September 2020 – There was no sign of lockdown blues as GolfRSA rising star Megan Streicher sprinted to the winner’s circle in the third event on this year’s Bridge Fund Manager Junior Series on Sunday.
Last year the Swellendam junior upstaged the boys to win the Individual Competition in the SA High Schools Championship and, on Sunday, she did it again.
The 17-year-old Boland dropped three shots over the first six holes at Strand Golf Club, but she rallied with a brace of rare birdies in the windy conditions to post a pace-setting one-over-par 73.
The ensuing three-shot victory qualifies Streicher for the South Final in April next year, where the winner will bag an all-expenses paid trip to the 2021 North and South Junior Championship at the prestigious Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
Streicher became the fourth girl to triumph since the popular national junior series launched in 2017, following in the footsteps of fellow WGSA Elite Squad members Kiera Floyd and Jordan Rothman and B-Squad member Stephanie Barbaglia.
“I’m so excited about this win, because I worked really hard on my game during the lockdown and it’s great to see the sacrifice pay off,” she said.
“I think the top five on the Bridge Fund series last week restored my confidence and I was just really calm out there in the wind on Sunday. I’m super excited to qualify for the South Final. To have a chance to win that spot at Pinehurst is huge. Hopefully I can build on this result as we start the GolfRSA ranking events in October.”
Streicher has been charting a course to greatness since she lifted her first trophy as a 12-year-old on the SA Kids Golf circuit and earned her provincial colours for Boland just a year later and a breakthrough season in 2019 catapulted her to 5th in the Junior and 7th in the Open Amateur Rankings.
We shine our Rising Star Series spotlight on this talented and goal-driven youngster this week.
BORN: 27 January 2003
BIRTHDATE: 27 January
GOLF CLUB & UNION: Swellendam Golf Club, Boland
Winner – 2020 Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series at Strand Golf Club
2nd – 2020 NOMADS South African Juniors International Girls
Winner – 2019 SA High Schools Championship: Individual Competition
Winner – 2019 Boland Ladies Golf Open
Winner – 2019 Boland Ladies Golf Open Junior Division
Joint winner Girls Division – 2019 Friends of Engelberg Challenge
6th – 2019 ATI Ciputra Golfpreneur Junior World in Indonesia (T3 in age group 16-18)
Semi-finalist in the 2019 South Africa Women’s Amateur Match Play
4th – 2019 WGSA 72-Hole Teams Championship: Individual Competition
4th – 2019 39th Ackerman Championship
Ladies Club Champion of Swellendam Golf Club – 2015, 2016, 2019 & 2020
Q – Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
MS – I often caddied for my parents and when I was eleven, they bought me my own set of clubs and I started playing. I played many sports as a youngster, but golf was always my favourite.
Q – With the 2020 season virtually wiped out due to the lockdown, you were unable to make your national debut for South Africa and missed out on a bunch of ranking events. What goals have you set for yourself to achieve in 2021 and beyond?
MS – I have set a few goals for the events coming up this season and next year. Unfortunately the All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Botswana was cancelled, but I am still hopeful that I will gain national colours next year. I am also hoping to win one of the Nomads national junior championships.
Q – How has the Womens Golf South Africa’s squad programme impacted your game since you were selected?
MS – Being selected for the squad programme has had a huge impact on my game and I am so grateful to WGSA for everything they do to help us improve. The WGSA squad camps have been so beneficial to all aspects of my game. Being a part of the squad has highlighted how important fitness and nutrition is for golfers and I have been able to improve those aspects over time and being able to learn and to get advice from all the top WGSA coaches at the camps is great.
Q – Talk to us about the strengths of your game and what are the weaknesses or aspects of the game you still need to attend to.
MS – I feel that my long game is quite strong and although my short game has improved recently, it can always get better!
Q – How did you keep your game sharp during the initial countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic before the golf courses were re-opened?
MS – I was able to set up a net in the garden and work on my swing during the lockdown. I also did quite a lot of chipping in the garden and practiced putting on my carpet in my room to keep my game sharp.
Q – You announced yourself and rose through the ranks rapidly in 2019 so the lockdown most certainly put the brakes on your career. But judging on your recent performances in the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series, you look to be back to winning form.
MS – I had been working hard on my game during lockdown and I was very excited to return to tournament golf. It was a bit tough at times, but overall, I am quite happy with my result.
Q – What other events do you intend to play this season?
MS – I intend on playing multiple GolfRSA tournaments in the remainder of the season, including the Ekurhuleni Championship, the Ackerman Championship and the Western Province Women’s Championships and some local events on the Boland and Western Province golf calendars.
Q – Do you participate in other sports at school, or is golf your primary focus?
MS – I enjoyed hockey and tennis in primary school and also enjoyed the team spirit of tug of war, but once I was introduced to golf it became my number one sport.
Q – As a youngster, you honed your game at Swellendam Golf Club. Did the club support your training efforts?
MS – I tried to get to the course up to three times a week and the juniors at Swellendam Golf Club are very well supported by the club. Even though they do not have a range, they made a plan for us to practice.
