Experience gives Theron edge at Southern Cape Championship

Just a few weeks after her debut in the Girls British Amateur Open Championship in England, South Africa’s leading junior Bianca Theron applied the experience gained at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham and St Annes to claim a two shot victory in the weather-reduced Southern Cape Championship in George on Sunday.

The 16-year-old Boland golfer opened with a 77 in windy conditions at Kingswood Golf Estate on Saturday for a one shot lead over Nicole Garcia from Ekurhuleni. However, the second round had to be called off when the wind speed reached 60 km per hour, rendering the course unplayable.

She posted a 74 in the second round on Sunday to beat Garcia on a winning score of seven over 151.

Although Theron won the Nomads WGWP Junior Championship in January and has risen to fourth in the senior rankings with consistent performances this season, the lanky blonde golfer from Devonvale said this victory was definitely due to the lessons she learned in England in August.

“Magda (Kruger) and I were pretty disappointed with our performances at the Girls British Amateur Open, but everyone kept telling us to focus on the experience and on what we learned over there, not the scores we shot,” Theron explained.

“After we were knocked out, we followed the field around with our president Cynthia Rayner. We watched how the local players dealt with the windy conditions at Fairhaven and I must have learned more than I realised.

“The wind was really brutal on Saturday, but I stayed very calm and just focused to shape my using the wind, the way I saw them play. I was surprised to see that I was leading after the first round, especially under those conditions. It was a lot easier in the second round, but I think the key was how I managed my game in the first round.”

Garcia also teed it up in two senior amateur championships in England this August and also applied her experience to stay in touch with rounds of 78 and 75.

“I don’t think I could have performed as well as I did if it wasn’t for playing in windy conditions in the two championships in England,” she said.

“If I compare this performance to how I played Milnerton in the wind during the Sanlam SA Womens Amateur, I completely understand why I was knocked out in the semi-finals. You really have to learn to play in conditions like these and how to adapt your course management.

“It’s great to know that I’m making progress.”

The B-Division for handicaps 10-18 was won by local favourite Anya Verster, who carded rounds of 88 and 82 to beat Adrienne Kruger by seven shots, while Southern Cape’s Linchen Baruch won the C-Division for 19-26 handicaps with 64 points.

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