Solid starts for SA duo at Young Champions
South Africa’s top ranked Ivanna Samu enjoyed a top 10 finish in the first round at Prince’s Golf Club and compatriot Dylan Naidoo broke into the top 20 under the watchful eye of Duke of York Young Champions Trophy patron and co-founder, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew.
The Duke of York was present for the morning’s play and witnessed some impressive performances from a talented field of golfers.
The early starters were met with a cool breeze and gradual sunshine, but Samu and Naidoo bore the brunt of the three-club wind that tormented the afternoon competitors as they tackled the coastal Links Course.
Samu picked up an early birdie at the par-five second, but gave it back with a bogey at the next par five.
The wind picked up dramatically around the turn and blew in the opposite direction to the practice round. Samu dropped two shots in succession at 10 and 11, but adapted her game plan and saved par at the next three holes.
The 16-year-old Ruimsig golfer negated some of the damage with a birdie at 15 and another gain at the par-three 17th saw her finish in even-par 72 and tied for ninth.
“The wind was blowing so hard by the time I reached 17 that I had to aim 60 yards left of the flag to get it close to the hole,” said Samu, who is thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to test herself against 52 national champions from all over the globe.
Naidoo had birdies at seven 10 and 13, but suffered a double bogey at the par-three 11th and further losses on three, five and 16.
The TuksSport Golf Academy player signed off with a 75 to finish joint 19th in a seven-way tie.
Meanwhile Italy’s Carlotta Ricolfi, the leading girl in last year’s event at Royal Aberdeen, picked up where she left off and made the most of the benign conditions in the morning.
The 17-year-old stormed out of the gates with back-to-back eagles and added birdies three, five and 13 before dropping her only shot of the day at the par-four 18th for a five under 67.
She leads by two from Welsh hope Ben Chamberlain and finished three shots clear of Slovenia’s Zan Stirn and Felix Palson from Sweden.
With a good weather forecast for the remainder of the week, the field will have high hopes of posting some low scores over the next two days.
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association and Womens Golf South Africa.