The amazing, record-setting Ashleigh Simon blew away the opposition to win the Sanlam South African Match Play Championship at George Golf Club for the third time, breaking another record and making history once again.
Gauteng’s 17-year-old golfing dynamo Ashleigh Simon, winner of the stroke-play championship by a runaway 12 strokes on 204, remained totally focused on her goal of achieving the women’s amateur double for the third time in her spectacular career.
South Africa’s best prospect since LPGA Hall of Fame star Sally Little, who won three Majors in the 1980s, Simon has the swing, power, dedication and the drive to follow in Little’s spikemarks.
Simon scored a convincing win 7 and 6 win over Charlene Proctor in the first round, before advancing 5 and 4 over Pam Hayward to challenge Caitlin Beckwith, who she beat 3 and 2.
Next up was namesake Ashleigh Holmes in the semi-finals, who was however was no match for Simon, even though she fought bravely to lose 5 and 4.
The major contender to the throne Sara Faller, an Irish 18-under squad player was equally determined to win a major championship title.
Sarah Faller beat Henriette Frylink 5 and 4 in the first round; Iliska Verwey 4 and 3, and Border champion Lizelle Muller by 3 and 2, before meeting Gina Switala in the semi-final.
An early exit beckoned for South Africa’s World Amateur Team Championship heroine Kelli Shean, who after finishing runner up to Simon in the stroke play event and starting the match play stage with a resounding 6 and 4 victory over Tanya Tibshraeny, crashed out in a 2 and 1 defeat to Switala in the second round.
Faller who plays out of Galway GC, ended the dramatic run of upset victories by giant-killer Gina Switala, the Gauteng North Junior Champion, at the 19th.
Ashleigh who was seven up on the 25th hole kept doing what she does best, one shot at a time, until she overcame Faller on the 32nd hole and beat her by 6 and 4.
The likeable, Simon who just wants to play golf, will turn to both the Ladies European tour and the LPGA qualifying school, to will see where this takes her at the end of the year.
Until then there are other Championships and international tournaments to win.
Runner up in the stroke play event, young 13-year old Lara Weinsten from Glendower Golf Club who came third in the North West Championship, did very well on her road to the finals.
She beat Dawn Wessels (5 and 4), proceeded to take on Sylvia Mackay to beat her (4 and 3), and then Lize Els struggled against this young contender, eventually losing 7 and 6.
Her competition, winner of the B division, Lucy Lo from Cape Town, had impressive stroke play scores.
She knocked out Sally Hyatt (3 and 2) in the first round before beating Sonja Kruger (2 and 1) and Anne Riemer 2 and 1 to qualify for the semi finals.
There she met Debbie Kroukamp-Fradle from KwaZulu Natal, and promptly dispatched her 3 and 2.
But it all became too much for this junior golfer, as Weinstein, who was five up on the 27th hole, struggled over the next few holes.
However, in a show of what may come to be expected of her, Weinstein pulled herself back together to take Lucy Lo to the 37th hole, where she sank the final putt that won her the B Division Match Play Championship.
Championship Division First Round Results:
Ashleigh Simon bt Charlene Proctor 7 and 6
Pam Hayward bt Chloe Garner 5 and 4
Joanne Lefson bt Mertion Sandys 3 and 2
Caitlin Beckwith bt Odette Grotepass 3 and 2
Monique Smit bt Mercia Pretorius 2 and 1
Ashleigh Holmes bt Rushda Mallick 3 and 2
Vicki Traut bt Liezl Klotz 6 and 5
Kim Williams bt Lindsay Brown 2 and 1
Sarah Faller bt Henriette Frylinck 5 and 4
Iliska Verwey bt Nicole Becker 3 and 2
Ganny de Reuck bt Eugenie Clack 4 and 3
Lizelle Muller beat Elru Botha 5 and 4
Gilly Tebbutt bt Alex Hinteregger 5 and 4
Sandra Winter bt Jessica Meyer 5 and 3
Gina Switala bt Bertine Strauss 1 up
Kelli Shean bt Tanya Tibshraeny 6 and 4
Championship Division Second Round Results:
Simon bt Hayward 4 and 3
Beckwith bt Lefson 6 and 4
Holmes bt Smit 3 and 2
Williams bt Traut 2 and 1
Faller bt Verwey 4 and 3
Muller bt De Reuck 4 and 3
Tebbutt bt Winter 1 up
Switala bt Shean 2 and 1
Championship Division Quarter-Finals Results:
Simon bt Beckwith 3 and 2
Holmes bt Williams 6 and 4
Faller bt Muller 3 and 2
Switala bta Tebbutt 1up
Championship Division Semi-Finals Results:
Simon bt Holmes 5 and 4
Faller bt Switala 19th
Championship Division Finals (36-Holes):
Simon bt Faller 6and 4
B Division Quarter-Finals Results:
Lucy Lo bt Anne Reimer 2 and 1
Debbie Kroukramp-Fradle bt Helga Weber 3 and 2
Izel Pieters bt Cornelia Kottwitz 4 and 3
Lara Weinstein bt Lize Els 7 and 6
B Division Semi-Finals Results:
Lucy Lo bt Debbie Kroukramp-Fradle 3 and 2
Lara Weinstein bt Izel Pieters 4 and 3
B Division Final Result:
Lara Weinstein bt Lucy Lo 37th