Kiera Floyd survived another battering by the wind to take a share of the second-round lead of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Atlantic Beach on Thursday.
Floyd has only just set out on her professional journey, but she drew on the memory of lessons learned as an amateur in the face of high winds which pushed scores to levels bordering on the ridiculous.
Her five-over-par 77 was the third-best of the day and put her at 11-over for the tournament in a three-way share for the lead with Spain’s Mireia Prat and Hayley Davis of England.
“I learned a lot from playing those professional tournaments as an amateur,” said Floyd, who finished third as a 14-year-old in the Jabra Ladies Classic. And last year, in equally windy conditions at Steenberg Golf Club, Floyd lifted the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur in the Investec South African Women’s Open.
“I think what I learned about course management was very helpful, and, as a result, I’m not feeling overwhelmed in just my second event as a pro, even though I’m at the top of the leaderboard.
“I managed to take what I got from yesterday’s round into today, and I just went at it one hole at a time. And then, making a birdie on the 5th in the middle of all those shots being dropped was great. I hit it just off the green at the back. It was about a 30-footer downhill and downwind and I felt good over it. It gave me a good confidence boost.”
It was one of only a couple of dozen birdies made by the 87 players in the field, and that was because the wind was so challenging. Davis, who loves the layout, said keeping the ball in play was paramount.
“It was tough out there, but at least we knew what to expect after the first round because the wind was pretty similar,” she said. “It was a three- or four-club wind most of the day. A couple of the par-fives that are downwind, you have to take advantage of them. But it’s just trying to keep the ball in play out there, really. Anything can happen!”
Former SA Women’s Stroke Play champion Floyd agreed.
“It’s very unusual for me to hit s seven-iron from 100 metres,” she said. “Normally, in Johannesburg, I hit my seven-iron 180. So, it was a four-or five-club wind out there. You have to be careful when you go downwind, as well. You have to club down about two or three clubs.”
Incredibly, the cut fell at 19-over-par as 32 brave souls will venture into the win of the final round.
One shot off the lead is the Sunshine Ladies Tour Order of Merit Leader, Lily May Humphreys of England, who had a four-over-par 76. In fifth on 13-over after the round of the day with a three-over-par 75 was Finland’s Emily Penttila.
It was a brutal day for the African challenge for the title, as only Brittney-Fay Berger, Rondebosch amateur Odette Booysen, local favourite Cara Gorlei and Floyd made the cut, together with Bonita Bredenhann from Namibia.
Floyd’s grit, as well as her embrace of the challenging conditions and her experience under pressure, will make for an interesting final round.