Simon out of the SA Open

Digital StillCamera
Digital StillCamera

Ashleigh Simon has been forced to withdraw form this week's women's South African Open at Parkview Golf Club because of a recurring back injury.

The LPGA Tour star was set to join the country's leading women professionals Stacy Bregman, Lee-Ann Pace, Laurette Maritz and Morgana Robbertze, top amateurs Ashleigh Holmes and Bertine Strauss, and a selection of international professionals in the R100 000 tournament, which tees off today.

But Simon's father, Mike, has confirmed her withdrawal.

"The strange thing is her back does not hurt her when she swings, but when she is resting, walking, putting and even when she's lying down," said Mike Simon.

"She has been told by the physio it will get better with further treatment, but she has advised Ashleigh to get treatment this week and not play, and rather rest. We need to listen to all the advice we are getting so we can get her right once and for all.

"Needless to say, Ashleigh has not taken this decision lightly and is disappointed at having to withdraw."

In the absence of Simon, Bregman will lead the South African challenge at Parkview.

Bregman finished fourth in last year's Open at Durban Country Club on her way to a second-place finish on the overall order of merit that year.

A victory will certainly be in her sights as she prepares for what is expected to be another watershed season on the Ladies European Tour (LET) for her.

Denmark's Julie Tvede is back to defend the title she won at Durban Country Club last year.

The Open is at this stage the sole event on the local women's tour for 2009. - Sapa