7th February 2018 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Samu another step closer on Sunshine Ladies Tour
Several players, including former champion Lee-Anne Pace, made a hard charge for the top spot, but 19-year-old Ivanna Samu edged another step closer to a maiden professional win as she maintained a slender one-shot lead in the Cape Town Ladies Open on Wednesday.
The Ruimsig golfer heads a packed leaderboard at eight-under after carding a second round 72 at Royal Cape Golf Club.
Swedish newcomer Anna Sventrup and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England are hot on her heels, while Pace lurks two shots back.
Rachel Raastad from Norway and Anne-Lise Caudal from France are within striking distance at four under and, at three under, Canon Ladies Tshwane Open champion Stacy Bregman, who won the inaugural Cape Town Ladies Open in 2015, and Nicole Garcia cannot be discounted.
For Samu, even contemplating a breakthrough victory was almost too much to handle.
“It would be beyond words,” she said. “I am trying not to get ahead of myself and staying in the moment. I know I am going to have to be patient.
“Even today I felt a lot more emotion on the course because I wasn’t hitting my tee shots as straight as I would have liked. But in the end, I recovered well and that gives me a lot of confidence going into the final round.
“The wind picked up and I struggled a bit with club selection, but I’m still enjoying every moment. I have a personal goal going into the final round. I want to get into double figures under par and I want to pull back some shots on some holes that gave me trouble today.”
Meanwhile Matharu fired the day’s best, a seven-under-par 67 that included five birdies and a hole-out eagle on the par-four first hole.
The Englishwoman, who won the Canon Ladies Tshwane Open 12 months ago, attributed her change in fortunes to a slight tweak in her putting stroke. “I actually played pretty well yesterday,” she explained of her even-par opening-round.
“I came up short on a few iron shots and I missed a few short putts, but I spent quite a bit of time on the putting green with my putting coach (Warren Lake). I adjusted well to the speed of the greens and it was much better today.”
LPGA Tour winner Pace will have her work cut out to capture a title she last won in 2016.
Samu led the field as an amateur in the first round the year Pace won and gained a lot of experience competing on the local circuit since. If Pace hopes to add a 12th trophy to her mantle, she will have to make up a three-shot deficit on Samu.
“She is a very promising young talent,” said Pace. “She is a really good ball striker, and the course suits her because of all the par fives, where she probably has an iron into the greens. She will be tough to catch.
“Even if the wind gets up around here, you can still shoot under par because the greens run so true. But if there is no wind on Thursday, I’m probably going to have to shoot at least six-under to have a chance.”
The 36 year-old admitted to feeling a little bit of rustiness after coming out of the off-season, but has been encouraged by her game over the first two rounds.
“I’m hitting some really nice golf shots and controlling the ball flight well,” she explained. “When that happens I know that my swing is in a good place. I feel like I just need to eliminate the small mistakes and hopefully I can get my hands back on that trophy.”
Spanish golfer Maria Beautell made the cut to 30 and ties at six-over on the nose after she holed out at the par three eighth. “I had 135 metres to the hole and hit a six-iron with a little fade and we watched it disappear into the hole,” said Beautell. “That was my first ever hole-in-one in a tournament and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Three amateurs progressed to the final round, with Cassandra Hall and Jordan Rothman leading the charge on three-over, with Royal Cape member Zayb Fredericks is a further shot back.