Top ranked junior Ivanna Samu is riding a wave of confidence ahead of the prestigious Curro SA Junior Internationals this week after she lifted the Edith Bowie Trophy for a second time in three years on Sunday. Samu overcame a seven shot deficit in the final round to claim a two shot victory on one-under-par 143 in the Pam Golding Properties Western Province Championship on Sunday. This marked a second successive podium finish in seven days for the 17-year-old Ruimsig golfer, who also dominated the amateur leaderboard in four events on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this season.
Having reclaimed the number one spot in the WGSA Senior Rankings with victory in the North West Championship last week, Samu set her sights on a solid performance at Durbanville Golf Club. Samu, whose opening two over 74 left her five strokes behind pacesetter Kaleigh Telfer, says: ‘Things really didn’t go to plan in the first round. I finished bogey, double bogey and I was really frustrated. I didn’t hit the ball well and the blustery wind didn’t help my cause. My aunt Antoinette set me down at the break and told me to forget all about the first round. She said I should wipe the slate clean, start over and forget about the deficit. I am usually much more focussed, but I just felt off my game. Her pep-talk left me positive and reeling to go.’ Samu gained a birdie at the second, but gave it back at the par-five sixth, where Telfer broke a run of five straight pars with an eagle three to pull seven shots clear.
Samu says: ‘I was hitting the ball much better and I knew there were score-able holes to come, so I stayed in the moment and focussed.’ She swapped a birdie at 10 for another bogey at 11 and then hit the highest gear with five holes to play. Samu sandwiched a bogey at 16 between a pair of birdies at 14 and 15 and another brace at 17 and 18 for a final round 69.
Samu says: ‘I saw that Kaleigh dropped four shots and her lead was down to three shots and I gave those last five holes everything I had. I pulled off the strong finish I needed to win.’ The sixth annual Curro SA Juniors International has drawn a field of 141 players representing 20 nations who will vie for the Girls and Boys titles from 8 – 10 March, while 11 countries will challenge for victory in the International Teams competition over the first 36 holes. Her 2014 Pam Golding Properties WP Championship triumph sparked a watershed season for Samu and she dominated the local amateur scene.
Small wonder the Gauteng teenager is feeling confident ahead of the high-status 54-hole world amateur ranking Global Junior Tour event. She says: ‘Winning the Pam Golding Properties WP Championship again is like a sign that the next phase in my career is coming and I hope it starts with victory in the Curro SA Junior International. I was really disappointed to finish seventh last year, but I feel really positive about my chances. It felt great to conquer the Durbanville Golf Club in the windy conditions on Sunday, especially 17 and 18 which cost me so much ground in the first round. I feel good about the course and, although we will be up against some really strong international competition this week, I feel way more prepared than I did coming here last year.’ Meanwhile Telfer signed off with a 76 to tie for second with fellow Gauteng amateur Shawnelle De Lange, who returned rounds of 74 and 71. Swiss golfer Azelia Meichtry, who turned 19 and will not be defending her title in the Curro SA Juniors International, took third on 146.
Photo credit: Sunshine Ladies Tour