Two-time champion Sandra Winter got her bid for a hat-trick in the South African Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship off to a flying start at George Golf Club on Monday.
The Kingswood golfer took full advantage of the perfect conditions and hurtled straight to the top of affairs with a two-over-par 74.
She leads Lynne Behagg from Boland by six strokes and finished seven shots clear of Limpopo’s Desiree Earle and defending champion Vanessa Smith from Western Province – another three-peat contender. Fancourt’s Sonja Bland, the champion in 2013, finished eight strokes off the pace.
Winter was delighted to put three red numbers on her scorecard at the testing layout.
‘I really enjoyed myself out there,’ Winter said. ‘This is a great course, because it puts you under pressure all the way through; it’s a very good test of golf.
‘The conditions were ideal really, with just a slight breeze. I played better than my score suggests, because I drove it nicely and my irons were pretty accurate. However, the putter was inconsistent and I created a few problems for myself when I got a bit too aggressive on a few tee boxes.’
Winter dropped five shots, but she holed two lengthy putts for birdies at the first and 10th, and she hit her third shot at the par-five 14th close to set up another birdie opportunity.
‘I hit my approach at the first behind the pin and holed a tricky, downhill putt from about six metres to get off the mark with a birdie,” Winter said. “Holed another six-metre putt for birdie at 10, but this time at least, I left the approach pin high.
‘I was in the trees at 14 and had to punch out, but I hit a seven iron to tap-in distance for the third birdie. I was disappointed with a three-putt at nine and again at 15 after being a good birdie position. I would have been happier if I was even-par or one under, because that’s where I felt I should have been, but I am really pleased with the start.’
Winter showed some great form during the recent SA Women’s Inter-Provincial where she captained the team to victory in the B-Section.
‘It definitely helped to play the SA Women’s IPT,’ she said. ‘We played a lot of golf in preparation for the IPT and it got me into the right competitive frame of mind for this week.’
By Lali Stander
Round One Scores (top 10)
74 Sandra Winter
80 Lynne Behagg
81 Vanessa Smith; Desiree Earle
82 Sonja Bland
84 Millie Zim-Dondashe
85 Adele Beytell
89 Lynn Slogrove
90 Lisa Kowen
91 Carina Theron
80 Lenza de Jager
82 Esme Orr
84 Erica Millican
88 Ronèl Badenhorst; Louise van Niekerk
89 Anna Haering; Charmaine Kinsella; Sunette Venter; Wilmarie Greyling
90 Lizette Leeuwner-Grobler
33 Dot van Ryneveld; Linda Erasmus; Isobel Cocks
32 Hildegard Meyer; Yolandi Burger Kloppers
31 Maydie Otto; Tersia Swanepoel
30 Dawn Wessels
29 Jane Hall; Tarryn Borsutzky