SA’s top women amateurs gather for Sanlam WGSA Champs

For the first time in three years, next week’s Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship will have a maximum field featuring the country’s top amateurs, including those returning from college golf scholarships in America.

One of the most prized trophies in South African women’s amateur golf will be contested by a full strength field of 64 players at Ruimsig Country Club from 3-6 August.

And for new Women’s Golf South Africa (WGSA) president Karen Olivant, there couldn’t be a better reflection of the healthy state of the women’s amateur game in this country.

“A few years ago we decided we would take 64 entries maximum for this event so every player had at least four rounds of golf. Last year we had a field of 54 players, and the year before this a field of 52. But this year we have a full 64, which is fantastic. So there will not be that many byes,” said Olivant.

The timing of such growth could also not be better, with the WGSA celebrating it’s centenary this year.

“Women’s amateur golf has come on in leaps and bounds and we’re just trying to maintain that momentum. There is so much on the go at the moment. It’s very exciting.”

And it’s amongst the ranks of the juniors where the real growth is showing in the women’s game. So much so that it has come at a price, with South Africa becoming an increasing source of talent for American college scouts.

“Our juniors are very strong. We are losing quite a few of them to America, but new ones are coming in all the time. But we timed the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship for when there is a break in the American college circuit so that a lot of our college girls could come back for this. So we are pleased about that,” said Olivant.

Ivanna Samu will be one of a host of favourites, and is playing her home course. Samu has had an incredible year with two wins and 10 top-10s.

Western Province star Cara Gorlei, with three wins and nine top 10s this year, is another obvious favourite.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Michaela Fletcher is recognised as one of the strongest match play contenders in the local women’s game, while Gauteng North’s Carrie Park will be hoping to add to her victory in the Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play Championship at Stellenbosch Golf Club earlier this year.

And Central Gauteng’s Kaleigh Telfer is fresh from the experience of competing in the R&A Junior Open Championship in England as well as having been named as part of the South African team to compete in the Summer Youth Olympic Games in China this August.

“The class of the field is terrific and there could be a few surprises,” said Olivant.

Written and released by Michael Vlismas on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.

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