SA trio ready for AACT showdown

Magda Kruger, Michaela Fletcher and Cara Gorlei will hunt down South Africa’s 11th title at the All-Africa Challenge Trophy (AACT), which tees off in Kenya on Tuesday.

With the exception of 2006, South Africa has claimed victory in every edition of the prestigious biennial event since its inception in 1992. Current Womens Golf South Africa number two Kruger said the team is determined to uphold South Africa’s winning tradition in Kenya.

“We are committed to our title defence and we want to continue South Africa’s proud tradition in this championship,” the Zwartkops amateur said.

“This is a team event and there are no individual heroes on our team. We will play for each other and play to post the best possible score over the three rounds of the tournament.”

The SA players arrived in Kenya on Saturday and had their first look at the course during Sunday’s practice round. It also afforded the team a chance to assess the competition.

“We know three players on the Zambian team and the Zimbabwean players from competing against them at the Zambia Ladies Open, but we think Kenya could be the team to watch,” said Fletcher.

“They have the home course advantage and their top player, Naomi Wafula, is the current Africa Junior champion and Kenyan Amateur Stroke Play champion. She also did very well at the recent Africa Youth Games in Botswana.

“However, we can only control what we do during the tournament, so our aim will be to support each other and try to give each round our best effort.”

The other competing nations include Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Gabon, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The trio will carry great form into the country’s title defence at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.

Pretoria’s Kruger and Fletcher from KwaZulu-Natal are second and third respectively on the current WGSA Senior Rankings, while Gorlei from the Western Province is ranked sixth on the senior standings and second on the junior rankings.

Kruger started 2014 by winning the Eastern Province Stroke Play Championship in February, followed by two third places and five top 10 finishes in her eight starts on the amateur circuit this season.

The Pretoria player also performed exceptionally well on the Sunshine Ladies Tour with a play-off loss at the Sun International Challenge and top five finishes at three other events.

Fletcher is a three-time winner with victories at the Eastern Province Match Play, KwaZulu-Natal Match Play and Pam Golding Properties Western Province Match Play.

The Maritzburg golfer further protected her ranking with a string of top five finishes, including a runner-up finish at the Sanlam SA Womens Stroke Play Championship in April. She also topped the amateur rankings on the Sunshine Ladies Tour after leading the amateur field in four events.

Gorlei followed a runner-up finish at the Eastern Province Stroke Play and top five finishes at the Border Championship and Curro SA World Juniors International with a podium finish at the Nomads SA Rose Bowl Girls Championship in April.

The Milnerton golfer also notched a top five finish at the Sanlam SA Womens Amateur Stroke Play and another top 10 placing at the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship last month.

The AACT is backed by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) and carries World Amateur Golf Ranking points.

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

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