While the vast majority of professional golf tournaments around the world were canceled because of coronavirus concerns, play at the Ladies European Tour continued, and on Saturday it was rookie Alice Hewson winning in her first career start.
Hewson, a 22-year-old Clemson product from England, won the Investec South African Women’s Open at Westlake Golf Club in Cape Town. Hewson finished at 5 under, a shot clear of runners-up Emma Nilsson and Monique Smit, after holing a 7-foot par putt at the final hole, two shots after clipping a tree branch with her approach shot.
"I couldn’t have hoped for a better start," Hewson said. "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."
Asked whether she thought the tournament should have been canceled or not, Hewson agreed with the decision to keep playing. Next week's event in Saudi Arabia, the Aramco Saudi Ladies International, has already been canceled.
“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 canceled," Hewson said. "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.”