25th August 2015 | Sunshine Ladies Tour
Wayward Garcia lurks at Kyalami
Yet, despite problems off the tee, the reigning Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies champion finished within striking distance of pacesetter Bryandrew Roelofsz in the IGT Tourâ€™s Gary Player School for Champions Academy Classic on Tuesday.
â€œI foolishly decided to take a spinning class after the first round,â€ said Garcia after signing for a two over 74 at Kyalami Country Club.
â€œI limped around the course and I could barely swing the driver. Considering that I only hit two fairways in regulation all day, it wasnâ€™t a bad score, but I swear there must a five million trees on this course and I saw every one of them.
â€œThe most strenuous thing I will do tonight is to take a long, hot soak, so Iâ€™m ready for the final round action.â€
The Wanna Be A Champion player is fourth on two under 142 and will start the final round four strokes behind Roelofsz, who closed with a 67.
Garcia, who played off a mix of mens and senior tees, bogeyed one, 11, 15 and 16, but offset some of the damage with birdies at nine and 10.
â€œThis is a relatively short course, but it is heavily protected with bunkers and water, so you really have to think your way around this layout,â€ she said.
â€œI left a few out there, but when you donâ€™t keep yourself in play, you are always fighting for pars.â€
Garcia, who ranks 34th on the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit, leaves for Sweden this weekend to compete in the Helsingborg Open. She has enjoyed returning to competitive environment of the countryâ€™s premier development Tour where she cut her teeth in 2013.
â€œKim (Williams), Nobuhle (Dlamini), Bonita (Bredenhann) and I all played the IGT Tour to prepare for the LET Qualifying School,â€ the Sunshine Ladies Tour winner said.
â€œIt got us used to the pressure of making cuts. Playing the longer courses definitely helped us and competing every week before we left for Morocco paid off for all of us.
â€œThe Tour has really improved a lot and it compares very well with the world mini-tours.
â€œThe course set up is great with a very good mix of tough to easier holes. The biggest improvement from my perspective is the fact that they set up the course for us ladies now and itâ€™s very close to the Sunshine Ladies Tour and Ladies European Tour standard.
â€œI only have a handful of starts left to keep my card for next season and the LET lost five tournaments this year, so I have to make every start count.
â€œAfter almost four weeks off, the IGT Tour is a great spot to get back into competitive mode. Because itâ€™s a year-long Tour, itâ€™s a huge advantage for us Sunshine Ladies Tour players, the Big Easy guys and the amateurs looking to join the pro ranks.
â€œIt gives us the opportunity to stay competitive, while it gives the young guys the chance to learn. The worst decision you can make is to turn pro before you are ready, because the paid ranks will eat you up and spit you out if you canâ€™t hack it.â€
Bredenhann from Namibia, who is also heading to Sweden, also turned level but two costly doubles and a bogey at 17 saw her sign for a 77 that was just good enough to keep her on the positive side of the cut, set at 12 over.
PHOTO â€“ Nicole Garcia; credit CJ du Plooy.