Kruger cruises to EP Stroke Play win

Gauteng North’s Magda Kruger took advantage of the sunny conditions and fast fairways at Port Elizabeth Golf Club to deny the local challengers and claim victory in the Eastern Province Championship on Sunday.

Kruger carded an opening two-under-par 72 to finish a shot behind early pacesetter Cara Gorlei from Western Province in a tie for second with Bryanston’s Kaleigh Telfer and Monja Richards from Nelspruit,.

Local favourite Imkeleen Meyer, Irene’s Carrie Park, Mae Cornforth from Potchefstroom lurked a further shot back.

Gorlei, looking to break through after runner-up finishes at the Boland Junior and Nomads WGWP Junior Championships, produced a solid final round 72, but Kruger forced the Western Province junior to wear the bridesmaid tag once again.

The 18-year-old dashed home in 70 strokes to triumph on six-under-par 142, one shot ahead of Gorlei.

Park doubled up on 73s to take third on 148, while Telfer closed with a 75 to finish alone in fourth on 147.

Meanwhile Province number one Ji Sun Kang signed for a 75 and a share of fifth on even par 148 with Cornforth (75) and Richards (76), while Meyer returned a 79 to tie for eighth on 152 alongside Boland’s Bianca Theron (75) and Shawnelle de Lange (76) from Goldfields West.

Although Kruger led the individual leaderboard at the All Africa Regional Challenge Trophy by 10 shots in May, her last victory was the Gauteng North Junior Girls Open 13 months ago.

The Pretoria player was thrilled to be back to her winning ways.

“It great to know I’ve still got,” Kruger said. “I had to shift my focus to my studies last year and work towards my matric exams, so my golf really suffered.

“After the exams, I turned my attention back to golf and started working on my swing. It’s still a work in progress, but I feel that I’m hitting the ball so much better.

“I felt sorry that my win came at the cost of Cara’s, but I collected my due of second place finishes too, so she should just persevere…her win is also coming.”

The Stroke Play champion’s early departure to Johannesburg has left the door open for Gorlei to exact her revenge, or for Meyer or one of the other local challengers, to fly the flag for Eastern Province in the Match Play Championship.

Meanwhile Southern Cape’s Anye Verster carded rounds of 77 and 84 to defeat fellow Kingswood golfer, Sarah Blythe Wood, for the B-Division title on 161, while the C-Division went to Port Elizabeth Golf Club’s Jenny Elliot, who carded a 90 to defeat fellow 19-handicapper Gillian McAinsh by six shots.

Leading Scores (top 10)

142 Magda Kruger 72-70

143 Cara Gorlei 71-72

147 Carrie Park 73-73

147 Kaleigh Telfer 72-75

148 Mae Cornforth 73-75; Ji Sun Kang 73-75; Monja Richards 72-76

152 Imkeleen Meyer 73-79; Bianca Theron 77-75; 76-76

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