Giantkiller Kang targets Sanlam SA Amateur glory

The first bit of wind to sweep across the Milnerton links in this week’s Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Championship did enough to rattle a few major title hopes on Tuesday.

The biggest name to fall was that of the top-ranked Nobuhle Dlamini. The Swazi golfer, ranked number one on the South African rankings, saw her hopes of an amateur double crushed by a 3&2 defeat at the hands of Ji Sun Kang in the quarterfinals.

But Kim Williams kept her challenge on track with a 2&1 victory over Lara Weinstein, and the South African number two must feel her path to the final looks a lot clearer now.

It’s a bitter blow for Dlamini, who was also beaten in the quarterfinals last year. But she would’ve known she was in for a tough match against the 17-year-old Kang, who made it through to the quarters after beating Chevonne Botha 3&2.

Dlamini went through with a 4&3 victory over Magda Kruger, and then faced an opponent she has some history with.

“I beat Nobuhle in the match play final of the Boland Championship last year, and then this year she beat me in the match play final of the Eastern Cape Championship. I just kept those results in my mind and told myself I could beat her,” Kang said of her approach to this match.

Dlamini struggled to make anything happen early in the match, and the turning point came on the par-three fifth hole. The Swazi star missed a 15-footer for birdie, and Kang holed her 22-footer for birdie to go 2up.

She carried that through to the 12th hole, where Dlamini hooked her drive into the bushes. She tried to chip out backwards and then overshot the green with her approach on her way to losing the hole. She lost the next as well, with Kang simply making pars at both. Dlamini birdied the 15th, but both players birdied 16 to hand Kang the victory.

“This is a big win for me, especially in such a major championship,” said Kang, who was born in South Korea but moved to South Africa three years ago, and who last month won the Nomads SA Girls Championship.

Kang will face Nicole Garcia in Wednesday morning’s semi-finals. Garcia beat Izel Pieters 2up in the quarters.

Williams will go up against Kelly Nicole Erasmus in the semis. Erasmus claimed a big win in the third round when she beat Michaela Fletcher 3&1, and then won on the 19th against Kaleigh Telfer in the quarters.

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