Samu comes of age at Gauteng Champs
Gauteng junior Ivanna Samu emulated former top amateur Ashleigh Simon when she claimed the ProShop Ladies Golf Gauteng Championship on Sunday.
Eight years after Simon, at the age of 15, became the last Gauteng champion of this prestigious championship, the 15-year-old Roodepoort golfer edged out top ranked senior Carrie Park by one shot to score a popular home victory on a winning total of four-over-par 220 at Modderfontein Golf Club.
This marked the second time this season Samu eclipsed the country’s top ranked players for a podium finish and underlines her growing stature on the women’s amateur golf circuit in South Africa.
In March, Samu lifted the Pam Golding Western Province Stroke Play Championship, and added her name to a clutch of juniors that are stepping up to fill the void left by the country’s top amateurs who joined the paid ranks last year.
Barely a month after Womens Golf South Africa named Samu the Junior Golfer of the Year for 2013, her second feat has definitely put the leading players on full alert.
Samu, who lagged two shots off the pace after earlier rounds of 70 and 75, bogeyed the second, birdied the sixth and had a double bogey at the eighth in the final round. Admittedly, she played catch-up with overnight leader, Danielle du Toit, before she turned her attention to the job at hand.
“The front nine was pure match play between myself and Daniella,” said the Ruimsig golfer. “At the turn, I was four shots behind. I realised I was playing the player, not the course. I knew I had to change my strategy.”
Changing gears served up three birdies in a row and Samu drew level with Du Toit when the leader suffered back-to-back bogeys at 11 and 12.
“I made a double at the 13th, but birdied the next hole. Daniella dropped a shot, though, so we were still neck-and-neck. Carrie was coming through the field to add pressure,” Samu said.
“After a bogey at the 15th and a double from Daniella, I still had a one shot lead on Carrie and I was two ahead of Daniella. “I just blocked them out and kept the focus on my own game.
“Carrie and I parred the next two holes. I bogeyed the 18 and she had a chance, but she missed the par-putt and I won by a shot.”
The victory vaulted Samu to 11th in the WGSA Senior Rankings and strengthened her resolve.
“One of my goals this season was to win this championship,” she said. “The other is to reach the top five on the senior rankings and have the chance to represent South Africa internationally.
“I’ve ticked one box now. I just need to keep up the work I’m doing with my coaches, Eldrich Westner and Brian Roelofze, and put in the time. The two victories have put me on the first step to reaching my goals.”
Reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Park carded rounds of 71, 77 and 73 to share second with another winner this season, Mae Cornforth.
The North West golfer, who notched an ace at the third on her way to an opening 74, added rounds of 75 and 72 to join Park on five-over-par 221.
In the B-Division, Cara Ford edged out Marinda Pretorius by two shots to win the 36 Holes Gross on a score of 167, while Anta Uys won the 36 Holes Nett.
Pretorius didn’t leave empty-handed, though, winning the Silver Jug for the best 18 gross in the tournament with a score of 77.
CHAMPION DIVISION TOP 10 RESULTS
220 – Ivanna Samu (70, 75, 75)
221 – Carrie Park (71, 75, 72); Mae Cornforth (74, 75, 72)
222 – Danielle du Toit (72, 72, 79)
223 – Monja Richards (77, 74, 72)
226 – Cara Gorlei (78, 72, 76); Michaela Fletcher (76, 73, 77)
227 – Ruzanne van der Walt (72, 79, 76); Magda Kruger (73, 77, 77)
229 – Catherine Lau (78, 75, 76); Shawnelle de Lange (74, 73, 82); Kirsten Campbell (76, 76, 77)
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.