Alice Hewson makes history by winning on first professional start at South African Open

James Corrigan
The Telegraph
Alice Hewson of England with her trophy at the Soouth Africa Open - Ladies European Tour
Alice Hewson of England with her trophy at the Soouth Africa Open - Ladies European Tour

Alice Hewson made history last year as the first English female ever to compete at Augusta National and on Saturday she prised the record books once again by becoming the first woman from her country to win on her very first start as a professional. 

Add to the fact that Hewson will be the last golfer to sample glory on a major tour for the foreseeable future and there is little wonder that the Hertfordshire 22-year-old described her one-shot win at the Ladies European Tour’s South African Open as a “dream come true”.

Hewson belied her status as a rookie by holing a gusty seven-footer on the 18th at Westlake Golf Club to post a one-under 71 for a five-under total to fend off South Africa’s Monique Smit and Sweden’s Emma Nilsson. 

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better start. It feels absolutely incredible,” said Hewson, who turned professional in September and finished fifth at LET Q-School in January.  “This has definitely happened a lot quicker than I thought it would.”

Hewson, who emulated Azahara Muñoz, the Solheim Cup from Spain, who prevailed on her professional bow at the Madrid Lades Masters in 2009, came into the pro ranks with a solid reputation having reached the top 20 in the world amateur rankings and having won last year’s Ladies European Amateur. 

Yet perhaps her most memorable feat was finishing in the top 10 of last year’s inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, when the green jackets finally opened up their gates to allow females to play a top-level competition on their famous fairways. 

The second staging of the ANWA is, of course, on hold following the postponement of the Masters because of the coronavirus pandemic and after The Players was cancelled following Thursday’s first round and after the LPGA Tour called off its next three events, including the ANA Inspiration, the first female major of the season, there were eyebrows raised when the LET decided to press on in Cape Town. 

“It was definitely the right decision to continue playing and it’s also the right decision that future tournaments have been cancelled,” Hewson said. “Everyone was already here and there was a very low risk 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.”

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