After a solid start to the Ladies European Tour season at the Magical Kenya Ladies Open, Peel golfer Ana Dawson was agonisingly close to winning the opening event on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in South Africa at the weekend, only being overhauled in the final few holes.

Despite some tricky conditions, the eventual champion - experienced, two-time LET winner Kylie Henry - played her final 10 holes in an impressive three under par to overhaul Dawson on the final few holes, after the two-time Isle of Man women’s champion had held a narrow lead which she had defended doggedly since the opening round.

There were still plenty of positives on the final day for the former Peel Golf Club member, with her swing and temperament holding up well despite the pressure and some fine approach play on the back nine giving her some decent looks at birdies over the closing holes.

But the putts slid agonisingly past on the slick South African greens, leaving Dawson needing to gamble and aim for an eagle on the final hole to force a play-off.

Unfortunately, it was not to be, but her joint third-place finish is undoubtedly the best result so far in her professional career. There was also the consolation of winning the Pro-Am event with her amateur partner by an impressive eight shots.

The last nine holes of the event were broadcast live on South African TV, with the commentators speaking in glowing terms about Dawson’s potential, and some of her shot-making down the stretch, identifying her as a superstar in the making as well as making her Isle of Man heritage a major talking point. 

back in action

There is not much opportunity to rest on laurels though, as the next Sunshine Tour event started only a few days later in Lost City yesterday (Wednesday).

Having planted the Manx flag at the top of the leaderboard during both of the last two events, Dawson will be hoping to have it flying there at the end of the Lost City event and cement what has been an outstanding start to the season.