Contomathios leads Nomads WP Junior Champs
Gauteng golfer Chiara Contomathios has the early jump on the rest of the field in the first round of the Nomads WGWP Junior Championship at the Metropolitan Golf Club on Saturday.
The 14-year-old was the only player to navigate the lengthened 5,325 meter layout in even-par, which earned her a one shot lead from the country’s top ranked junior, Bianca Theron.
Contomathios finished three strokes clear from another Boland junior, Bianca Lohbauer, Sarah Bouch from Ekurhuleni and fellow Gauteng golfer, Kaleigh Telfer, a two-time winner late last season.
Shwanelle de Lange, also from Gauteng, moved into sixth with a 74, while Ji Sun Kang, who captured the Boland Junior Championship on Thursday, signed for an opening 75 and a share of fifth with fellow Western Province golfer Cara Gorlei and Minette Olivier from the Eastern Province.
Contamathios rose to prominence when she won the B-Section at the 2012 Sanlam SA Womens Stroke Play at Umhlali before graduating to the A-Division, where she enjoyed a number of top 20 finishes last season.
Contomathios reversed an early stumble at the second with a birdie at the par-three sixth, before parring her way to the turn. The Modderfontein golfer picked up another birdie at the 10th and wiped out an errant bogey at 11 with back-to-back birdies at the 12th and 13th.
However, disaster struck at the two closing holes, though, and two successive bogeys left Contomathios with some food for thought.
“I should have played my own game, but I pushed too hard to finish under par and paid the price,” she admitted. “I’ll have to watch out for that in the second round. With players like Bianca and Ji Sun on my back, it’s going to be important that I focus on my game.
“I can’t afford to think about winning, yet. I will have to take it one shot at a time and not get ahead of myself or push too hard.”
The long-legged junior pulled her tee shot at the 17th slightly, and overcompensated with her five-wood approach, leaving herself with a very long first putt from the far right of the green.
“I left the first putt short and missed the second,” she explained. “At the 18th, I hit a four-iron into the par-three but found the right greenside bunker. I didn’t want to short change myself again, so I played a safe bunker shot and two-putted for bogey.”
Theron, meanwhile, overcame a pair of bogeys at the start of the round with birdies at the 11th and 14th, but dropped a shot at the par-four 17th to close with a 71.
The 54-hole Championship Division will conclude with 36 holes played on Sunday, while the B-Division for handicaps 10-18 and C-Division for handicaps 19-24 will be contested over 36 holes only and the D-division for handicaps 25-35 handicaps will play 18 holes on Sunday afternoon.