Big battles looming at SA Mid-Amateur

Southern Cape golfer Sonja Bland kept a tentative hold on to her overnight lead of the South African Mid-Amateur Championship, but the Southern Cape golfer will have some company at the top going into the final round at Graceland Hotel, Casino and Country Club on Wednesday.

While Bland dropped seven shots in her first nine holes and finished on 10 over 82 after three more bogeys over the back nine at the tough-scoring Gary Player designed layout, Gauteng’s Sheryl Matthews quietly worked her way into contention with a 76.

The pacesetters lead the championship division on 15-over-par 159 and will take a slender two shot cushion over Carina Theron from Free State & Northern Cape into the final day.

Theron carded an 89 to finish two shots clear of fourth placed Millie Donsashe from Border, who fell back to fourth after a triple bogey eight at the par-five 10 that led to a 91.

Notwithstanding her troubles, Bland remains positive about her chance.

“I really don’t like to have a post-mortem after a round like that because, regardless of what the scoreboard says, I actually played really well,” she said. “There is not much one can do about bad lies, bad bounces off sprinkler heads and that kind of thing, but I think I need to rethink my club selection.

“We went off early, when there was still a breeze out there and I made a few bad choices.”

Bland also found the scorching heat a bother, but the higher the mercury rose, the better Matthews seemed to play.

“I really enjoyed myself out there and the weather was a great bonus,” said Matthews. “It’s great to be in with a chance to win, but I won’t think about that too much out there. Sonja is a great competitor and she could suddenly turn hot, so I need to focus from the first swing.”

Dordrecht’s Louise Van Niekerk took a four shot cushion into the second round of the B-Division for 10-18 handicaps and closed with a 95 to stay ahead at 32 over, but the Border player’s 36-hole target was met by Rene Matthee from Ekurhuleni, who navigated the tricky layout in 86 strokes.

The leading duo is two shots clear of Patrizia Lombard from Mpumalanga, who signed for a 91.

Meanwhile North West are dominating the C-Division for 19-24 handicaps.

Karen Gird overtook first round pacesetter Janine Myburgh, adding 34 points to her opening 32 to take control with 66 points.

Gird is four points clear of Myburgh, who picked up 28 points, and five ahead of Carol Paxton, who collected 32 points to move to sole third.

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