Kang in threatening form ahead of Ackerman Champs
Western Province’s Ji Sun Kang issued a stern warning to the participants of the 33rd Ackerman Championship this weekend when she claimed a play-off victory in the Boland Stroke Play Championship on Monday.
The 17-year-old reigning Nomads SA Girls champion has been in impressive form this season and underlined her growing stature when she defeated Carrie Park at the first extra hole at Somerset West Golf Club.
Park from Gauteng North carded earlier round of 71 and 68 to carry a five stroke lead into the final round over Kang and Ebotse’s Nicole Garcia, who both doubled up on 72s.
But it was Kang who piled on the pressure with a strong start, while Garcia faded and Park struggled to keep pace. The Atlantic Beach golfer closed with a 69 to set the target at three-under-par 213 and was joined by Park, who returned a 74.
Back at the par-four 10th, Park split the fairway, while Kang’s tee shot barely finished inside the out of bounds stakes. Kang showed great strength of character when she rallied with a superb approached to the green.
Meanwhile Park’s second splashed into the left greenside bunker and she landed her trap shot well short of the pin. She missed the par-putt and her resulting bogey left the way clear for Kang to clean up for victory with two textbook putts.
The Ackerman Championship, sponsored by the Ackerman Family and Pick n Pay, is one of the longest running amateur women’s championships and one of the most popular on the annual calendar.
Kang said she hopes to make it two in a row at Rondebosch Golf Club this weekend.
“I’m going to give it everything I’ve got, because I would really love to add the Ackerman Championships to my list of victories,” Kang said. “It will be tough though, because the field is loaded with top senior and junior players.”
Bianca Theron, Magda Kruger and Kang are the top three ranked juniors among 50 junior golfers in the 93-strong field, while Lara Weinstein and Garcia, ranked third and fifth respectively, are among six of the top 10 ranked senior players entered for the event.
In addition to Kang, the Western Province will be well represented by 31 juniors across the three divisions, including recent Ekurhuleni Open winner, Cara Gorlei from Milnerton Golf Club, Durbanville’s Kelly Erasmus and Clovelly’s Katia Schaff.
“The competition will definitely be tough, but you can only do your best and hope it carries you to the winner’s circle,” Kang added.