One professional golf tournament was played Saturday — and the winner ended it in dramatic fashion

March 14, 2020
Alice Hewson South African Women's Open

A professional golf tournament was played on Saturday.

A golfer won on Saturday, their first victory as a pro. The golfer even did so after hitting a tree with their second shot, getting up-and-down from there for par on the 18th.

Feels a bit good to know all of that. Professional golf was played in the face of the coronavirus. Feels a bit unnerving, too. Professional golf was played in the face of the coronavirus.

In what might be the only professional golf event of both the day and the near future due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Alice Hewson fired a 1-under 71 to win the Ladies European Tour’s South African Women’s Open in Cape Town, South Africa.

“It’s incredible. It’s a great jump-start,” Hewson said on the tour’s website. “I’m looking forward to hopefully playing more this season.”

That, of course, is as up in the air as one of Hewson’s drives.

Saturday’s tournament was finished despite nearly every other professional sports organization either canceling or postponing their events, including the PGA Tour, which Thursday canceled the remainder of the Players Championship and the next three events, and the Augusta National Golf Club, which Friday postponed the Masters. Earlier this week, the next event on the Ladies European Tour, the Saudi Ladies International, was postponed, and the tour’s next scheduled event is now in May.

Hewson did her part to give professional golf fans something to remember.

Starting the day three shots back of the lead, Hewson, a native of England and a former Clemson University golfer, birdied the first hole at Westlake Golf Club, took the sole lead after the 10th hole, was part of a seven-way tie atop the leaderboard after her bogey on 11, then took the lead for good after her birdie on 13.

Her first professional victory did not come easily from there. On the 371-yard 18th, her approach hit a tree, but she was able to scramble out to give herself about a 5-footer for the victory. Two practice putts, a wipe of the club face and then the par gave her the trophy.

“I couldn’t have hoped for a better start,” Hewson told the Ladies European Tour. “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.”

Maybe a good thing for golf fans, too. Alice Hewson, the last professional golf champion of March — and for likely a bit longer.

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