Du Toit delivers in North West Open

HARTEBEESPOORTDAM, 27 February 2017 – The final school year is tough on any golfer, but more so when your majors are mathematics and science.

Gauteng North rising star Danielle du Toit enjoyed a magnificent run in 2016, racking up victories in the Southern Cape Championship, the World Amateur Reunion Championship, the Nomads SA Girls Championship and the Liberty GNGU Gauteng North Match Play that rocketed her into the top five in the Womens Golf South Africa senior rankings.

Like all matriculants, academic pressure has forced the 18-year-old Menlo Park learner to put her golfing aspirations on the back burner this season, but Du Toit pushed the books aside for the North West Open and showed her class when she claimed victory in the North West Open on Sunday.

The Pretoria Country Club player set the first round pace at Pecanwood Golf Estate with a superb five-under-par 67 and, despite a bogey-bogey finish for a 68 in round two, she headed into the final round tied for the lead at nine under with current number one Kajal Mistry.

The final round was pure match play between Du Toit and Mistry, but a trio of birdies after the turn gave Du Toit the lead down the back nine. She signed off with a second 67 to beat Mistry for the title by one stroke on a winning total of 14-under-par 202.

Mistry closed with a 68 to finish ahead of fellow GolfRSA Elite Squad players Symone Henriques and Caitlyn Macnab. Henriques took third at 10 under and Macnab fourth at nine under.

“I made it tough on myself with the bogey-bogey finish at the end of the second round,” Du Toit said. “I started thinking about double figures and getting to 10 under and took my head out of the game. Kajal and I have had some duels already, so I knew I was in for a tough fight. I knew I’d have to keep my focus against Kajal in the final round, because she is such a great competitor.

“Kajal never lets up and we were still tied for the lead after three birdies apiece when we started the back nine. I was able to pull ahead with three birdies in a row from 10 and I kept in front. Even when I missed a three-footer for par at the last hole, I knew I had done enough to secure the win.”

Recent rain in the region had softened up the course and Du Toit said the conditions were great to shoot for low numbers.

“The rain missed us and although it was humid, the cool weather was perfect,” she said. “The greens were very receptive and we could go for the pins, even with longer irons. The course wasn’t set up too long and we could hit wedges into most of the holes. Three of the four par fives were also reachable in two.

“I knew there was a mountain of home work waiting, but I switched off and I loved every moment out there. It was so great to compete and to shoot three sub-70 rounds. My goal was to get to double figures and I’m really pleased that I got there in the end.

“At this stage, I’m thinking more about distinctions than rankings, but this win will move me into second on the rankings. There is definitely room for improvement, but hopefully I will have a stab at the number one spot before the big push comes for the matric finals. It’s something we all aspire to and I’d love to be able to say I held the number one spot, even if it’s just for a short while.”

Final Result (Top 10)
202 Danielle Du Toit (Pretoria Country Club) 67 68 67
203 Kajal Mistry (Randpark Golf Club) 68 67 68
206 Symone Henriques (Glenvista Country Club) 70 69 67
207 Caitlyn Macnab (Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate) 68 70 69
208 Larissa Du Preez (Akasia Country Club) 70 67 71; Woo-Ju Son (Country Club Johannesburg) 69 71 68
215 Lajla Hrindova (Fancourt Country Club) 73 70 72; Kaiyuree Moodley (Bryanston Country Club) 74 69 72
216 Chiara Contomathios (Wanderers Golf Club) 68 72 76; Sarah Bouch (Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate) 73 71 72

PHOTO – North West Open champion Danielle du Toit; credit North West Womens Golf.