Schwartzel inspires Williams’ win at Sanlam Women’s SA Amateur
Report from Lali Stander
RUSTENBURG, North West (12 April 2011) – Kim Williams lauded 2011 Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel for inspiring her successful title defence at the Sanlam Women’s SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Rustenburg Golf Club on Tuesday.
The country’s number one ranked amateur trailed by three going into the final round. Williams said she took a page out of Schwartzel’s book to rise above two disappointing rounds.
“Last night I was thinking about the way Charl came from behind to win,” explained Williams.
“I struggled with the putter in the first two rounds and I let the frustration get to me on Monday. I lost my cool and it cost me dearly. Charl has managed to stay calm and patient and his putts started to drop. I told myself that is exactly how I needed to approach today.”
Williams fought her way to a masterful four-under-par 68 to seal her second successive stroke play title with an emphatic four stroke victory. Her winning total of four-under-par 212 was four shots better than local favourite Bertine Strauss, who carded a 73.
Monique Smit slipped into third on two over 218 with a closing 74 while joint overnight leaders Iliska Verwey and Nobuhle Dlamini signed for 78s to tie for fourth on one over.
Williams knew going into the final round that she needed a good start and back-to-back birdies on the opening holes set her on the right track.
“I needed a start like that to get me back into the mix,” said Williams.
“I stuck them both quite stiff. On the first hole I hit a seven-iron in, four foot from the hole. At the second, I had a gap-wedge in my hand and left it two foot from the hole. It was nice to get a fast start and get my name back up there on the leaderboard.”
Williams dipped to four under with birdies at the fourth and sixth, but gave one back at the ninth and sacrificed another at the 11.
“I had a couple of silly bogeys around the turn,” said Williams. “I didn’t look at the leaderboards and I had no idea what was happening in the match behind me.
“I just told myself to just keep my head down, stay patient, grind it out and put the pressure on the girls behind me. Coming in I had another couple of birdies, so it turned out to be a nice, calm day.”
Williams was also thrilled to learn that she joined just a handful of players with back-to-back victories at the Sanlam Women’s SA Stroke Play championship.
Alison Sheard won the championship in 1974 and 1975, and again in 1978 and 1979. Tanica van As triumphed in 2002 and 2003 and Ashleigh Simon dominated the tournament from 2004 to 2007.
“It’s quite an honour; it’s a great group of ladies to be amongst.”
Now Williams is looking forward to defending her Match Play title.
“I always find that the Stroke Play Championship is always mentally more tiring,” said Williams.
“The first round should be less taxing, so I’m looking forward to that because it starts getting tough again in the semi-final and final.”
Strauss was disappointed to finish in the runner-up spot, but said, given her long absence from the game, that second is better than nothing.
“I don’t mind losing to Kim because she played a spectacular round,” said Strauss. “The course was really tough to navigate today and she managed to do what we couldn’t, which is to get the putter going.
“I’m just glad that second place means I’m on the other side of the draw, so if I meet Kim, it will be in the final on Friday.
Golf prodigy Woo Ju Son had a stronghold on the B-Division from the very first hole and the pint-sized 10-year-old from Bryanston Golf Club completed her winning march with the same of precision.
Son, a 10-handicapper, outplayed her peers and players up to four times her age.
She carded two successive 85s to enter the final round with a six stroke lead and tidied up her victory with a final round 88, beating 40-something Wilna Bredenhann, a 10-handicapper from Namibia, by six shots. Shawnelle de Lange, a 13-year-old from Koster, carded rounds of 91-85-93 to finish third.
Although Son never really came under pressure from her challengers, it was a measure of the young prodigy’s single mindedness that she felt she could have done a lot better.
“I wanted to win by at least nine or 10 shots,” moaned Son. “I’m happy with the victory but I am disappointed with my scores. My goal at the start of the week was to win the B-Division, so I’m glad I was able to achieve that.”
FINAL LEADING SCORES: A Division
212 Kim Williams 70-74-68
216 Bertine Strauss 70-73-73
218 Monique Smit 70-74-74
219 Nobuhle Dlamini SWZ 73-68-78; Iliska Verwey 67-74-78