Samu in the hunt at Nomads SA Girls
South Africa’s top ranked junior Ivanna Samu finished in a strong position to challenge for the Nomads SA Girl’s Championship title for a second year running.
Looking to add to her growing list of accolades, the reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur and Stroke Play champion overcame a rocky start at Orkney Golf Club on Sunday with four birdies down the back nine for a one-over-par 73 and a share of second with Gauteng North’s Danielle du Toit.
The top end of the leaderboard is gridlocked, though, and the 17-year-old Gauteng golfer will have her job cut out to go a step further than last year’s joint second place finish.
Samu lags one of the pace from Gauteng’s Shawnelle de Lange, who traded two early bogeys for a pair of birdies at the last two holes in a solid exhibition, while Du Toit was equally impressive as she notched four gains to offset two double bogeys and a bogey.
Meanwhile 14-year-old Woo-Ju Son carded a 74 to threaten in third.
Fellow Gauteng player Kajal Mistry lurks in fourth on 75 and Michelle Swanepoel from North West and 2014 Youth Games bronze medallist Eleonora Galletti from Gauteng loom at five over.
Further down the leaderboard, Kaleigh Telfer from Gauteng shares eighth with Chante de Lange from Free State & Northern Cape on six over.
Gauteng’s Tash Carlsson, who recently partnered Samu and Telfer in the Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan, Chante Boonstra and Chante van Zyl from Free State & Northern Cape, Ashleigh Mills from Western Province, Boland’s Crystal Beukes and reigning Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl champion Chiara Contomathios, also from Gauteng, finished a further stroke adrift.
Samu came agonisingly close to a podium finish last year.
She overturned a three-shot deficit after the opening round to replace Cara Gorlei in pole position at the end of round two, but Gorlei and defending champion Ji-Sun Kang chased her down in the final round battle for supremacy.
The trio were deadlocked at eight over 224 at the end of regulation play, but Gorlei became the first play-off champion of the prestigious junior event since its inception in 1976 when she ended the shootout with a birdie at the fourth extra hole.
Meanwhile Gauteng also dominated the first round in the B-Division for handicaps 10-18 Noluthando Mdanda took the lead with an 84.
She finished a stroke clear of Jo-Lindie Richter from Gauteng North and Zimbabwe’s Danielle Bekker, while Amore Steyn from Boland and Hannah Venter from Gauteng North tied for fourth on 14 over.
Womens Golf South Africa has enjoyed the support of the Nomads Golf Club of South Africa for the nearly a decade as the sponsor of both its two annual junior flagship events, the Nomads SA Girl’s Rose Bowl and SA Girl’s Championship.
Both titles are highly coveted and hotly contested by the country’s rising stars, however, thanks to generosity from Nomads, the emerging talent from all corners of the country are also given the opportunity to showcase their skills, while gaining valuable competitive experience in the SA Girl’s Championship.
Starting Monday, 27 of the country’s promising young golfers will compete in the C-Division for handicaps 19-25 and D-Division for handicaps 26-32 over 36-holes of stable ford.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.