Garcia hunts GNGU Women’s Open double
Ekurhuleni’s Nicole Garcia underlined her growing stature when she claimed an emphatic seven stroke victory in the Gauteng North Golf Union’s Womens Open Championship Stroke Play qualifier at Centurion Country Club on Monday.
The victory was her third this season, following triumph at the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship at Randpark Golf Club and the Free State & Northern Cape Championship title at Clarens Golf Estate in May.
The 22-year-old Ebotse Golf and Country Club golfer will hope to make it four-in-a-row when she starts the elusive ‘double’ chase in the match play, which tees off at Centurion on Tuesday.
This year’s GNGU Womens Open Championship drew its largest field ever and the mercury barely broke freezing point on Sunday morning when 64 of the country’s top amateurs began the title hunt.
Garcia and Carrie Park from Irene topped the leaderboard on four-under-par 68, with the country’s top two amateurs, Nobuhle Dlamini and Kim Williams, within striking distance at even-par.
Garcia put some distance between herself and her challengers with a second round 72 to move to four under 140, while Williams moved into second on her own on 144 with another 72. Dlamini finished three strokes further back after a second round 75.
Garcia said the gusting wind made conditions very tricky in the afternoon.
“The weather warmed up nicely, but it was pretty windy out there,” she explained. “It was like playing a completely different course, because the green dried out, so you had to adapt your approach shots quite a bit.”
In Monday’s final round, the Ekurhuleni golfer completed the front nine in two under and came home in even-par for a closing 70 for a winning total of six-under-par 210.
This left her seven shots clear of Williams, who carded a 73 to finish on one over 217. Gauteng North’s Magda Kruger shot a 72 to leapfrog Dlamini for third place on 221 after the world number three closed with an expensive 76.
The B-Division was won by first round leader, Simone Henriques from Glenvista, who also recently lifted the Girls B-Division title at the Nomads SA Girls Championship at Orkney last week.
Henriques carded rounds of 84-84-79 for a winning total of 247 to edge out Caitlyn MacNab from State Mines by three strokes.
TOP TEN LEADERBOARD
210 – Nicole Garcia (Ebotse) 68 72 70
217 – Kim Williams (The Els Club) 72 72 73
221 – Magda Kruger (Centurion) 76 73 72
223 – Nobuhle Dlamini (Centurion) 72 75 76
224 Lejan Lethwaite (Benoni Lake) 73-74-77; Carrie Park (Irene) 68-79-77
225 Izel Pieters (Sabie River Bungalows) 76 76 73
229 Lara Weinstein (Royal Johannesburg & Kensington) 78 74 77
232 Ivanna Samu (Roodepoort) 75 80 77; Rozanne van der Walt (Woodhill) 83 72 77