Samu seals stunning SA Girls victory
Ivanna Samu sealed an emotional Nomads SA Girls Championship victory at the third hole of a thrilling play-off at Orkney Golf Club and the tears streaming down her face told the story of the pressure, the battle and the glory to own one of junior golf’s most prestigious titles.
It was the second successive year that the country’s top ranked amateur had to fight for victory in extra time.
The 16-year-old Ruimsig golfer came up short against Cara Gorlei in 2014 and this time, she was pushed to the limit by promising Gauteng North golfer, Danielle du Toit.
“It wasn’t who would win, but who would make the first mistake,” said an emotional Samu.
“Danielle played brilliant golf and matched me shot for shot for three rounds and this final round was a ding-dong battle over 21 holes. I have never felt so drained, so exhausted and so exhilarated at the same time.
“I was gutted when I lost last year, so I am ecstatic that I pulled it through this time. This was one title I really, really wanted to win, but this was undoubtedly the hardest victory of my career.
“I have to thank my coach Graeme Francis for keeping me positive and giving me a strong mental framework. I needed everything I had out there. And thank you to my family and friends, for their incredible support – this one is for all of you.”
Samu and Du Toit carded rounds of 75 and 73 to start the final round in a tie for the lead. After an enthralling battle of wits, the pair was still deadlocked at eight-over-par 224 with a pair of 76s.
Du Toit took the early lead when Samu failed to up-and-down at the opening hole, but lead changed hands when Du Toit bogeyed six and Samu birdied the par-three seventh.
The duo matched each other shot for shot over the next four holes with bogeys at 10 and 11, birdies at 12, pars at 13 and bogeys at 14.
Samu lost the lead with a failed up-and-down attempt at 15, but Du Toit handed it back with a bogey at 16. Both players parred 17 before the Waterkloof junior spoiled Samu’s party, holing a six-footer for birdie at the closing hole to force the championship into overtime.
“We both hit good tee shots at the par-five 17th,” Samu said. “I reached the green in two and made a two-putt birdie, but Danielle was in the greenside bunker after her second. She played a brilliant trap shot and boxed her birdie putt to extend the play-off.
“At 18, I hit my tee shot right and finished in the trees. I managed a kind of lob-shot to get on the green and had a six foot putt for par. Danielle hit her tee shot down the fairway and her second to three feet, but her birdie putt lipped out and we had to go back to 17.”
With the adrenaline, Samu hit a monster drive 290 meters down the 17th fairway.
“I had 176 meters to the pin at the back and hit a soft five-iron to 15 feet. Danielle hit a great tee shot, but she hooked her second into greenside bunker and her bunker finished 20 feet past the pin. After she missed the par putt, I cleaned up for victory.
“The relief was immense. It feels incredibly good to finally put this one to bed.
Fourteen-year-old Woo-Ju Son closed with a 74 to finish on 225, while fellow Gauteng golfers Kaleigh Telfer and Kajal Mistry shared fourth on 227 after posting a pair of 77s.
B, C and D DIVISIONS
Noluthando Mdanda completed a wire-to-wire victory in the B-Division for 10-18 handicaps.
The Modderfontein junior carded rounds of 84, 83 and 88 to claim a three stroke victory on 255 over Zimbabwe’s Danielle Bekker (85-85-88) and Cleo Jordaan (88-80-90) from Gauteng North.
Megan Streicher from Boland won the C-Division (handicaps 19-25) by three points from Limpopo’s Lene Kruger with a total of 81 after rounds of 40 and 41.
Tebogo Lefifi (40-36) carded rounds of 26-32 to claim a three point victory on 76 points in the D-Division for 26-32 handicaps. Fellow Gauteng golfer Palesa Rafutho (35-38) was second.
A-DIVISION TOP 10 RESULT
224* Ivanna Samu 73 75 76 (third play-off hole)
224 Danielle Du Toit 73 75 76
225 Woo-Ju Son 74 77 74
227 Kajal Mistry 75 75 77; Kaleigh Telfer 78 72 77
228 Shawnelle De Lange 72 79 77
229 Eleonora Galletti 77 78 74
231 Chiara Contomathios 79 77 75
233 Brittney-Fay Berger 80 75 78
234 Michelle Swanepoel 77 80 77
PHOTO – Divisional champions of the 2015 Nomads SA Girl’s Championship with Gary Rodwell, National Chairman of Nomads South Africa.
From left to right – Danielle du Toit (U-16), Megan Streicher (C-Div), Gary Rodwell, Ivanna Samu (A-Div), Tebogo Lefifi (D-Div) and Noluthando Mdanda (B-Div); credit WGSA.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.