Gauteng teen in EC Champs win

Lali Stander

GAUTENG North's Magda Kruger took advantage of the sunny conditions and fast fairways at Port Elizabeth Golf Club to deny the local challengers and claim victory in the Eastern Cape Championship on Sunday.

Kruger carded an opening two-under-par 72 to finish the first round a shot behind early pacesetter Cara Gorlei from the Western Province in a tie for second with Bryanston's Kaleigh Telfer and Monja Richards from Nelspruit.

Local favourite Imkeleen Meyer, Irene Country Club's Carrie Park and Mae Cornforth from Potchefstroom lagged a further shot back.

Gorlei, looking to break through after runner-up finishes at the Boland Junior and Nomads WGWP Junior Championships, produced a solid final round 72, but Kruger forced the Western Province junior to wear the bridesmaid tag again.

The 18-year-old dashed home in 70 strokes to triumph on six-under-par 142, one shot ahead of Gorlei.

Park took third on 148, while Telfer finished fourth on 147. Province No 1 Ji Sun Kang shared fifth on even par 148 with Cornforth and Richards, while Meyer tied for eighth on 152 alongside Boland's Bianca Theron and Shawnelle de Lange from Goldfields West.

Kruger's last victory was the Gauteng North Junior Girls Open 13 months ago. The Pretoria player was thrilled to be back to her winning ways.

"It's great to know I've still got it," Kruger said. "I had to shift my focus to my studies last year and work towards my matric exams, so my golf really suffered, especially my swing.

"After the exams, I started working on my swing. It's still a work in progress, but I feel I'm hitting the ball so much better." Kruger will play in the first Sunshine Ladies Tour event, the Chase to the Investec Cup for Ladies, teeing off at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday.

Southern Cape's Anye Verstern carded rounds of 77 and 84 to defeat fellow Kingswood golfer, Sarah Blythe Wood, for the B-Division title on 161, while the C-Division went to Port Elizabeth Golf Club's Jenny Elliot, who carded a 90 to defeat fellow 19-handicapper Gillian McAinsh by six shots.

The leading scores were:

142 – Magda Kruger 72 70

143 – Cara Gorlei 71 72

147 – Carrie Park 73 73

147 – Kaleigh Telfer 72 75

148 – Mae Cornforth 73 75; Ji Sun Kang 73 75; Monja Richards 72 76

152 – Imkeleen Meyer 73 79; Bianca Theron 77 75; 76 76