Gauteng junior Ivanna Samu had to dig deep on the back nine at Woodhill Golf Estate and the country’s number two ranked player showed some serious BMT to win the weather-interrupted Liberty Gauteng North Championship on Monday afternoon. Samu notched her fifth title this season when she edged out Casandra Hall from Ekurhuleni by lone shot on seven-over-par 223 with rounds of 76, 70 and 77.
Newly-minted Nomads SA Girls Championship winner Danielle du Toit from Gauteng North took third on 228, while fellow Gauteng North player Larissa du Preez and Cara Gorlei from Western Province shared fourth on 230.
Samu was relieved, but also pleased to be pushed to the limit by Hall ahead of the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship, which tees off at Ebotse Golf and Country Estate on Sunday.
‘I really had to push myself to win this one,’ said the 17-year-old Ruimsig golfer. ‘The course set-up was tough and the greens were very hard and slick. It was a really good test before the Sanlam SA Women’s Match Play and I must applaud Casandra. She piled on the pressure and really pushed me right up to the end.’
Samu led Hall by five shots at the start of the final round and the difference was still five after the Ebotse golfer bogeyed the first and Samu dropped a shot at the third. But Hall pounced with a birdie at the fifth to join Samu in the lead at six over when the leader dropped four successive shots from the fourth hole.
Hall bogeyed eight, but took the outright lead with a birdie at the 10th while Samu dropped two at the par four. Both players bogeyed 13, but Samu got within a shot of Hall when she birdied 14. She dropped another shot at 16, but retaliated with back-to-back birdies and clinched victory when Hall bogeyed the closing hole.
‘My putting really let me down on the front nine and I tried too hard to play the perfect shot at 10 when I just should have gone for the middle of the green,’ Samu said.
‘It got a little better down the back nine, though. I hit a solid drive down the fairway at 14 and a gap-wedge to eight foot and holed the putt for birdie at 14. That birdie and seeing my coach (Graeme Francis) arrive, gave me that positive kick I needed down the last couple of holes.
‘I thought I needed two birdies to tie Casandra for a play-off, so that’s what I played for. I hit my tee shot slightly left and a great approach to 50 feet and two-putted for birdie at 17.
‘At the final hole, I drove it down the middle of fairway and hit a sand-wedge from 87 metres into the green. The ball pitched past the flag. I still don’t know how I got back spin on that slick green, but the ball spun back to about six feet. I put a really positive stroke on the putt and boxed it for birdie.’
‘It was only after Casandra came to congratulate me that I realised I had won. She put up a huge fight and I think she will be tough to beat at her home course.’
The Ladies division of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Championship was played concurrently with the Liberty Gauteng North Championship. Ekurhuleni’s Sarah Bouch, representing HPC Tuks Golf Academy, won title with a winning score of 238.
Western Province’s Jessica Green wrapped up a seven shot victory in the B-Division in the Liberty-sponsored event. The Clovelly golfer carded rounds of 88, 85 and 89 to triumph on 262.
Zane Naude from Mpumalanga took second on 269 and Woodhill’s Holly Lau was third on 270.
LIBERTY GAUTENG NORTH CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
223 Ivanna Samu 76 70 77
224 Casandra Hall 75 76 73
228 Danielle du Toit 75 77 76
230 Larissa du Preez 86 73 71; Cara Gorlei 80 75 75
232 Caitlyn Macnab 79 73 80
262 Jessica Green 88 85 89
269 Zane Naude 100 87 82
270 Holly Lau 94 92 84
271 Liezel Heyns 86 93 92
272 Valda Ford 91 90 91
By Lali Stander