North West champ Samu relishes amateur journey

Ivanna Samu is brimming with confidence after a four-stroke victory at the recent North West Championship at Pecanwood Golf and Country Club.

The reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur champion navigated the par-72 Jack Nicklaus designed layout in 70 strokes to share the first round lead with Gauteng North’s Marne Clack.

She held off a spirited final round charge from SA Olympian Kaleigh Telfer with a six under 66 to seal her second podium finish on a winning total of eight-under-par 136.

The victory cemented Samu’s position at the top of Womens Golf South Africa’s Senior rankings just a fortnight after she took the number one spot in the Junior standings after lifting the Gauteng North Junior Girls’ Open.

“Winning the North West Championship was really special for me,” Samu said.

“I know I had a breakthrough season last year and I won a bunch of titles and everyone thought I was really confident, but I was really worried that my game wouldn’t hold up at the beginning of this year.

“I only started winning last year, and it’s all still new to me. I think a lot of my peers go through the same doubt. I gained a lot of confidence from winning the Gauteng North Girls’ Champs, but it was just such an incredible feeling to lift the North West Championship trophy.

“It kind of convinced me that my game is good enough to win.”

Bryanston’s Telfer closed with a 69 to leapfrog Clack for the runner-up spot, while the Akasia player carded a final round 73 to take third on 143. Clack finished one stroke ahead of North West amateur Michelle Swanepoel, Gauteng North’s Catherine Lau and Sarah Bouch from Ekurhuleni.

Samu won’t be defending her Pam Golding Properties WP Championship this weekend and tips Telfer, Theron and Cara Gorlei from the Western Province as the players to watch following the Curro SA Juniors International.

“Kaleigh gave me a run for my money at Pecanwood and came close to defending her SA Juniors International title,” said Samu, who combined with Telfer to win the International Teams Trophy in the Girls Division at the Global Junior Golf Tour event.

“Bianca won the Eastern Province Championship and Cara was in contention at the Border Championship. They also performed really well at Durbanville Golf Club.

“The standard keeps getting higher and everyone is constantly raising their game. “It is difficult to pick a favourite, but I think that is a wonderful problem to have.

“Kaleigh is coming into great form and Bianca is definitely back and contending again and Cara is always dangerous, especially at home. I think the competition on the WGSA circuit is very healthy.”

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.

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