KwaZulu-Natal’s Michaela Fletcher leads the South African challenge at the RB German Junior in Gut Neuzenhof, Germany, while fellow juniors Cara Gorlei and Ji Sun Kang from the Western Province stayed in touch in the first round of the prestigious World Junior Golf Series event.
The 17-year-old from Maritzburg opened with an even-par 72 for a share of 10th and trails German pacesetter, Laura Lorenzen from Hamburg, by five shots.
Gorlei navigated the GolfClub Heddesheim layout in 74 strokes to tie for 14th, while reigning Nomads SA Girls champion Kang closed with a six-over-par 78 to finish alone in 20th place.
Fletcher, the reigning Sanlam Cancer Challenge Womens champion, bogeyed the 12th to turn in one over. She dropped successive shots at the second and third holes, but stemmed the bleeding with birdies at the fourth, sixth and seventh holes.
Gorlei from Milnerton also dropped shots at the second and third, but carved one shot off her deficit with a birdie at the sixth. However, the 17-year-old dropped to four over with three consecutive bogeys around the turn. She birdied the 14th, but handed it straight back with bogey number sixth at the 15th hole.
Kang, who made the Sanlam Women’s SA Amateur Match Play final last month, got off to a terrible start with back-to-back bogeys. The 17-year-old Atlantic Beach golfer fought back to even par with birdies at the fifth and 10th, but dropped another shot at the 11th.
A double bogey six at the par-four 12th really threw her momentum and Kang dropped three shots in succession from 14 to 16 before finishing with pars at 17 and 18.
Meanwhile Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s Lara Weinstein also endured a trying day.
Although the country’s number three ranked player picked up four birdies in her round, the KeNako South African champion paid the price for three bogeys, a double, triple and quadruple bogey for an opening 80 and a share of 21st.