for me on the Sunshine Ladies Tour. Facing that final putt, I really felt her and that putt was for my mum.”
Ladies European Tour South African Open leaderboard
-5 Alice Hewson
-4 Monique Smit, Emma Nilsson
-3 Manon Gidali, Manon de Roey, Kelsey MacDonald
-2 Agathe Sauzon, Julia Engstrom, Emily Kristine Pedersen, Maha Haddioui, Meghan MacLaren, Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso, Olivia Cowan