Sizzling Samu makes it six at KZN Junior

South Africa’s number two ranked amateur Ivanna Samu was in ascendency once again when she fended off Chiara Contamathios to lift the KwaZulu-Natal Junior Championship title at Selborne Park Golf Club on Sunday.

Just a week after the reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur champion overcame a five stroke deficit to claim the Mpumalanga Championship, Samu held off a charging Contamathios to triumph by one stroke.

The 16-year-old Ruimsig golfer sealed her sixth victory this season with a winning total of one-under-par 215, while Contamathios took sole second and defending champion Kaleigh Telfer finished third on three over 219.

Although Samu got off to a slow start with an opening 74, she blitzed to the top of the 36-hole leaderboard with a career-best 67 in the second round. She carried a three stroke lead over Telfer into the final round and led by seven strokes from Modderfontein’s Contamathios.

“I got off to a birdie start and I birdied the par-five third, as well, but I got into trouble off the tee at the short sixth and made a double,” said Samu.

She dropped another shot at the eighth and had another double-bogey at the ninth to turn three over.

“I settled down on the back nine, and it was great to knock in the birdie at the par-five,” Samu said.

“I knew Chiara was making a move, but I just played tee to green over the last three holes and made sure I didn’t drop anymore shots.”

Samu signed for two over 74, while Contamathios closed with a superb four under 68.

The champion said that joining the country’s top ranked Carrie Park at the GFG Academy a few weeks ago, has had a very positive impact on her game.

“I feel stronger mentally than ever before,” Samu said. “I never once felt pressure at the Mpumalanga Championship, even though I was five shots off the pace going into the final round. I just kept to my own game and I only realised a couple of holes from the 18th that I was in serious contention.

“It was the same in the final round at the KZN Junior Champs. I was aware of Chiara, but I just kept the focus on my own game. You can’t control anything but your own game out there, and there is no point worrying about what the other players are doing.”

Samu broke into the winner’s circle at the Pam Golding Properties WP Championship in March and followed with victory at the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship in May.

After defeating Lora Assad for the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur title at her home course in August, she won the Ackerman Championship at Clovelly Country Club in September.

The teenager is still a little gob-smacked about her achievements this season.

“This year was the first time that I really competed on the national circuit and I am surprised that I’ve done so well,” she said.

“It’s exciting to look back at the season and see the improvement, but I still have a long way to go, though. It was a real eye-opener to play with the professionals in the Cell C SA Women’s Open, because I realised just how I still have so much more to learn.

“I’m really thankful that I have such great support from my school, Curro Aurora, who have allowed me to compete so much this season. “Every victory this season was special, but I have to say that I am just as excited about shooting 67 at Selborne Park.

“I’ve never broken 80 in KwaZulu-Natal. I managed to do this three rounds in a row and shoot my career lowest score. That is a real highlight for me, too.”

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

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