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Fletcher on fire as favourites stumble in Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur

Michael Vlismas reports

BENONI (10 July 2012) – The Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship has been thrown wide open, with all of the favourites knocked out of the tournament on a thrilling second day at Benoni Country Club on Tuesday.
South African number one Kim Williams and reigning SA Stroke Play champion Nobuhle Dlamini were beaten in the quarterfinals on Tuesday afternoon, while Bertine Strauss couldn’t get past the third round earlier in the day.
Williams was beaten 3/1 by Michaela Fletcher, while Dlamini’s hopes of winning the double went down with her 2/1 defeat against Bonita Bredenhann.
Earlier, Strauss was beaten 3/1 by Bianca Theron, who went on to beat Talia Nel 2/1 to qualify for the semi-finals.
Williams was always under pressure against Fletcher, the reigning SA Girls champion. Fletcher putted superbly and the KwaZulu-Natal golfer turned 3up. She was still 3up through 12 holes before Williams fought back to 1down through 15. But Fletcher holed a three-footer on 17 to take the win.
“She putted so well. I was hitting it close and she kept making putts from everywhere. If she keeps on putting like this she’ll win this,” said Williams, who earlier beat Nicole Loesch 4/2 to make it to the quarterfinals.
Fletcher was delighted with her victory. “Whenever you beat the country’s number one it gives you a lot of confidence. I just told myself I had nothing to lose.”
Dlamini, ranked second in the country, went through to the quarters with a comfortable 4/3 victory over Cara Gorlei. But her putting form deserted her in the afternoon against the big-hitting Bredenhann.
“My ball striking was of the best it’s ever been, but my putter just went cold on me. I’m gutted because the double was there for me to achieve,” she said.
Young Pretoria golfer Magda Krüger kept her challenge on track with two solid victories. Krüger beat Monja Richards 1up in the third round and relied heavily on her excellent short game, which yielded an eagle on the par-five 10th.
And then she beat Lejan Lewthwaite 4/3 in the quarters, including a chip-in for birdie on the sixth to halve that hole.
With every round Krüger is in new territory for someone playing in only her second SA Amateur. “There’s no pressure on me. I’m just going to keep enjoying it,” she said.
Krüger will take on Fletcher in Wednesday morning’s first semi-final, followed by Bredenhann against Theron.
The final will be played in the afternoon.

Scores from Round 3 and the quarterfinals of the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Match Play Championship played at Benoni Country Club on Tuesday:

ROUND 3
Magda Krüger defeated Monja Richards 1up
Lejan Lewthwaite defeated Eugenie Clack 3/2
Michaela Fletcher defeated Sammy Barber 2/1
Kim Williams defeated Nicole Loesch 4/2
Bonita Bredenhann defeated Crystal Cooper 5/3
Nobuhle Dlamini defeated Cara Gorlei 4/3
Bianca Theron defeated Bertine Strauss 3/2
Talia Nel defeated Kim Daniels 2up

QUARTERFINALS
Magda Krüger defeated Lejan Lewthwaite 4/3
Michaela Fletcher defeated Kim Williams 3/1
Bonita Bredenhann defeated Nobuhle Dlamini 2/1
Bianca Theron defeated Talia Nel 2/1

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