CAPE TOWN (24 April 2016) – Free Stater Chante van Zyl has had to make do with the forced closure of nine of the 18 holes at her home course and very little in the way of quality greens or even a practice bunker to prepare for this week’s Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championship. But she was still able to share the lead in Sunday’s first round at Westlake Golf Club.
Michael Vlismas – Van Zyl opened with a round of two-over-par 74 to lead with Kaleigh Telfer, one stroke clear of Kajal Mistry, Danielle du Toit and KeNako’s Azelia Meichtry.
Defending champion Ivanna Samu opened with a round of nine-over-par 81.
Van Zyl was the sole leader on one under par with three holes to play, and then bogeyed all three. But considering the adjustment she’s making to the greens here, it could probably be expected.
“About two years ago our golf course in Welkom was flooded with sewage and we lost nine holes,” she said. “So I’ve just been practising on the one nine. The greens are also not nearly the quality of the greens here. There’s also no practice bunker, so I practice on the course.”
Van Zyl’s humility shines through when she adds that she isn’t a member of any high performance golf academy either, but does play out of the, “Free State Science and Sports Institute. But it’s not like the Ernie Els Foundation or anything.”
Her co-leader Telfer comes into this championship in great form, having won the KwaZulu-Natal Championship in March and also representing South Africa in the All Africa Challenge Trophy in Tunisia where she, Samu and Zethu Myeki won the title.
“It was a tough day. A lot tougher than I expected after my practice round. The greens are a lot quicker than they were in the practice round. But two over is not bad. I thought it could’ve been better but I’m happy where I’m lying,” she said.
South African number three Myeki is two shots off the first-round lead.