England’s Hayley Davis wasn’t aware she was standing over the winning putt on the final hole at Atlantic Beach Links as she won the Cape Town Ladies Open on Friday.
In the end, even though she missed her par putt on the 18th, she in fact had four putts for the win, and her closing one-over-par 73 was enough to give her a three-stroke margin over runner-up Kiera Floyd of South Africa and a fourth professional victory.
“I decided not to look at any leaderboards, not for any reason other than I was trying to do the best I could out there,” said Davis, who won on a 12-over-par tournament total. “It didn’t really matter because you had to completely focus on every shot, so I didn’t actually know what the situation was.”
“There was no shot I would have played differently or anything like that if I’d known the situation. I felt I’d rather not know and just do what I can, shoot a number and see if it’s good enough.”
That was because the wind had made playing conditions as difficult as they could possibly be over all three rounds. In the end, her 73 was the best round of the week, matched only by Verena Gimmy of Germany, who finished in a share of fifth on 17-over.
“It was a challenge out there, but for the conditions of the course, it was quite good out there,” said Davis.
“I just kept saying to myself that it was the same for everybody and I’ve just got to make the best of it. Today I played really well. The last couple of days got me a bit more used to it. I hit better lines off the tees today and I knew where not to go, and where to putt from, and things like that.”
She was disappointed not to make a birdie in her second round, and she managed two in her final round.
“I was trying to get it into the red numbers, and I went a long time thinking I’d done it, and then I dropped a couple of shots at the end,” she said.
“I had a really good birdie on the 2nd, and hit it to about 12 feet. I stood there and said to myself, let’s see if I can two-putt, and I managed to get a birdie early. Then on 10, I don’t know what the stats are, but it was probably the lowest hole all week because it was so strong downwind. But it was just nice to hit a decent second shot and then getting it close enough for a tap-in birdie.”
Floyd managed three birdies in her round, in only her second tournament as a professional, but double-bogeys on four and 14 sank her chances of pulling off the victory.
The 18-year-old finished a shot clear of Mireia Prat of Spain in third, and another shot ahead of Lauren Taylor of England in fourth. Gimmy of Germany shared fifth with Dorthea Forbrigd of Norway and France’s Pasqualle Coffa.
The next-best of the South African finishers who made the cut was Brittney-Fay Berger in a share of 19th on 24 over par.
England’s Lily May Humphreys finished eighth to maintain her position at the top of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Order of Merit. Forbrigd moved to third in the standings, American Hannah Arnold to 10th and Floyd broke into the top 20, courtesy of her runner-up finish.
It was also an extraordinarily good week for Cape Town amateur, Odette Booysens, the only amateur to survive the cut to 30 & ties.
“I’m really excited to win the Leading Amateur award. I have played this event before at my home course, Royal Cape, but I didn’t expect to do so well here,” said the 27-year-old.
“Royal Cape’s fairways are a lot tighter, and you have to be really accurate off the tees, but we don’t ever have wind like this. I’m really proud of how I managed my game. And it was so awesome to play with the professionals and learn from them.
“I’m working towards joining the pro ranks myself, and just by having the opportunity to play in these events, you can learn so much and make an honest assessment of your game and where you need to improve.”