JOHANNESBURG, 25 April 2017 – South Africa’s top ranked Kajal Mistry held her nerve to claim the Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday.
The 15-year-old from Randpark Golf Club lived up to her top billing as a future world beater when she opened up a five shot lead on the field in the second round, but Mistry had to clamp down on the nerves over the closing stretch at the Wanderers Golf Club to seal the biggest achievement of her short career.
Mistry made a strong statement with a birdie-birdie start, but she let playing partners Woo-Ju Son and Symone Henriques in the door with four bogeys. She hung tough over the last couple of holes, though and signed for a two over 74 for a one shot triumph on four-under-par 212.
“That was the first time that I really felt pressure in a tournament,” Mistry said.
“It was tough enough to play against two of my closest friends but then the putter just went cold on me. I was missing bread and butter putts I would have easily sunk on any other day.
“That’s nerves for you. Winning the Sanlam SA Women’s Stroke Play Championship has been on my bucket list since I can remember. The closer we got to 18, the more pressure I felt.”
Mistry had a good ball striking day, but mistakes crept in.
“I let two shots go on the front nine, but overall, I didn’t have a bad round,” she said. “I made a lot of solid pars and some good par saves, but the putter just wasn’t on.
“I missed a short one at 14 for par and Woo-Ju birdied the hole to get to three under. I still had a two shot lead, but I felt the pressure building. Woo-Ju dropped 15 and 16, but she traded with Symone, who birdied 15 to get to three under.
“After I dropped another shot at 16, I knew I had to pull it together. I was still leading, but I couldn’t make any more mistakes. I needed to get my head in the game and finish with pars.”
And so she did.
“I am so stoked right now,” said Mistry. “It feels like I’ve conquered Kilimanjaro. First and foremost, I want to thank Sanlam and Gary van Loggerenberg on behalf of all the amateurs. We owe you a great debt of gratitude for the sponsorship and your continued commitment to grow and support women’s amateur golf.
“To Womens Golf South Africa and GolfRSA, a special word of thanks for giving us a circuit to play and opportunities to grow and improve.
“I couldn’t have done this without a lot of special people who support my career. My coach Darren Witter and Randpark Golf Club and my family that never give up on me, never allow me to give up on myself and always tell me to go for gold. Thank you to everyone who brought me to this moment and to this victory. This one is for all of us.”
Henriques from Glenvista closed with a two-under-par 70 to take second and Son from Country Club Johannesburg finished in third on one under after returning an even-par 72.
Kelsey Nicholas from Royal Johannesburg and Kensington eagled the par five seventh on her way to a 69 and fourth at 216, while Zethu Myeki from East London Golf Club, defending champion Kaleigh Telfer from Bryanston and Danielle du Toit from Pretoria Country Club rounded out the top five at one over 217.
Genee Marais from Blue Valley Golf Estate denied Luzan Esterhuizen a wire-to-wire victory when she defeated the King Williamstown golfer in a play-off for the B-Division title. Marais carded 80 to tie Esterhuizen on 255 at the end of regulation play and snatched victory at the first play-off hole.
CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION FINAL RESULT (top 20)
212 Kajal Mistry 69 69 74
213 Symone Henriques 74 69 70
215 Woo-Ju Son 69 74 72
216 Kelsey Tayla Nicholas 73 74 69
217 Zethu Myeki 76 70 71; Kaleigh Telfer 72 73 72; Danielle du Toit 69 74 74
220 Sarah Anne Bouch 74 76 70
221 Casandra Hall 74 77 70; Catherine Lau 72 77 72
222 Chloe Royston 74 77 71
223 Laila Hrindova 76 73 74; Lynette Fourie 75 80 68; Shawnelle de Lange 75 75 73; Bianca Wernich 72 75 76
224 Eleonora Galletti 72 75 77
225 Kaiyuree Moodley 74 76 75; Caitlyn Macnab 74 75 76
226 Lindi Coetzee 78 74 74; Brittney-Fay Berger 73 79 74
B-DIVISION RESULT (top 10)
255 Genee Marais 88 87 80 *Play-off
255 Luzan Esterhuizen 83 85 87
258 Senayah Moodliar 85 86 87
259 Marine Legentil 88 87 84
270 Isabel Verwey 88 96 86
271 Kim Turgut 91 93 87
272 Natalie Singer 87 92 93
273 Sinead Rice 86 92 95; Phindo Mohlala 85 94 94
280 Dejone’ Stemmett 89 98 93
PHOTOS 1 & 3 – 2017 Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Kajal Mistry; credit Lesley Rule / GolfRSA.
PHOTO 2 – 2017 Sanlam South African Women’s Amateur Stroke Play champion Kajal Mistry with Womens Golf South Africa President Karen Olivant; credit Lesley Rule / GolfRSA.
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of GolfRSA, a SAGA and WGSA Not-For-Profit company.