Kajal Mistry hopes third times the charm when she lines up on Sunday in the South African Women’s Amateur Championship at Woodhill Golf Estate.
Mistry is heading to the United States in August, but before she takes up a golf scholarship at the University of Arkansas in August, the GolfRSA Elite Squad member has one more box to tick.
Eighteen-year-old Mistry claimed the biggest title of her amateur career when she lifted the SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship trophy at the Wanderers Golf Club in 2017, but winning the coveted double has proven elusive in the last two years.
‘I would love to leave South Africa on a high note, but if the last two years have shown me anything, I’ll really have to work for it,’ said the young star.
In 2017, Mistry lost to Jordan Rothman from Western Province in the second round. A year later, she reached the top 16 but lost at the 21st to former Stroke Play champion Kaleigh Telfer.
Telfer reached the final, but was denied the double by Rothman, who won the final at Umhlali Country Club 2UP to become the second youngest winner of the flagship event after Ashleigh Buhai.
Rothman is a firm favourite for the double, coming off a strong summer that included a victory in the highly acclaimed SA Junior International in March, but Mistry also made a strong case for success with a blistering run on the recent Sunshine Ladies Tour.
In seven starts on the women’s professional circuit, the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member enjoyed two runner-up finishes and three top 10s and finished fourth overall on the final Investec Property Fund Order of Merit at the end of the season.
‘The experience of competing against the pros will definitely help my course management and mental game at Woodhill,’ said Mistry.
‘That will be important, because the stroke play results will determine the seeding for the Match Play Championship. After that, anything can happen. Traditionally the top ranked players dominate the stroke play stage, but the match play stage is wide open. And it’s going to be a really long week.’
The two flagship events of South African women’s amateur golf will be played back-to-back from 28 April to 3 May for the first time since 2012.
‘I’ve been working really hard with my coach Darren Witter on fine-tuning my game,’ she added.
‘To have your name on both trophies is the highest honour and achievement for any amateur and not too many have done it.
‘Match play is such an unpredictable format. You can be playing your best golf and make a bunch of birdies and lose or you can win just on pars. Just last month I was beaten by Annelie Swanepoel in the Western Province Women’s Amateur Match Play final. She’s 10th on the Junior Rankings, so it just goes to show that in match play, you can never be certain.
‘I would really love to own the double, but I’ll park my expectations once the stroke play stage gets underway, and take it hole by hole, shot for shot. I am striking the ball well and my short game is very good. If the putts start dropping, I’m in with a chance.’