Tshwane juniors Danielle du Toit and Keegan Mclachlan celebrated a double South African victory in the 2016 World Amateur Golf Audi Reunion on Reunion Island on Monday.
Du Toit claimed a runaway victory in the Ladies Championship in a wire-to-wire performance at the magnificent Golf Du Bassin Blue, while Mclachlan edged out fellow Gauteng North amateurs Albert Venter and Albert van der Knaap to lift the Mens Championship title.
Du Toit slept on a 10 stroke lead after earlier rounds of 69 and 72 and closed with a 75 to triumph on even-par 216.
The 17-year-old Pretoria Country Club player finished 11 strokes ahead of Reunion amateur Marie-Ange Michaud, who leapfrogged South Africans Woo-Ju Son and Brittney-Fay Berger for second with a final round 73.
“I started really well with a birdie at the tough 10th and eagle at the par five 14th, but it went downhill from there after I made double at 16,” said Du Toit.
“The wind was a lot stronger that the previous two days and the pins were really tucked. I had another double bogey and four more drops, but made birdies at two and five and finished with two solid pars.
“I am really indebted to my coach Nico van Eden, our principal Schalk Reynders at Menlo Park High School and Gauteng North Golf Union for all their support. I would also like to thank Jean-Marie Hoarau from Reunion Golf Federation on behalf of all the South Africans for giving us this incredible opportunity to compete in Reunion and for all their hospitality. It’s been a spectacular week and I will treasure my first international victory for a very long time.”
Defending champion Son from Central Gauteng returned a 78 to take third on 229, while KwaZulu-Natal’s Berger registered an 82 to finish in fourth on 233. Former champion Jade Rousseau from Reunion took fifth on 245 after closing with an 83.
Mclachlan fired a two-under-par 70 in round two to wipe out a five stroke deficit. The 17-year-old Silver Lakes golfer birdied the final round for a 75 to stave off Venter and Van der Knaap for a two stroke victory on two over 218.
Venter fired the low round of the day and the 71 rocketed him to joint second with fellow TuksSport Golf Academy member Van der Knaap, who closed with a 76.
“It was a tough day at the office and I’m chuffed that I was able to pull this off,” Mclachlan said.
“Albert, Andrew and myself didn’t have the greatest starts. Albert and I were three over through four and Andrew was two over.
“I made two good birdies and I was two over and leading by one through nine holes, but Andrew birdied the first to join me in the lead. He took a two shot lead after I hit it out of bounds at 12, but we were back to a tie when I birdied 14 and he dropped a shot. We were still tied when we reached the final hole, but I made birdie for a 75 and he dropped a shot for a 76.
“This has been an amazing experience. The course is fantastic and the local competition was stiff. It has been a real privilege to see Reunion for the first time and to go home with the trophy.”
Meanwhile Michael Sherriff from Western Province and Bassin Blue’s Loic Heurtin tied for fourth on 224 after respective rounds of 75 and 74.
Cole Stevens climbed to seventh in the final standings with a 77, Luke Wood claimed a share of 15th on 241 with a closing 84 and fellow Province amateur Charles Erasmus also signed for an 84 to finish 21st on 248
Gauteng North Golf Union president Johan Struwig accompanied the players to Reunion, but was roped into playing the championship and relished the opportunity to test himself against the country’s leading lights
“After three rounds I am awe-struck by how well the South African contingent did this week, especially Danielle and Keegan to beat the home favourites for victory,” said Struwig, who carded rounds of 88, 91 and 82 to finish 35 on 261.
“The first nine holes face the ocean and the back nine runs through a Eucalyptus Forest. The course is simply magnificent, but the holes are really tight and the greens are tough to read. The South African players really did us proud in this year’s event.”
WOMENS DIVISION RESULT (Top Five)
218 Danielle du Toit RSA 69 72
227 Marie-Ange Michaud REU 78 76 73
229 Woo-Jo Son RSA 73 78 78
233 Brittney Fay Berger RSA 76 75; 82
245 Jade Rousseau REU 80 82 83
MENS A-DIVISION (Top 10)
218 Keegan Mclachlan RSA 73 70 75
220 Andrew van der Knaap RSA 75 69 76; Albert Venter RSA 74 75 71
224 Michael Sherriff RSA 72 77 75; Loic Heurtin REU 77 73 74
227 Johan Mouniama REU 74 77 76
229 Cole Stevens RSA 79 73 77
233 Titouan Berny REU 80 78 75
236 Jerry Jean-Baptiste REU 84 76 76; Jean Thierry Fock 76 81 79