Fletcher seeks Nomads SA Girls double

KwaZulu-Natal’s Michaela Fletcher will rely on the short stick when she starts her title defence at the Nomads SA Girls Championship at Orkney Golf Club this Sunday.

The top South African junior delivered an impressive performance to win the championship division of this prestigious national event by four strokes from Gauteng North’s Carrie Park last year. However, the 17-year-old Pietermaritzburg High School matriculant says her studies have had to take priority this year and she is not in the same blistering form as last year.

“My game is good, but definitely not at the same level as this time last year,” Fletcher said. “I’ve really had to put my nose to the grindstone, so I’ve had to cut my schedule this year.

“I’ve mainly concentrated on the national events and a couple of regional tournaments, but I’m still going into the tournament with a lot of confidence.

“The Orkney course demands accuracy into the greens and a hot putter and I’m pretty hot with the putter at the moment, so I’m quietly confident that I can put up a good fight in my title defence.”

This year’s championship has drawn 127 entries from 13 unions as well as one player from Namibia, who will compete in four categories. The A-Division (handicaps nine and under) and B-Division (10-18) compete over 54-holes of stroke play, while the C-Division (19-23) and D-Division (24-30) is played over 36 holes individual stableford.

Fletcher had a look at the opposition during the recent 72 Holes Teams Championship and expects some tough competition.

“The top ranked players will be hungry to win and hard to beat,” the reigning Sanlam Cancer Challenge champion said.

“I’m sure Carrie will be looking to exact revenge for finishing second last year. She carried the Southdowns team in the Retief Goosen SA High School Championship last week, so she is coming into the tournament with some great form.

“Players like Bianca Theron from Boland, Magda Kruger from Gauteng North and Cara Gorlei and Ji Sun Kang from Western Province will make my job even tougher, because they all performed well in the 72 Hole at Maccauvlei.”

The SA Girls Championship is sponsored by Nomads and funding for the tournament is sourced through the organisation’s Furtherance of Golf programme.

Womens Golf South Africa president Cynthia Rayner explained that the generous sponsorship allows the unions to bring their top players, as well as a large contingent of younger players to the event.

“The Nomads sponsorship gives us the opportunity to provide our top juniors with a wonderful competitive platform,” Rayner said.

“The sponsorship provides the financial support for the unions to bring more juniors than they normally would and this is fantastic for their individual development programmes. Western Province is bringing a group of 30 juniors, while Gauteng North, Gauteng and Ekurhuleni have 34 players. The higher handicapped players work really hard during the year in order to be included in their Union allocation.”

The Nomads SA Girls Championship tees off on Sunday, 23 June to Tuesday, 25 June and live scoring will once again be available via the WGSA website www.wgsa.co.za.

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