Samu reaches Girl’s British Open match play
As South Africa’s Jaco van Zyl and Brandon Stone begin their bid in the Men’s Golf Competition at the 2016 Olympic Games, compatriot Ivanna Samu will fly the flag for the country in the very prestigious Girl’s British Open Amateur Match Play in Wales on Wednesday.
Samu – South Africa’s number one ranked senior and junior – booked her spot in the world-class international field with a superb performance in the 36-hole Qualifier at Royal St. David’s Golf Club. The 17-year-old Ruimsig golfer opened with a three-under-par 70 and followed with a solid 72 to take sole sixth. Samu offset a double-bogey with an eagle at the par five 12th and cancelled a bogey at 10 with a pair of birdies at three and 18 to ensure her berth in the renowned amateur championship for a second successive year.
She finished two strokes behind 17-year-old Paula Neira from Spain, who shared the top spot with a trio of 15-year-olds, including Norwegian Madelene Stavnar and the Swedish pair Amanda Linner and Julia Engstrom, winner of the Ladies’ British Open Amateur title in June.
Samu and fellow South African Kaleigh Telfer both reached the match play stage in last year’s edition in Scotland. Telfer was eliminated in round two, but Samu became the first South African in the history of the event to go all the way to the quarter-finals, where she was lost to Sandra Nordaas from Norway at the 20th hole.
“I am thrilled to make it to the match play stage again,” Samu said. “My ball striking is solid and the putter is behaving well. In match play, you have to stay focussed, because one bad hole can cost you big time, so I am keeping my expectations low key; just take it shot-for-shot, hole-by-hole.”
Samu will face Italian Maria Corbi, who shot rounds of 79 and 73, in her opening match.
Meanwhile reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion bounced back after an opening 90 and posted 76 in the second round.
FINAL RESULT (Top 10)
140 Amanda Linner SWE 73 67; Madelene Stavnar NOR 72 68; Julia Engstrom SWE 69 71; Paula Neira SPA 68 72
141 Beatrice Wallin SWE 72 69
142 Ivanna Samu RSA 70 72
144 Puk Thomsen DEN 73 71; Isobel Wardle ENG 71 73; Raquel Olmos Ros SPA 71 73; Celine Borge NOR 71 73
166 Kaleigh Telfer RSA 90 76
Ivanna Samu and Kaleigh Telfer at the Girl’s British Open Amateur Championship; credit WGSA.