Q – Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
MS – I think winning the SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play and Match Play Championship would be awesome. To put your name on those trophies alongside all the amazing past winners of the event is definitely something I would like to achieve. Also winning the Nomads SA Girls and Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship would definitely be on the list.
Q – What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
MS – Your greatest growth lies in your weakest moments.
Q – Tell us about your golf equipment.
MS – I have TaylorMade woods: the SIM Max driver and the M4, 3-and 5-woods. I play with Callaway Apex irons, my wedges are the Vokey SM8s and I have a Kramski putter. I also play with the Titleist AVX golf ball.
Q – What is your weekly practice routine?
MS – I enjoy practicing on the range, but I also make sure to go on-course quite often. I work on my swing most days and make sure to do putting drills often. I like playing a few rounds weekly and also do wedge-work and chipping drills on-course.
Q – Lowest round?
MS – 68, at the Boland Ladies Championship at Langebaan Golf Club and at the SA High School Championship at Koro Creek in 2019.
Q – What’s your go-to club in your bag and why?
MS – I’m pretty consistent with my driver, so I’d like to say it’s my go-to club most days.
Q – Your first international appearance was in the Ciputra Golfpreneur Junior World Championships held at Jakarta in 2019. Earlier this year, you made your debut in the prestigious Annika Invitational USA. How did these experiences impact you and your mind-set around your own game.
MS – I learnt so much from both these international events. I learnt how important it is to be confident in your game and abilities. It highlighted to me how important the short-game is and how adaptable one needs to be for the challenges different courses offer.
Q – What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
MS – I’d say to just have fun and enjoy the game. And if you fall in love with the process, the results will come.
Q – Do you have any superstitions before golf or on the golf course?
MS – I try not to have any.
Q – Which are your favourite golf courses and which golf courses would you still love to play?
MS – I’ve always wanted to play at Augusta National, but my favourite courses are Damai Indah PIK Course in Jakarta and Pearl Valley Golf Club.
Q – Long term, what are your goals for the future and how does golf feature?
MS – I plan on going to college in the US after I matriculate and hopefully turning professional thereafter. I would love to make a living from playing golf on tour, so that is the goal long term.
Tell us 5 things about yourself that most people don’t know.
I’m a huge Survivor fan
I like cooking and baking
I’m a real water baby – I love body boarding, tubing, snorkelling and I am trying to learn to surf
I enjoy the outdoors, especially hikes with my friends
I enjoy working out
Q – If you had to pick up one animal to describe you, what would it be and why?
MS – An elephant, because they are unstoppable and they also have a great memory.
Q – Describe the best meal you’ve had while on the road and where you had it.
MS – The roast chicken they served at the Welcome Dinner at the Annika Invitational, USA was delicious.
Q – What is your favourite season and why?
MS – Definitely summer because of the warm weather for all the outdoor activities I enjoy.
Q – Is there anything you are addicted to or can’t live without?
MS – Music. Food. Water. Sleep.
Q – Tell us about something you hate doing and why?
MS – I wouldn’t use the word hate, but I definitely don’t enjoy doing the dishes.
Q – As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
MS – I played a lot of tennis when I was younger so I dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player.
Q – Describe yourself in one word.
MS – Determined
Q – What movie can you watch again and again?
MS – Charlie’s Angels
Q – Tell us about three things you consider yourself to be really good at.
MS – Sleeping, eating and laughing.
Q – What three things would you want to have on a deserted island and why?
MS – A friend, some food and a boat to get us off the island.
Q – If golf wasn’t an option, what profession would you pursue and why?
MS – I think being a professional surfer and being able to be in the ocean all day would be pretty cool.
Q – If they made a movie about your life, which actor would you pick to play you and why?
MS – Emma Watson. I admire her for her courage and determination. She’s intelligent and fights for what she believes in.
Q – What are your biggest fears?
MS – My biggest fear is being average and I’m also afraid of spiders.
Q – If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be and why?
MS – I think trading places with my dog would be quite interesting. He is very spoilt and I’d love to know what he thinks about all day.
Q – If you could meet and have lunch with anyone in the world – real, fictitious, dead or alive – who would you choose?
MS – I would love to have a good laugh with Kevin Hart over lunch.
Q – What is your guilty pleasure?
MS – Most definitely chocolate
Q – Who would you like to play with in your own Fantasy Fourball?
MS – Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Nelly Korda
Q – Words to live by….
MS – Work hard in silence; let your success be the noise
Q – If we gave you a free plane ticket anywhere, where would you go and why?
MS – Bora Bora. It looks so peaceful and it has great views.
Q – Any hole-in-ones?
MS – Unfortunately none yet
Q – I’m not embarrassed to say that ……
MS – I enjoy doing puzzles.
Q – What is your favourite quote from a movie or a person?
MS – This quote is something I read on the internet and it has stayed with me: “We rise by lifting others”
Q – Lastly, what is still on the bucket list for Megan Streicher?
To turn professional and win a major.
To represent South Africa and get my SA colours.
To get my driver’s licence.
I’ve also always wanted to try out a boxing class.