Sam Whateley, Kaiyuree Moodley and Central Gauteng captain Marine Legentil ended a six-year drought for the Lions in the GolfRSA 72-Hole Teams Championship at Mbombela Golf Club in May.
The Central Gauteng trio was simply superior as they marched to a 19-stroke victory in the Swiss Team Trophy, combining with rounds of 147, 142, 143 and 141 to triumph on a winning total of 573.
Whateley spearheaded the challenge, firing 72, 67, 71 and 68 to record the lowest scores in each round, and her efforts were excellently backed up by fellow GolfRSA National Squad member Moodley, whose rounds of 75, 75, 72 and 73 secured the wire-to-wire success for the Lions.
Legentil, the reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion, could not have imagined a more perfect swansong for the team before she and Whateley head to the United States to join Moodley on the US collegiate circuit.
“I am absolutely over the moon,” said the delighted 18-year-old, who will be enrolling at Columbus University. “Since our last win in Middelburg in 2016, we’ve been knocking and knocking. To finally pull it through for the Lions is an amazing feeling.
“It was a huge goal for us, because Sam and I will be leaving for the USA soon. We really wanted to get this win for the Lions, and we felt we had a great chance to win with Kai on the team. She has been at college in the US for two years now, and she brought a lot of experience to the team this year.
“You have to play as a unit and trust your teammates in a team competition like this where two scores count in every round. Sam and Kai really dug deep this week to get us to the finish line. I am really proud of our achievement and knowing that we gave our very best for Central Gauteng.
“It was an unforgettable week and on behalf of all the teams, I want to applaud the green staff at Mbombela Golf Club for all their efforts to present us with such a pristine course. To the clubhouse staff also, a big thank you for your hospitality and top-class service.”
Whateley’s exceptional performance for a 278 total at the Mpumalanga course earned the Country Club Johannesburg golfer the medallist honour in the Individual Competition.
Former SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Megan Streicher was second on 285 after carding rounds of 76, 69, 71 and 69 and Kyra van Kan from Ekurhuleni placed third overall on 292 with rounds of 75, 75, 68 and 74.
Moodley rounded out the top five in tied fourth a further three strokes back alongside with Gabbi Venter. The current GolfRSA No 1 and the captain of victorious Free State – who won the Challenge Trophy – posted rounds of 71, 78, 74, 72.
Central Gauteng almost celebrated a one-two finish, but the B-team was edged out for second by defending champions Western Province A whose 592-total earned the side the runner-up spot.
“We are delighted to have the trophy return to Central Gauteng, not only because we have been knocking on the door for the past six years, but also because this is the inaugural provincial event under the banner of the amalgamated Central Gauteng Golf Union,” said CGGU co-president Sheryl Matthews.
“Besides our B-side almost edging out Western Province A to take second place in the Swiss Trophy, our C-team showed their tenacity, coming from sixth position after round one to finish runner-up in the Challenge Trophy.
“It is very exciting and encouraging for us to see the current depth of talent we have in Central Gauteng despite losing players annually to US colleges and professional golf.”
SWISS TEAM TROPHY RESULT
573 Central Gauteng A
592 Western Province A
596 Central Gauteng B
599 Gauteng North A
601 Boland A
608 Ekurhuleni A
615 KwaZulu-Natal A
636 Western Province B
661 Border 164
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (top 20)
278 Samantha Whateley 72 67 71 68
285 Megan Streicher 76 69 71 69
292 Kyra van Kan 75 75 68 74
295 Gabrielle Venter 71 78 74 72; Kaiyuree Moodley 75 75 72 73
296 Bobbi Brown 76 75 74 71
299 Jordan Rothman 76 74 76 73
300 Bronwyn Doeg 77 77 73 73; Cara Ford 74 78 73 75
301 Vicki Traut 75 73 77 76; Kim Turgut 74 77 76 74
303 Zané Kleynhans 79 77 74 73
304 Ellandri van Heerden 80 72 81 71
307 Holly Lau 82 75 79 71; Stephanie Barbaglia 80 74 79 74
309 Marlie Smit 77 77 76 79
312 Nicola Schoeman 79 82 77 74; Olivia Wood 77 80 80 75; Erica Chen 77 80 78 77; Liezl Smit 76 82 75 79
313 Marine Legentil 79 80 78 76