South Africa is heading for an almighty final round showdown against host nation Australia, after a second successive victory in the Astor Trophy in Adelaide on Thursday.
The national team rebounded after a 6–1 loss in their opener against defending champions Great Britain & Ireland and defeated New Zealand 4-3 on Wednesday. The quintet sizzled in the cold and wet conditions in the fourth round to hand Canada a 5-2 drubbing.
Bertine Strauss and Ivanna Samu combined for a 4 & 2 victory against Naomi Ko and Jaclyn Strauss, while Michaela Fletcher partnered 16-year-old Eleonora Galletti to a 2 & 1 result against Grace St-Germain and Alisha Lau in the Foursomes.
Strauss, who bats at number one for the Texas University’s Longhorn Women’s Team, had a tough tussle against Canadian Women’s Development Squad member Ko, who took the game at the last hole.
However, Fletcher from KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng’s Galletti kept South Africa in the driver’s seat when they halved their respective games against St Germain and Lau.
Texas State golfer Lora Assad and reigning Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur champion Ivanna Samu delivered the final blows to secure a crushing result for South Africa.
Assad defeated Lee 2 & 1, while 16-year-old Samu from Gauteng trounced Kim 3 & 1.
National coach Val Holland was impressed with the team’s fighting spirit and commitment.
“We took the loss to Great Britain & Ireland on the chin and fought incredibly hard to turn the tide against New Zealand,” Holland said.
“After beating the Kiwis, the team went all out against Canada. They came out firing in the Foursomes to win both games and rallied brilliantly against a very determined Canada to pull off a very solid result.
“Every player on the team brought their A-game to give us a fighting chance and they are really amped for the final round match against Australia.”
The prestigious Astor Trophy is held every four years and contested between South Africa, Great Britain & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
Great Britain & Ireland won the event in 2007 and 2011, while South Africa claimed third in both editions.
The Australians currently lead the standings with three victories and 14 games points.
They defeated Canada 4.5 – 2.5 in the first round, beat New Zealand 4 – 3 in round two and gave Great Britain & Ireland a 5.5 – 1.5 hiding on Thursday.
South African and Great Britain & Ireland have both won two matches, however, South Africa only has 10 points in hand against the 15.5 of the defending champions.
“We definitely have a chance to win the Astor Trophy, but we would need to beat Australia 5 – 2 to beat their 14 points to claim victory as the teams will both have three victories each,” said Holland.
“If we tie on points, we will share the cup. It is going to take a huge effort against to beat Australia, with the home course and home crowd advantage, but the girls are determined to give the last game absolutely everything they’ve got.”
Canada and New Zealand will face off on Friday, while Great Britain & Ireland has a bye on Friday.
Round Three Results – South Africa (5) beat Canada (2):
Bertine Strauss & Ivanna Samu beat Naomi Ko & Jaclyn Lee 4 & 2
Michaela Fletcher & Eleonora Galletti beat Grace St-Germain & Alisha Lau 2 & 1
Bertine Strauss lost Naomi Ko 1-up
Michaela Fletcher All-Square Grace St-Germain
Lora Assad beat Jaclyn Lee 2 & 1
Ivanna Samu beat Michelle Kim 3 & 1
Eleonora Galletti All-Square Alisha Lau
Round Two Results – South Africa (4) beat New Zealand (3):
Bertine Strauss & Ivanna Samu beat Munchin Keh & Julianne Alvarez 1-up
Michaela Fletcher & Eleonora Galletti lost Chantelle Cassidy & Alanna Campbell 2-up
Bertine Strauss beat Munchin Keh 4 & 3
Michaela Fletcher lost Julianne Alvarez 5 & 3
Lora Assad lost Chantelle Cassidy 6 & 4
Ivanna Samu beat Wenyung Keh 1-up
Eleonora Galletti beat Alanna Campbell 1-up
Round One Results – South Africa (1) lost to Great Britain and Ireland (6):
Bertine Strauss & Ivanna Samu 3 & 1 lost Bronte Law & Chloe Williams beat 3 & 1
Eleonora Galletti & Lora Assad lost Charlotte Thomas & Hayley Davis 6 & 5
Bertine Strauss lost Bronte Law 1-up
Michaela Fletcher beat Chloe Williams 4 & 2
Ivanna Samu lost Connie Jaffrey 6 & 5
Lora Assad lost Charlotte Thomas 3 & 2
Eleonora Galletti lost Hayley Davis 6 & 4
Photo 1 caption: Team South African pictured after beating New Zealand 4 & 3 in the second round of the Astor Trophy in Australia (from left) Michaela Fletcher, Lora Assad, Ivanna Samu, Eleonora Galletti and Bertine Strauss. After a disastrous start against Great Britain and Ireland, South Africa have recovered strongly with wins over New Zealand and Canada ahead of Friday’s tour finale against Australia. Photo: Supplied
(With editing by gsport)