Samu strikes gold in North West

Ivanna Samu’s patient strategy on Sunday proved to be the winning formula as she stormed to a sensational wire-to-wire victory in the North West Championship at Mooinooi Golf Club.

The 17-year-old Ruimsig Country Club player scaled to the top of the leaderboard with an opening three-under-par 69. She produced a battling four over 76 to keep ahead of the field and fired another 69 to triumph by 11 shots with a winning total of two-under-par 214.

“I started really well on Saturday, although the course played a lot tougher and longer than it did in the practice round,” Samu said.

“I erased three bogeys and a double at the fifth and the highlight of my round was the eagle I made at 14. I pushed my tee shot right into the trees, but I had a great line to the green. The flag was tucked on the left, so I decided to go for the pin. I smashed a three wood with a low draw and I hit the green in two. The ball rolled up to six foot and I boxed the putt to go three under.”

She struggled to get going in the second round, though.

“It was stop-and-go over the first four holes and I just couldn’t find my rhythm,” Samu said. “I dropped seven shots and only managed to make three birdies. Kaleigh (Telfer) fired a one under 71 to cut my lead to just three shots and I decided that patience was the key if I wanted to win.”

Samu birdied the first, bogeyed the second and reeled in gains at three and four. A birdie at nine took her to the turn in three under and she reached five under with back-to-back at 13 and 14.

“I over-clubbed at the 16th and my chip caught the fringe and got stuck and I couldn’t save par,” Samu said. “I pushed my tee shot right into the trees at 18 and punched out, but it was quite dark. I couldn’t really see the hole and didn’t up-and-down to save par.

“I was disappointed with the two late bogeys, but overall, really satisfied with my performance. I had no idea what to expect at Mooinooi and it turned out to be an amazing course. We played the same holes six times and each time the holes were different and really challenging. It was a great event and I really enjoyed winning at this course.”

The victory followed just a week after Samu regained the number one spot in the Womens Golf South Africa Senior Rankings with a runner-up finish in the Border Championship and left the reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion fired up to gun for a repeat victory in the Pam Golding Properties WGWP Amateur Championship this weekend.

“I’m really looking forward to the two weeks in Cape Town,” Samu said. “I didn’t defend my title in the Western Province Amateur last year and I’m looking forward to this year’s championship.

“I will also be competing in the Curro SA World Juniors International a week later at the same course, so hopefully Durbanville Golf Club will be as kind to me as Somerset West was two years ago.”

Telfer returned rounds of 77, 71 and 77 to take second on nine over, while 13-year-old Caitlyn Mcnab finished a further stroke back in sole third with rounds of 71, 80 and 75.

Zeerust golfer Surika van der Westhuizen won the Closed Championship, while KwaZulu-Natal junior Sandra Clarke celebrated a first provincial victory in the B-Division

“I’m so excited to win my first B-Division title,” said 16-year-old Clarke from Kloof, who defeated Gauteng’s Erica Botha on 179 with rounds of 87 and 92.

“I wasn’t striking the ball that great and I did visit the bushes a few times, but my chipping and putting was solid and I was really pleased that I even managed to make a birdie. It was a tough course and very different to anything I’ve played at home, so a really great experience for me.”

Judy Katzenellenbogen was equally pleased that she made the trip to Mooinooi after she edged out 13-year-old Katya Henriques by one point to claim the C-Division title on 47 points.

“I felt a little bad beating a 13-year-old, but I’m ridiculously chuffed with this victory,” said the 53-year-old Ruimsig golfer.

“I only took up golf 13 years ago and I started competing in provincial events two years ago. I’ve had so many close calls that I am astounded that I’ve finally managed to win one, especially at such a tough course. This is like Christmas come early!”

214 Ivanna Samu 69 76 69
225 Kaleigh Telfer 77 71 77
226 Caitlyn Macnab 71 80 75
229 Casandra Hall 76 73 80
231 Chiara Contomathios 76 77 78
232 Lenanda van der Watt 80 72 80; Eleonora Galletti 78 72 82
236 Crystal Cooper 83 77 76
237 Kaiyuree Moodley 79 78 80; Woo-Ju Son 78 80 79; Symone Henriques 77 84 76

B-DIVISION (handicap 10-18) – TOP THREE
179 Sandra Clarke (10) 87 92
180 Erica Botha (11) 88 92
188 Marinda Pretorius (10) 96 92

C-DIVISION (handicap 19-36/Stableford Points) – TOP THREE
47 Judy Katzenellenbogen 22 25
46 Katya Henriques 23 23
40 Lelani Mbukwane 17 23

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

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