Regardless of a few set-backs in their rookie season, South Africans Kim Williams and Nicole Garcia are pretty cheerful ahead of this week’s Ladies German Open at Wörthsee Golf Club in Germany. The pair are lining up in €250,000 Ladies European Tour event alongside compatriots Stacy Bregman and Connie Chen and Sunshine Ladies Tour regulars, Bonita Bredenhann from Naminia and Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland. Williams enjoyed a solid start with victory at the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies Houghton in February and three successive cuts in Europe, including top 12 finish at the Deloitte Ladies Open in May. However, three frustrating results in the last four weeks left Williams a little despondent.
She missed the cut in Slovakia, made the final round at the Italian Ladies Open and tied for 59th but missed the cut at the ISPS Handa Ladies European Masters a week later. She was three under with six holes to play and looking good to qualify for the Ricoh British Women’s Open, but ended up missing by three shots. “This is week five of a six week trip to Europe and it’s been a real mixed bag. I played terribly, but I had a lot of time to practice last week and I did a little soul searching, too,” Williams said.
The 28-year-old Pretoria golfer is ready to turn things around this week. “I’m here in a new environment with a new swing and a new attitude. It hasn’t been an easy stretch, but I am very happy and excited to be over here competing at this level. The course is amazing. It’s like playing the top courses at home in high summer. It’s tree-lined and lush, and the greens are fantastic. There are definitely some birdie chances out there,”she said. garcia, who playing on a limited card and has missed the cut in her five starts this season, is eager to get the monkey off her back.
“The course is short and quite wide open and I hope that it will play to my strengths,” Garcia said. “Everyone warned me that it would very different to the amateur circuit back home and highly pressurized. I didn’t have a huge amount of international experience before I turned pro, so I knew I would need a period of adjustment. The first few months in Europe has been a huge learning curve and it has definitely taken some getting used to. Some days I feel very confident; other days the pressure gets to me. It’s frustrating, but you just have to battle your way through the experience, because it’s the only way to grow and improve as a player,” she said.
The 23-year-old Ekurhuleni golfer recently had the chance to follow compatriots Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel at Pinehurst before her US Women’s Open debut at the same course. “It was the most incredible experience. They gave me a couple of and taught me a few shots pointers during their practice rounds. Ernie taught me a little shot off the toe for the tight lies, which was pretty cool. Hopefully I can channel what they taught me and all the experience I’ve gained so far this season into a solid performance here in Germany this week,” she said. Fellow rookie Dlamini has only earned two cheques in six LET starts, but the Swazi golfer is riding a wave confidence after a top three finish on the LET Access Tour last week.
Dlamini navigated the Golf Park Plzen in Prague in rounds of 71, 70 and 66 to tie for third in the Pilzen Golf Challenge. A lone bogey in the final round cost her a chance to join the play-off between Emma Nilsson from Sweden and France’s Melodie Bourdy, who tied at seven under.
Photo: Sunshine Ladies Tour regular Nicole Garcia
Photo credit: Dale Boyce