She might be playing a limited schedule this season, but Menlo Park High School matriculant Danielle du Toit is making every start count. She won the North West Championship in February and on Sunday, the 18-year-old repeated the feat in the ProShop 36-Hole Junior Championship at Country Club Johannesburg.
The Waterkloof golfer won by two shots from Symone Henriques on even-par 144 with successive rounds of 72, but she had to work a little harder for that second visit to the winner’s circle.
Having tied for second with fellow Gauteng North player Larissa du Toit, the pair began the final round at the Woodmead course one off the pace from former number one ranked Kaleigh Telfer.
“I made a great start with four birdies in a row, but things went completely south at the fifth hole,” Du Toit said.
“It started when I pulled my tee shot into the fairway bunker. I tried to get clever with a hybrid and hit the trap-shot straight into the bushes. I had a shot between the bushes to the green and normally my monkey shots are really good, but this one flew straight into the right greenside bunker.
“A bunch of chips later and three putts and I walked off with a nine at the par five. Then I dropped shots at 10 and 11, too. I had a stern talk to myself, knuckled down and got back to my processes. I racked up four pars and narrowly missed a short birdie putt at 15. With three to play, I knew I still had a chance if I could get some birdie putts in the hole.”
At 16, Du Toit hit a couple of great shots and drained a 10-foot curler for birdie to gain some momentum. She recovered superbly from an errant tee shot at 17 and hit a great six-iron to six feet and holed out for another birdie.
“Going down 18, I knew I needed a par to win and I holed a five metre putt for a birdie finish,” Du Toit said.
“The conditions were mild, but at 6,000 metres this probably the longest courses we played this season and it played even longer due to the wet conditions. The greens weren’t fast and the recent rain made them very receptive, but they tucked most of the pins so we couldn’t go the flags.”
Adding another victory to her North West Open triumph, top five finishes in the Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play and KwaZulu-Natal Championships and a seventh finish in the Gauteng North Junior Girls Open, winning on the weekend was hugely encouraging for the former GolfRSA Elite Squad player who hopes to head to college in the United States next year.
“The birdie at 16 definitely sparked the strong finish, and I was pleased as punch to get that last one in the hole,” Du Toit said.
“I was so disappointed when I fell out of contention after leading the first round of the Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play. I simply can’t play the full schedule this year due to academic pressure, so to come out and to make this one count is really rewarding.”
Du Toit shared the spotlight in the Net Division with Noluthando Mdanda (73 73) from Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, while Marine Legentil took the B-Division Gross honours with rounds of 81 and 83.
A-Division Results (top 20)
144 Danielle du Toit 72 72
146 Symone Henriques 73 73
147 Woo-Ju Son 75 72; Kaleigh Telfer 71 76
149 Kajal Mistry 77 72; Sarah Bouch 74 75
150 Shawnelle De Lange 76 74; Larissa du Preez 72 78
153 Catherine Lau 78 75; Zethu Myeki 75 78
155 Lynette Fourie 79 76; Emily Jones ZIM 79 76; Caitlyn Macnab 78 77
156 Kaiyuree Moodley 83 73; Lindi Coetzee 79 77
158 Kiera Floyd 78 80
159 Gabrielle Venter 81 78
160 Eleonora Galletti 80 80
162 Noluthando Mdanda 81 81
163 Danielle Bekker 81 82; Chiara Contomathios 76 87
B-Division Results (top 10)
164 Marine Legentil 81 83
168 Holly Lau 86 82
174 Michelle Witts-Hewinson 83 91
176 Dejone’ Stemmett 88 88; Antha Uys 88 88
177 Valda Ford 93 84
178 Monique Jansen 89 89
179 Heather Kruger 98 81
185 Liezel Heyns 93 92
187 Kim Turgut 90 97; Samantha Hudson 87 100
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.