14th April 2021 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
GolfRSA duo throws down gauntlet at Glendower
14 April 2021 – The Sunshine Ladies Tour challenged its participants this season to #LevelUp, but on the opening day of the R600 000 Jabra Ladies Classic, it was talented GolfRSA squad members Kyra van Kan and Caitlyn Macnab who stepped up to plate.
Macnab, South Africa’s No 1 ranked amateur, already sounded a warning with a fourth place finish in the season-opening Cape Town Ladies Open and, not surprisingly, the reigning SA Women’s Amateur champion laid down an early marker again.
Confident at the course where she lifted the 2019 Champion of Champions and the 2020 Ekurhuleni Womens Open titles, the 19-year-old Serengeti golfer mixed four birdies with a lone bogey for a solid three-under-par 69 to finish in second, a shot ahead of Lee-Anne Pace, second-season professional Lindi Coetzee and Astrid Vayson de Pradenne from France in joint third.
But even the country’s leading amateur was upstaged on the day by 15-year-old Van Kan, whom she beat in the 2020 SA Women’s Amateur final.
“I’m actually a little overwhelmed,” admitted the junior after a birdie-birdie finish propelled her to the summit on four-under. “I knew I was putting together a good round, but I hardly expected to be leading.”
The GolfRSA B-Squad member kept a clean card on her outward loop and turned two-under. “I had a bit of stumble after the turn, but I was able to eliminate both bogeys.
“I teethed it in the bunker on the first and made a good up-and-down for bogey, but I holed a birdie putt on the third to get back to two-under. On the fourth, I had a silly three-putt, but birdied the next hole. Going to the eighth tee I had no idea what was leading. I hit an okay drive, laid up with a 6-iron and pitched a sand-wedge close for birdie.
“When we got to the ninth tee, the nerves showed up. I smashed a drive with a baby draw and my caddie and I didn’t see where it ended up. We both burst out laughing when we found it just short of water. I guess the adrenaline was really flowing. I wedged it close and holed the putt. That’s when I found out I was leading.”
Although Glendower is her home course, Van Kan had to adjust her game considerably to navigate the set-up. “The course is playing a lot longer that I am used to, so although I know the greens and the bounces well, I couldn’t really count on the home course advantage.
“I had to adjust for the length, like on the seventh. I would usually hit driver, 9-iron or pitching wedge, but I had to hit driver, 3-wood on that hole. It was a learning curve, and I am really pleased that I could raise my game. My playing partners, Lauren Taylor from England and Lenanda van der Watt, were great and really helped me to get comfortable quickly on this the big stage.”
Joining Macnab and Pace in the leading match on day two could be intimidating, but the Bedfordview teenager is excited at the prospect of playing alongside two of her golfing heroes.
“I know Cat really well as we both play for Ekurhuleni and I’m excited to play with Lee-Anne. She has been a big inspiration for us juniors and it should be another great learning opportunity for me,” said Van Kan. “I am going to stick to my game plan and the way I approached the course today. Keep a positive mindset and play the course to the strengths of my game.”
Pace will be the one to watch on moving day.
The Paarl golfer has collected 13 trophies on the local circuit in addition to nine Ladies European Tour titles and success on the LPGA Tour. She started on the 10th and was two-under and bogey-free through 12 holes when she made successive bogeys on four and five, which she overturned with a brace of birdies on the seventh and eighth holes.
Spain’s Maria Beautell, Sweden’s Anna Magnusson and Michaela Fletcher share sixth on one-under, with five-time champion Stacy Bregman a further shot back in joint ninth with Nina Pegova from Poland and Belgium’s Charlotte de Corte.
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour.