Gorlei clinches Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl
Cara Gorlei held up under huge pressure from Western Province stable mate, Ji Sun Kang, to complete a wire-to-wire victory at the Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship in Cape Town on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old Milnerton golfer took command of the prestigious 54-hole junior championship with an opening 71 at Rondebosch Golf Club on Monday and kept control with a 72 in the second round.
She sealed a one stroke victory over Kang in a tough battle with a birdie-birdie finish for a hard-earned two under 70 and a winning total of three-under-par 213.
The win completes an impressive run of results for the 18-year-old Milnerton junior and followed three runner-up finishes and three top five finishes in her seven starts this season.
“Winning this event is very special for me,” a delighted Gorlei said.
“To get the win feels unbelievable. I came so close so many times this season. “I knew the win would come eventually, so I just kept at it. To win the Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl is a real honour.
“Ji Sun is a great warrior. I am really proud that I just kept my focus when she was piling on the pressure and pulled through for the win.”
Kang was well off the pace after a first round 76, but finished one behind Gorlei with a superb four-under-par 68 in the second round.
The roles were reversed, though, when Gorlei dropped a shot and Kang birdied the opening hole.
Gorlei evened the score with a birdie at the second, but Kang responded with a birdie at the third. She bogeyed the fourth, but back-to-back birdies took her to three under through six, while Gorlei was back to level after dropping a shot at the sixth.
“Ji Sun was boxing every putt she looked at, so I knew I had a real fight on my hands,” Gorlei said. “I just told myself to stay calm and focus on making pars.”
The difference stayed at three strokes after Kang traded bogey at nine for a birdie at the 10th. However, Gorlei shortened the gap to two shots with a birdie at the 13th.
“When Ji Sun bogeyed the 16th, I had a glimmer of hope,” Gorlei said. “I didn’t hit a great drive at the 17th and Ji Sun’s tee shot when straight down the middle, but my second shot was solid and we were close to each other in fairway for our third shots into the green.”
Gorlei left her third shot six feet from the pin at the par-five, but Kang had a putt twice as long. She left it about six foot short and Gorlei drained her effort for birdie and the pair were level heading to the final hole.
“I felt very nervous standing on the 18th tee,” Gorlei said. “I thought I might hook my tee shot out of bounds, but it went perfectly down the middle of the fairway and Ji Sun hit hers in the same area.
“We were both on the green with our second shots, but I was about three meters from the pin and she was just on the green, about seven meters away.”
Kang’s putt stopped about a meter from the hole, but Gorlei avoided a play-off when she boxed the pressure putt for birdie, and victory.
“I made a huge mental breakthrough today,” Gorlei said. “I believed I could win right up until the end and I stayed patient out there. I hope this will be the start of more to come.
“It was such a great tournament and the atmosphere was fantastic, with a lot of dads out there caddying for their daughters. I am really proud to be the champion this year.”
GFG Academy golfer Carrie Park from Gauteng North finished third on 225, two strokes ahead of Gauteng’s Ivana Samu.
Kayyuree Moodley from Gauteng won the B-Division for 10-18 handicaps by six strokes from Gauteng North’s Mercedes Kreissel, while Kaylah Williams from Western Province held off Southern Cape’s Michelle Muller to win the C-Division 36-hole Stableford competition for 19-25 handicaps by three points.
The D-Division for handicaps 26-32 was won by Sylken November from Southern Cape, who beat Danelle van der Westhuizen by four points.
Among the youngest participants this year were eight-year-old Kamaya Moodliar from KwaZulu-Natal and her older sister, Senayah. The 11-year-old Senayah competed in the C-Division, while Kamaya made her debut in the D-Division.
CHAMPION DIVISION TOP 10 RESULTS
213 – Cara Gorlei (71, 72, 70)
214 – Ji Sun Kang (76, 68, 70)
225 – Carrie Park (77, 72, 76)
227 – Ivanna Samu (77, 76, 74)
230 – Eleonora Galletti (76, 80, 74), Natasha Carlsson (77, 75, 78)
231 – Sarah Bouch (73, 81, 77)
232 – Bianca Theron (77, 80, 75), Chiara Contomathios (77, 76, 79), Danielle du Toit (76, 81, 75)