31st July 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Strauss sparkles on SunCoast Tour
South Africaâ€™s Bertine Strauss claimed her professional breakthrough in her second start on the SunCoast Pro Golf Tour when she defeated American Allison Emrey at the fourth play-off hole at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California on Wednesday.
The pair deadlocked at seven-under-par 209 at the end of regulation play at the Arnold Palmer Course after Strauss carded rounds of 67, 70 and 72 and Emrey answered with 70, 72 and 68.
â€œWe played the 18th twice, then 16 and 17 in the play-off,â€ Strauss said.
â€œWe both made par at 18 the first time around and the second time, I made a great up-and-down to save par and stay alive. We both parred 16. At 17, I landed my tee shot on the green, but she hit hers into the water and that left me with two putts to take the win.â€
The victory was a timely one for the Koster golfer, who tied for fourth in the MHCC Tournament at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills a week earlier.
From 6-9 August, Strauss will compete in the First Stage of the LPGA Tourâ€™s Qualifying School at the same venue and only the top 60 players and ties in the 72-hole qualifier will advance to the Second Stage.
Strauss will be among 288 hopefuls vying for a coveted spot in the field heading to the Plantation Course in Venice, Florida in October.
â€œIt was fantastic to play the two mini-tour events at the same course as First Stage,â€ Strauss said.
â€œI got to play three rounds at each course and really got to know the courses and I did my final preparation under pressure. The play-off intensified the pressure and to come out as the winner gives me a lot of confidence for the coming challenge.â€
Strauss spent the last four years in the United States on a golf scholarship at the University of Texas and graduated with a major in Psychology and minor in Business Administration in May.
During her final year with the Texas Longhorns, Strauss anchored the womenâ€™s golf team and finished the season with a 72.52 scoring average, victory in the PING/ASU Invitational and six top 10 finishes.
She made the WGCA All-America list and was named the 2015 Big 12 Player of the Year. She also made the All-Big 12 First Team and Academic All-Big 12 First Team.
Strauss joined the paid ranks after she won the US Womenâ€™s Open sectional qualifier in Colorado in May and made her pro debut alongside compatriot and LPGA Tour winner, Lee-Anne Pace at Lancaster Country Club last month.
â€œPlaying in the US Womenâ€™s Open was fantastic,â€ she said. â€œI was disappointed to miss the cut, but the experience was amazing and it really confirmed for me that this is the journey I want to take.â€
PHOTO â€“ Bertine Strauss; credit Les Rule