Du Toit on attack at SA Amateur Stroke Play

Gauteng North’s Danielle du Toit benefitted from extra work with the putter to charge into a three-way tie for the lead in the opening round of the Sanlam South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Sunday.

The reigning Nomads SA Girls champion racked up five birdies at The Wanderers Golf Club to join South Africa’s top ranked Kajal Mistry and Woo-Ju Son at three-under-par 69.

Du Toit won the North West Championship in February and the number three ranked player scored a top three finish in the KwaZulu-Natal Championship in early March. However, the 18-year-old Menlo Park matriculant has been forced to cut back on her competitive schedule this season.

“I’ve only played five events this year due to the academic workload, but I still try to practice for 30 minutes to an hour every day and I reaped the benefits of some extra work with the putter,” Du Toit said. “My ball striking was good, but not up to my usual standard. I managed to keep myself in play and the putter really came to the party.”

Du Toit sunk a seven metre putt at the fourth hole to set the tone for her opening round.

“I was disappointed to drop at the par-five seventh after a great tee shot, but I found the bunker with my 4-iron from the middle of the fairway. You can make birdie from just about anywhere at seven, except from the bunker.”

The Pretoria Country Club player hit back with successive birdies at nine and 10, but had a three-putt bogey at 12.

“I hit it close at 14 and made the birdie putt to cancel the second bogey and popped another birdie putt in the hole at 16 to get to three under. I’m really pleased. It’s a solid start and it puts me in the mix, which is way more than I could have hoped for coming into the championship.”

Mistry and Son, though, both rued bogeys at the finishing hole.

Both players were four under through 17 holes, but failing to save par at the 18th saw them join Du Toit at the top of the pile.

Mistry enjoyed an explosive start of three birdies in the first four holes, which included holing a 15 metre birdie putt at the third. The Randpark golfer bogeyed the sixth, but collected more gains at seven and 13.

“I always aim to shoot under par and I was happy to go three under, but it definitely could have been better,” said the 16-year-old Mistry, currently ranked first in the senior and junior rankings.

“Both bogeys were three-putts and frustrating. The course is in fantastic shape and the greens are rolling very true, but they are very fast downhill. I battled a little with the pace on my downhill putts, but overall, it’s a good start to build on.”

Fifteen-year-old Son already visited the winner’s circle twice on the senior circuit this season and boosted her junior title tally to three when she successfully defended her Curro SA Juniors International title in March.

The Country Club Johannesburg golfer offset a trio of bogeys with birdies at three, five, eight, 10, 13 and 14. “My drops were soft bogeys and I just have to get the pace right on the greens and commit to the putts,” said Son. “It’s a good start and I’m in a strong position with two rounds to play.”

Kaleigh Telfer had a stumbling start to her title defence with bogeys at one, four and six but the 18-year-old from Bryanston Country Club overturned the deficit with birdies at seven, 13 and 15 for an even-par 72. The Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation player shares fourth with Eleonora Galletti from Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and two-time Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl champion Catherine Lau from Woodhill Country Club.

Luzan Esterhuizen from King Williamstown carded an 11-over-par 83 to take a two shot lead in the B-Division over Phindo Mohlala from Modderfontein Golf Club and Senayah Moodliar from Umhlali Country Club.

A-Division Scores – Round 1 (top 20)
69 Danielle du Toit; Woo-Ju Son; Kajal Mistry
72 Kaleigh Telfer; Eleonora Galletti; Catherine Lau; Bianca Wernich
73 Katia Shaff; Kelsey Nicholas; Brittney-Fay Berger; Larissa du Preez
74 Caitlyn Macnab; Kaiyuree Moodley; Sarah Bouch; Symone Henriques; Casandra Hall; Kiera Floyd; Chloe Royston
75 Jordan Rothman; Lynette Fourie; Carmen Taljaard; Shawnelle de Lange

B-Division Scores – Round 1 (top 10)
83 Luzan Esterhuizen
85 Senayah Moodliar; Phindo Mohlala
86 Sinead Rice
87 Natalie Singer
88 Isabel Verwey; Marine Legentil; Genee Marais
89 Dejone’ Stemmett
91 Kim Turgut; Midge Cunnington

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.

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