Durban - South Africa’s Olympian female golfer, Paula Reto, will miss the SA Women’s Open because of a schedule clash with the Ladies PGA (LPGA) tour.
The Open is scheduled to tee off at San Lameer Country Club on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast on January 26.
Reto was one of the sporting greats who participated in the Gary Player Invitational charity tournament, which took place at the Lost City Golf Club in Sun City in North West two weeks ago.
Cape Town-born Reto, who plays under the US-based LPGA, expressed regret at being unable to attend, saying it was impossible for her to do so.
“I would have loved to compete in the 2017 Open, but my schedule in the US will be hectic as I will be competing at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic at Paradise Island in the Bahamas on January 28,” said Reto.
The Open, founded in 1988 by the Women’s Professional Golfers Association, is one of the premier events on the Ladies European Tour.
Reto (26), who finished tied 30th in the Open in 2014, added: “Many talented local players will be playing in that tournament and it would have been great to compete against them.”
Reto and Ashleigh Simon represented South Africa at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August, but were eliminated in the early rounds.
SA Women’s Open tournament promoter Lesley Copeman said: “Many fans would have loved to see Paula in action at home. It is a pity she won’t be here. But at least Ashleigh will be playing in the event.”
Copeman added that the country’s top golfing export, defending champion Lee-Anne Pace, would compete as she hoped to win the national championship for a record third time.
Tandi Cunningham and UK golfer Rebecca Hudson had also entered.
Copeman was hopeful that the remaining top local players, as well as a number of international contestants, would enter to compete by the closing date of January 10.