Fletcher claims EP Match Play honours
Former Nomads SA Girls champion Michaela Fletcher defeated Potchefstroom’s Mae Cornforth 3 & 2 for the Eastern Province Match Play title on Tuesday.
By her own admission, Fletcher was not at her sharpest in the Stroke Play Championship, and shot rounds of 79 and 75 at Port Elizabeth Golf Club to tie for 12th and finish 12 shots behind winner Magda Kruger.
However, the 18-year-old Pietermaritzburg put her growing talent on display in the match play.
After eliminating Eastern Province hopeful Tara Griebenow 3 & 2 in the first round, Fletcher got past Western Province number one, Ji Sun Kang, in 4 & 2 and walloped another local player, Minette Olivier, 5 & 4 to reach the final.
Meanwhile Cornforth, who defeated Kruger for Boland Championship Match Play title in October, cruised past Crystal Cooper from Gauteng North in round one, but had a tougher time getting past the experienced Jacqui Ackers from Central Gauteng, who took the match to the 18th before Cornforth won 1-up.
Cornforth came up against Imkeleen Meyer in the semi-final, but the local favourite from Port Elizabeth Golf Club went down 3 & 2.
Fletcher described the final as a battle of wills.
“It was a very tightly contested fight between myself and Mae,” she said. “We both played really well and I think the fact that the match served up 11 birdies and an eagle, illustrates how badly we both wanted to win.”
Like EP Stroke Play champion Kruger, Fletcher put her golf on the back burner to concentrate on her studies and her school leaving certificate. She was thrilled to be back on the podium so early in the season.
“It’s great to get back into the winner’s circle again, especially after I put so much energy into my studies last year and neglected the golf a bit,” Fletcher said. “I didn’t play so well in the Stoke Play, so it was nice to redeem myself in the match play. And what an awesome to start my season, to already have a victory to my name.
The semi-finals of the B-Division Anye Verster from Southern Cape beat Louise van Niekerk from Border, while Sarah Blythe-Wood from Kingswood downed her club mate, Charne Williams.
Verster took the lead at the second hole and kept it until the 12th, but Blythe Wood proved a gritty opponent and the Kingswood amateur eventually won 2 & 1.
The C-Division was came down to two local golfers, Michelle Nieuwoudt Jenny Ririe, who took the title with a 3 & 2 result against Nieuwoudt.