There was no sign of lockdown blues as GolfRSA rising star Megan Streicher sprinted to the winner’s circle in the third event in this year’s Bridge Fund Manager Junior Series on Sunday, 13 September 2020.
Last year, the Swellendam junior upstaged the boys to win the Individual Competition in the SA High Schools Championship and she did it again.
The 17-year-old Boland dropped three shots over the first six holes at Strand Golf Club, but she rallied with a brace of rare birdies in the windy conditions to post a pace-setting one-over-par 73.
The ensuing three-shot victory qualifies Streicher for the South Final in April next year, where the winner will bag an all-expenses paid trip to the 2021 North and South Junior Championship at the prestigious Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.
Streicher became the fourth girl to triumph since the popular national junior series launched in 2017, following in the footsteps of fellow WGSA Elite Squad members Kiera Floyd and Jordan Rothman and B-Squad member Stephanie Barbaglia.
“I’m so excited about this win, because I worked really hard on my game during the lockdown and it’s great to see the sacrifice pay off,” she said.
“I think the top five on the Bridge Fund series last week restored my confidence and I was just really calm out there in the wind on Sunday. I’m super excited to qualify for the South Final. To have a chance to win that spot at Pinehurst is huge. Hopefully I can build on this result as we start the GolfRSA ranking events in October.”
Streicher has been charting a course to greatness since she lifted her first trophy as a 12-year-old on the SA Kids Golf circuit and earned her provincial colours for Boland just a year later and a breakthrough season in 2019 catapulted her to 5th in the Junior and 7th in the Open Amateur Rankings.
GolfRSA spoke to the rising star as she reveals where her love affair with the sport began and her aspirations.
Tell us where and when your love affair with golf started.
I often caddied for my parents and when I was eleven, they bought me my own set of clubs and I started playing. I played many sports as a youngster, but golf was always my favourite.
With the 2020 season virtually wiped out due to the lockdown, you were unable to make your national debut for South Africa and missed out on a bunch of ranking events. What goals have you set for yourself to achieve in 2021 and beyond?
I have set a few goals for the events coming up this season and next year. Unfortunately the All-Africa Junior Golf Challenge in Botswana was cancelled, but I am still hopeful that I will gain national colours next year. I am also hoping to win one of the Nomads national junior championships.
How has the Women’s Golf South Africa squad programme impacted your game since you were selected?
Being selected for the squad programme has had a huge impact on my game and I am so grateful to WGSA for everything they do to help us improve. The WGSA squad camps have been so beneficial to all aspects of my game. Being a part of the squad has highlighted how important fitness and nutrition is for golfers and I have been able to improve those aspects over time and being able to learn and to get advice from all the top WGSA coaches at the camps is great.
Talk to us about the strengths of your game and what are the weaknesses or aspects of the game you still need to attend to.
I feel that my long game is quite strong and although my short game has improved recently, it can always get better!
How did you keep your game sharp during the initial countrywide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic before the golf courses were re-opened?
I was able to set up a net in the garden and work on my swing during the lockdown. I also did quite a lot of chipping in the garden and practiced putting on my carpet in my room to keep my game sharp.
You announced yourself and rose through the ranks rapidly in 2019 so the lockdown most certainly put the brakes on your career. But judging on your recent performances in the Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series, you look to be back to winning form.
I had been working hard on my game during lockdown and I was very excited to return to tournament golf. It was a bit tough at times, but overall, I am quite happy with my result.
What other events do you intend to play this season?
I intend on playing multiple GolfRSA tournaments in the remainder of the season, including the Ekurhuleni Championship, the Ackerman Championship and the Western Province Women’s Championships and some local events on the Boland and Western Province golf calendars.
Do you participate in other sports at school, or is golf your primary focus?
I enjoyed hockey and tennis in primary school and also enjoyed the team spirit of tug of war, but once I was introduced to golf it became my number one sport.
As a youngster, you honed your game at Swellendam Golf Club. Did the club support your training efforts?
I tried to get to the course up to three times a week and the juniors at Swellendam Golf Club are very well supported by the club. Even though they do not have a range, they made a plan for us to practice.
Which tournaments would you most like to win and why?
I think winning the SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play and Match Play Championship would be awesome. To put your name on those trophies alongside all the amazing past winners of the event is definitely something I would like to achieve. Also winning the Nomads SA Girls and Nomads SA Girls Rose Bowl Championship would definitely be on the list.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Your greatest growth lies in your weakest moments.
What advice would you give youngsters just starting in the game?
I’d say to just have fun and enjoy the game. And if you fall in love with the process, the results will come.
Long term, what are your goals for the future and how does golf feature?
I plan on going to college in the US after I matriculate and hopefully turning professional thereafter. I would love to make a living from playing golf on tour, so that is the goal long term.
Winner – 2020 Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series at Strand Golf Club
2nd – 2020 NOMADS South African Juniors International Girls
Winner – 2019 SA High Schools Championship: Individual Competition
Winner – 2019 Boland Ladies Golf Open
Winner – 2019 Boland Ladies Golf Open Junior Division
Joint winner Girls Division – 2019 Friends of Engelberg Challenge
6th – 2019 ATI Ciputra Golfpreneur Junior World in Indonesia (T3 in age group 16-18)
Semi-finalist in the 2019 South Africa Women’s Amateur Match Play
4th – 2019 WGSA 72-Hole Teams Championship: Individual Competition
4th – 2019 39th Ackerman Championship
Ladies Club Champion of Swellendam Golf Club – 2015, 2016, 2019 & 2020
With editing by gsport