Top SA amateurs relish San Lameer challenge
Top South African juniors Carrie Park and Ivanna Samu will lead a 15-strong amateur party when the Cell C South African Women’s Open tees off at San Lameer Country Club on Thursday.
The 2014 edition of the €323,000 international championship has drawn all the top local professionals and seven LET winners this season.
Park and Samu relish the chance to play alongside the likes of reigning Investec Cup for Ladies champion Lee-Anne Pace, defending champion Marianne Skarpnord from Norway, two-time SA Women’s Open Ashleigh Simon and recent Spanish Open winner, Connie Chen.
Samu vaulted to second in Womens Golf South Africa’s Senior Rankings this season after victories in the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur, Pam Golding Properties WP Championship, the Gauteng 54-Hole Championship and the Ackerman Championship last month.
The 16-year-old Ruimsig amateur is excited to test her skills against some of the leading women professionals in the game.
“I’ve worked very hard this year and I have had the most amazing season,” she said.
“One of the rewards is a spot to play the SA Women’s Open and it happened a lot sooner than I expected. I can’t imagine a bigger stage for my debut than in the flagship event of women’s pro golf.”
Samu has roped in the services of her older brother, Julian, as bag man and hopes he will help steady her nerves in her first start in a pro event.
“This is such a prestigious tournament and it presents an amazing opportunity for all the amateurs competing this year,” she said.
“I am incredibly excited to be given this opportunity to gain experience at such a high level, but I’m also a little nervous. Julian and I practice together and he knows my game. I think with him at my side, the confident will return quickly, but I just have to get past the first shot.
“I still have so much to learn, but my focus this week will be to learn from playing with the pros and to become a better player, no matter what scores I post.”
Reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Park is a three-time winner this season and ranks first on Womens Golf South Africa’s Senior and Junior Rankings.
The 18-year-old Irene golfer is equally excited about the challenge ahead.
“I think all the amateurs will go into the championship with low expectations, but with the desire to learn and improve,” the 18-year-old Irene golfer said.
“I competed on the Sunshine Ladies Tour earlier this season and loved the experience. It definitely helped my mental approach and it helped me to achieve greater consistency on the amateur circuit.
“The Cell C SA Women’s Open is another awesome opportunity for us to learn and gain experience to take our games to the next level.”
Park described the San Lameer layout as breathtaking, but lethal.
“The views really take your breath away, but it’s a tough and tight course, with lots of undulations on the greens and it’s very long on the legs,” she said.
“Accuracy is going to be key, especially if the wind comes up. You have to pick your lines into the greens, and they are extremely slopey. It’s going to be a fantastic test.”
Kaleigh Telfer flew the South Africa flag at the Youth Olympics in China, while Eleonora Galletti and Shawnelle de Lange represented the country at the African Youth Games in May.
Crystal Cooper, Daniella du Toit, Carmia van Wyk, Monja Richards, Madga Kruger, Natasha Carlsson, Michelle Swanepoel, local favourites Lizzie Currie and Tiffany Avern-Taplin and Mathilda Cappeliez from France complete the amateur line-up.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of Womens Golf South Africa.