Sublime Symone into semis of Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur

Gauteng’s Symone Henriques surprised even herself as she played her way into the semi-finals of the Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Championship at the Ebotse Links on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old Henriques was floating around the links on Tuesday morning after beating one of the favourites, Michaela Fletcher, 2&1 to make it through to the afternoon’s quarterfinals. And her feet still hadn’t touched ground after beating Eleonora Galletti 5&3 to make it further than she ever has in this championship.

“I’m very excited. I’m in shock actually. I never thought I could beat Michaela. She’s got such a great record. She’s known as a match play champion,” she said.

Gauteng North’s Danielle du Toit beat South African number one Ivanna Samu on the 20th hole to also make it through to the semi-finals. Du Toit and Samu were all square after 18 holes. They halved the 19th and then Du Toit won with a par on the 20th.

Henriques will play Free State golfer Lumien Orton in Wednesday morning’s semi-final. Orton beat Gauteng North’s Eugenie Clack 3&1 in the quarterfinals.

“It’s a big surprise,” Henriques said of her victory over Fletcher.

The University of Memphis golfer was 3Up through seven holes before the match swung in Henriques’ favour on the par-three eighth. Henriques holed her bunker shot here for a birdie to take the hole, and suddenly had the confidence to believe she could win.

“When I holed that bunker shot I thought, ‘C’mon, you can do this’. And it happened.” She was 1Up through 16 but in the heat of the moment wasn’t even sure where she stood in the match.

“I didn’t know I was winning. On 17 I was still asking my caddie what I needed to do. Then I holed the putt for par and saw Michaela coming over to hug and congratulate me. I couldn’t believe it.”

Du Toit in contrast had been expecting this kind of performance.

While travelling with the South African team to Japan for the Junior World Cup in June, Du Toit says she quickly realised she would have to raise her game to compete with the best in the world.

“I saw how good the rest of the world is and that my standards were way to low. It doesn’t mean I don’t think I can compete there, but I realised I can’t just measure myself against our standards here in South Africa. I have to measure myself against the rest of the world to become the best in the world.”

With that new mindset she returned home and won the Nomads SA Girls Championship by nine shots, and will be hoping to continue with this kind of form when she faces the Western Cape’s Cara Gorlei in the semi-finals.

Gorlei went through with a 6&4 quarterfinal victory over reigning Sanlam South African Women’s Stroke Play champion Kaleigh Telfer.

Written by Michael Vlismas on behalf of Sanlam.

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