The stage is set for the finals of the SA Amateur Championships, with three mouth-watering 36-hole matches to look forward to that will determine the country’s champions of the year at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s East Course.
Top seed and recent SA Women’s Stroke Play winner Megan Streicher will face defending champion Caitlyn Macnab.
The 18-year-old from Swellendam edged Macnab by one shot in the Stroke Play tournament earlier in the week and progressed through two tough matches on Thursday, 18 February 2021, to reach her first SA Amateur final.
In the morning’s quarter final, Streicher fought back from 2 down with two to play against last year’s runner up Kyra van Kan, holing a long putt to prevail on the 19th hole.
Then, in the afternoon’s semi-final clash against big-hitting Kiera Floyd, she once again came from behind to triumph 2 & 1, sealing the win with a birdie on the 17th.
“Both matches were very tough,” said the Boland golfer.
“The afternoon session was definitely better from my game’s perspective.” – GolfRSA’s Megan Streicher
“I didn’t hit the ball great in the morning, but my swing improved towards the end
The afternoon session was definitely better from my game’s perspective. The ball striking was better and I putted really well.”
Floyd was 3 up, but dropped three shots in succession from the 12th while Streicher made a string of pars on the back nine.
“Then I won the 16th with a par to go 1 up and that gave me the push I needed to close it down. I hit it down the middle of the fairway, put a wedge to three metres and holed the putt for the win. I’m beyond words. I really excited to play Caitlyn, because she is such a talented ball-striker and she never stops fighting. I think it’s going to be a very exciting final.”
Macnab will be looking to become the first player to successfully defend her title since Ashleigh Simon in 2007.
It may have been her 19th birthday, but her opponents showed no mercy.
In a tightly-contested quarter-final match against feisty 2018 champion Jordan Rothman, the Serengeti golfer came up trumps to win 1 up, while unheralded Gabbi Venter was equally relentless over the first 10 holes inthe afternoon session.
“I expected a tough match with Jordan and she duly delivered.” – GolfRSA’s Caitlyn Macnab
Macnab eventually saw off the Bloemfontein junior 4 & 3 in a round that not only featured a stunning ace at the par-three 5th hole, but four birdies, including a late pair on 12 and 13 that took her to 4 up and the opportunityto defend her title.
“I expected a tough match with Jordan and she duly delivered,” said Macnab. “I was 4-up at the turn, and she just kept fighting and took me all the way
to the last.
“The game against Gabbi was also tough, because she is becoming a really good player and she hits the ball a mile. Unfortunately she is struggling with a knee problem, and I could see her discomfort increase as the match wore on.
“Overall I am very happy with where my game is at, although there were a few silly mistakes that I can’t afford tomorrow. Megan is playing some seriously good golf at the moment and I’ll have to bring my A-game to thefinal.”
13-year-old Zane Kleynhans will go head-to-head with 31-year-old Charlene Oosthuizen and both Pretoria golfers were brimming with delight at the prospect of playing in their first 36-hole final.
Kleynhans was made to work for her spot.
She birdied the 16th to go 2-up on Lauren Clough and pars on the next two holes was good enough to secure a 1 up win. Her semi-final match against Zara le Keur was an even tougher affair.
The Western Province golfer was 2 up through 16, but she dropped on the last two holes, and Kleynhans squared the match with two very good par-putts. The Centurion golfer holed a nine-footer to close out victory on the 19th hole.
Oosthuizen, who made her debut in the SA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in October last year, had just one goal this year and that was to reach the match play stage.
“I just wanted to make the field this year; now I’m in the final. This is all just a huge, huge bonus,” the Waterkloof golfer said.
Oosthuizen spoiled Paola Sakota’s bid of playing the final on her home course, when she knocked out the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington junior 3 & 2 in the quarter-finals. In the afternoon, she edged Nicole Strydom from Benoni Lake with a birdie on the 16th hole to win the match 1-up.
“All eyes will be on the two big finals ahead of us and we are okay with that,” said Oosthuizen.
“It’s the first time Zane is playing in the SA Amateur Championships. It’s my first final ever in an event of this stature. We are happy to be at the back of the field. We’ll have fun, enjoy ourselves and try like hell to beateach other.”
Results – Semi-finals:
Megan Streicher beat Kiera Floyd 2 & 1
Caitlyn Macnab beat Gabbi Venter 3 & 2
Megan Streicher beat Kyra van Kan Won on 19th Hole
Kaylah Williams lost to Kiera Floyd 5 & 4
Caitlyn Macnab beat Jordan Rothman 1 Up
Gabrielle Venter beat Cara Ford 1Up
Flight Division Semi-finals:
Zane Kleynhans beat Zara le Keur on the 19th hole
Charlene Oosthuizen beat Nicole Strydom 1 Up
Flight Division Quarter-finals:
Zara Le Keur beat Michelle Steyn 5 & 3
Zane Kleynhans beat Lauren Clough 1 Up
Nicole Strydom beat Kamaya Moodliar 3 & 2
Charlene Oosthuizen beat Paola Sakota 3 & 2
Photo 1 Caption: SA’s top ranked Caitlyn Macnab will bid for successive women’s
titles in the 36-hole finals of the South African Amateur Championships at Royal
Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club on Friday, 19 February 2021. Photo: Supplied
With editing by gsport