WP celebrate Ackerman Championship triple

Womens Golf Western Province Junior Development Programme members Kaylah Williams and Iman Adams together with Glenda Muller produced a hat-trick of victories for the host union at the 36th Ackerman Championships at Clovelly Country Club on Sunday.

Williams, a 14-year-old learner at Fairmont High School, staved off reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur champion Lumien Orton in the A-Division to capture the Gus Ackerman Trophy by two strokes for her first provincial success.

Adams, a 10-handicapper from Royal Cape clinched the Raymond Ackerman Trophy in the B-Division contest – also by two shots – and Muller from King David Mowbray lifted the Jonathan Ackerman Trophy with a runway five stroke victory in the C-Division.

Williams from Bellville Golf Club trailed Ekurhuleni’s Casandra Hall and Orton after an opening 77 in the first round.

Orton returned 72 in round two to edge clear of the field, but she had to share pole position at two over 146 after Williams rallied into contention with a second round three-under-par 69. The Bellville teenager closed with a 73 to claim victory on three-over-par 219.

Kajal Mistry from Randpark Golf Club – another two-time winner this season – and defending champion and reigning Nomads SA Girls champion Danielle Du Toit from Pretoria Country Club shared third on eight over 224.

Williams said she had a stern talk with herself after she opened with a bogey in the final round and the lecture put her head back in the game.

“I told myself not to get stuck on that first bogey, because I had 17 holes left to set things right,” said Williams. “When I birdied the second hole, I got myself back to level and I was back in control. I holed some long putts off the fringe for birdies at four and five, but then I got over-confident and had a triple at the short sixth.

“I lost my focus and I messed up the tee shot, but in hindsight it was a great wake-up call for me and after the triple, I stayed in the moment for the rest of the round. I kept the lead despite a soft bogey at 12 and a double at 13 and when we were walking towards the green at the last hole, I saw a lot of people around the green and I had some really big butterflies.”

“I was two shots ahead of Lumien and I just told myself no matter what, you can do this. I had 65 metres to the pin into the wind and it was an uphill shot, but I stuck my approach to 10 feet. To be honest, the putter was shaking in my hand. I slowed things down, took some deep breaths and took my time to pick my line and pace.

“Then I nailed the putt for birdie for the win. It was a huge moment for me, because I came second at the Boland Championship a few weeks ago and I performed well for Western Province in the SA Women’s Inter-Provincial. Now that I’ve had a few days to let it all sink in, I realise there is still a lot of hard work ahead, but at least I know that I can compete and win against the best.”

Past winners of the Gus Ackerman Trophy include Hall of Famers Wendy Warrington and Gilly Tebbutt, Bertine Strauss, Ashleigh Simon, Nobuhle Dlamini, Carrie Park and Cara Gorlei.

“It’s a pretty big honour to add my name to this list of amazing golfers,” Williams said. “I am really grateful to the Ackerman family and Pick n Pay for sponsoring this great event and for supporting amateur golf in the Western Province. And I owe a big debt to Womens Golf Western Province for pulling me into the Junior Development Programme and giving me the chance to learn and shine.”

Adams, who carded rounds of 79 and 83 to beat Amore Steyn on a winning total of 162, agreed.

“I am really proud that I got to lift an Ackerman Championship trophy, because Pick n Pay has sponsored the Ackerman Championship for more than 30 years and that is a huge investment in women’s amateur golf in the Western Province,” said 18-year-old Adams from Royal Cape.

“This tournament is one of the oldest championships in South African women’s golf and it’s one we all grew up competing in and that’s why it’s a real honour for me to be one of its champions.”

Womens Golf Western Province president Sarah Braude said the union was delighted that the championship was so well supported and produced such a high standard of competition.

“We anticipated that the Gus Ackerman division would be tightly contested with six out of the top 10 players on the WGSA Senior Rankings, as well as national and provincial champions in the mix, but we were also very pleased to see the Raymond Ackerman and Jonathan Ackerman divisions draw large entries from local and visiting players,” Braude said.

“WGWP and the players sincerely appreciate the support and sponsorship from the Ackerman Family and Pick n Pay in what is one of the longest running amateur sports sponsorships in the country.The championship lived up to expectations with the leader boards changing constantly during the final round.

“Kaylah played exceptional golf under pressure in the final round and we are thrilled for her in achieving her maiden provincial breakthrough here at home.

“We also congratulate Imam and Glenda on their respective victories and we are incredibly proud of Ashleigh Mills from Atlantic Beach, another member of the WGWP Junior Development. Ashleigh captured the WP Champion of Champions trophy, which is open to the 2016 WP Amateur Stroke Play Champion, runner-up plus all WP club champions and is decided over the first two rounds at Ackerman Championship.

“Finally, we offer a heartfelt thanks to Clovelly Country Club, for presenting us with a pristine course befitting for our 36th Ackerman Championship.”

219 Kaylah Williams (Bellville GC) 77 69 73
221 Lumien Orton (Schoeman Park GC) 72 74 75
224 Danielle du Toit (Pretoria CC) 77 71 76; Kajal Mistry (Randpark GC) 76 77 71
225 Sarah Bouch (Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate) 75 72 78
226 Casandra Hall (Ebotse GC) 72 76 78; Chiara Contomathios (Wanderers GC) 73 77 76
227 Woo-Ju Son (CC Johannesburg) 74 77 76
229 Michelle Swanepoel (Steenberg GC) 78 76 75; Ashleigh Mills (Atlantic Beach GC) 77 77 75; Zethu Myeki (East London GC) 79 73 77
230 Lajla Hrindova (Fancourt CC) 74 76 80
231 Tara Griebenow (Bellville GC) 75 80 76; Yolande Duma (West Bank GC) 74 81 76
233 Crystal Beukes (Stellenbosch GC) 75 80 78
234 Chante Van Zyl (Oppenheimer Park GC) 75 80 79
235 Elsabe Duma (West Bank GC) 76 82 77; Cara Ford (Ruimsig CC) 73 82 80
235 Brittney-Fay Berger (Kloof CC) 77 78 80
239 Katia Shaff (Clovelly CC) 77 83 79

PHOTO – Ackerman Championship trophy winners Ashleigh Mills, Imam Adams, Kaylah Williams, Glenda Muller, Elona van Zyl (Marketing Manager, Pick n Pay) and Sarah Braude WGWP President).

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

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