Kajal Mistry from Bryanston produced a well-timed birdie and eagle near the end of the final round to clinch a four-stroke victory in the Ekurhuleni Championship, while local favourite Cassandra Hall swept to second with an equally impressive finish at ERPM Golf Club on Monday.
Mistry lagged well off the pace after an opening 76, but the 15-year-old Randpark golfer vaulted into the top spot at three-over-par 147 with a second round 71 that featured an eagle at the par five 13 and a birdie-birdie finish.
She led by one from Hall and was two shots clear of fellow Gauteng golfer Chiara Contomathios and Tara Griebenow from Western Province going into the final round.
Mistry bogeyed the opening hole in the final round, but recovered quickly with a birdie at the fourth.
She had back-to-back bogeys at six and seven, but clawed one shot back with a birdie at 10. After dropping another shot at 12, she settled with three straight pars before she got to two over with a birdie at 16 and eagle at the par five 17th.
No-one likes to finish with a bogey, but for Mistry, her final effort of 72 was good enough to finish well clear of the chasing pack.
“Actually, I wasn’t too upset because I was playing for a bogey at the final hone,” said Mistry, who triumphed on three over 219.
“I put myself into trouble off the tee. I hit the tee shot right and I was behind some trees, so all I could do was punch out. I’m very happy that I managed to get myself on the green from there and was able to two-putt for the bogey.
“Darren Witter from the Martin Whitcher Golf School at Randpark has been my coach for 12 years, so this first provincial victory is for both of us and for my parents who really support me.
“Darren and I have been working really hard on my swing this year, focusing on accuracy off the tee and into the green. I feel like I’ve been knocking for weeks now. It feels really great to see the fruit of all that hard work.”
Hall also dropped the first hole and an eagle at the second brought Zethu Myeki from Border into the mix, but the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member lost the advantage with a double bogey at the third.
Hall also dropped two shots at the par four and a second double bogey at nine and three successive bogeys from the 10th saw the Ebotse Golf and Country Club player slip to eight over. However, Hall was far from done.
She rallied with a superb finish to edge out Myeki for second, collecting a birdie pair at 13 and 14 and closing with three birdies on the trot for a 75. The Border player closed with a solid 70, but had to settle for third on 224.
In the B-Division, Lezette Vermaak from Glendower stretched a one stroke overnight lead to a two shot victory, while Neela Jivan from Serengeti followed an opening 38 with a final round 32 to win the C-Division title by six points.
FINAL RESULT (A-DIVISION)
219 Kajal Mistry 76 71 72
223 Casandra Hall 75 73 75
224 Zethu Myeki 79 75 70
225 Symone Henriques 79 71 75
228 Chiara Contomathios 74 75 79
230 Kaiyuree Moodley 82 73 75
231 Tara Griebenow 73 76 82
233 Sarah Bouch 77 79 77; Eleonora Galletti 77 78 78
234 Jenefer Haw 78 75 81
237 Kiera Floyd 81 79 77; Chante Van Zyl 75 81 81
238 Brittney-Fay Berger 79 80 79
239 Woo-Ju Son 83 78 78; Shawnelle De Lange 76 83 80
240 Cara Ford 80 80 80
246 Caro Els 84 82 80
247 Kelsey Nicholas 82 80 85
256 Chloe Royston 89 82 85
262 Ethel Ruthenberg 89 86 87
263 Bongiwe Shabalala 91 92 80
267 Teagan Lubbe 98 86 83