Park has designs on Sanlam SA Amateur title

Carrie Park MatchPlayGNGUDURBAN, 10 July 2015 – Gauteng North’s Carrie Park celebrated a double return to the winner’s circle in the Gauteng North Championship this week and is targeting more success in the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship at Kloof Country Club from 12-16 July.

Park claimed the Stroke Play title on Monday and defeated Lejan Lewthwaite at the 20th hole to clinch the Match Play title at Zwartkop Country Club on Wednesday.

“It feels like this has been a long time coming, because I’ve been playing really very well for a while now,” said Park.

The 18-year-old Centurion golfer returned rounds of 73, 67 and 69 to won the Stroke Play on four-under-par 209, finishing two strokes clear of Lethwaite from Ekurhuleni and Western Province’s Cara Gorlei – already a five-time winner this season.

She eliminated Kajal Mistry (4&3), Zethu Myeki (19th) and Woo-Ju Son (3&2) to en route to the Match Play final against Lewthwaite.

“I played solidly in the stroke play and had four chip-ins for birdies,” Park said.

“I hit my irons and driver really well in the match play and sank some very long putts, so my overall game is all there.”

The country’s former number one ranked amateur has been in threatening form since she took third in the Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Glendower in April.

Park followed with fourth in the Gauteng Senior Championship, third in the Individual Competition at the WGSA 72 Hole Teams Championship and third again in the Limpopo Championship.

“It really feels great to get a win under the belt just before we travel to Durban,” Park said.

“The Sanlam SA Amateur Stroke Play and Amateur Championships are our flagship events and it’s to two titles we all want to win.

“I was gunning for the double after I won the SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play last year, and I was really disappointed to exit in the quarter-finals. Unfortunately that is the nature of match play.

“You have to be at the top of your game, because every shot and every hole counts. The secret is to play to your strengths and to make your game work for you.

“I have hit some good form at the just the right time and that feeds the confidence.”

Park believes this is year’s event will be one of the most hotly contested tournaments in recent years.

“Over the last year we have seen a lot of junior golfers come through the ranks,” Park said.

“Ivanna Samu, who won the Match Play last year, Cara Gorlei, Kaleigh Telfer and myself dominated the circuit last year, but a lot of other players have made their mark this season. The top 20 players are very equally matched and I think the title race is wide open this year.”

Sanlam Sponsorship Manager Gary van Loggerenberg said the company is very proud of its association with Womens Golf South Africa and its role in developing South Africa’s emerging talent.

“We strive to provide an enduring platform for our country’s rising stars through our sponsorship of Womens Golf South Africa’s two flagship events,” Van Loggerenberg said.

“The popularity and support that these two events receive is a positive reflection of Sanlam’s long-term sponsorship of the game and our investment in the youth.

“We are extremely proud of our long association with Womens Golf South Africa through the Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play and Sanlam SA Amateur Championships and its past and future champions.”

The field for this year’s Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Championship is further strengthened by former top ranked amateurs Lewthwaite, Cornforth and Fletcher.

Lewthwaite graduated from Texas State University in June, recent Limpopo Championship winner Mae Cornforth is home on her summer break from the Florida Institute of Technology, as is local favourite Michaela Fletcher, who completed her junior year at the University of Memphis in June.

PHOTO – Double Gauteng North Championship winner, Carrie Park; credit GNGU.