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Ken Borland


SA prodigy among a trio of leaders

Posted on May 08, 2024 by Ken

Kiera Floyd, a 19-year-old South African prodigy and Englishwoman Georgia Coughlin, who took to the sport late, are leading alongside Ellen Hutchinson-Kay, a Swede who came through the U.S. College system, after the first round of the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge at the Blue Valley Golf Estate on Wednesday.

The trio all started on the 10th tee and posted four-under-par 68s on a sweltering day in Centurion, giving them a one-stroke lead over six golfers on three-under on a congested leaderboard.

Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up three more top-10 finishes on tour.

On Wednesday Floyd birdied the 10th, 12th, 17th and 18th holes to go out in 33, and although the front nine proved more challenging, a birdie at the ninth saw her come home in one-under.

Coughlin only took up golf when she was 16 and living in Saudi Arabia, but by the time she was 23 she had a Ladies European Tour card.

The 28-year-old had a dramatic start with three birdies and a bogey in her first four holes, going out in 34 and then making further gains with birdies on the first and fourth holes. Coughlin closed bogey-birdie, as did Hutchinson-Kay and Floyd.

Hutchinson-Kay is a University of Mississippi graduate and she also turned pro last year. The 25-year-old finished just outside the top-10 in the previous Sunshine Ladies Tour event, the SuperSport Ladies Challenge.

On Wednesday, Hutchinson-Key did the bulk of her scoring in a fantastic run of four birdies in five holes from the 14th.

For Floyd, the back nine (her front) was also the time to capitalise.

“Today was a good day, I hit the ball really nicely and gave myself lots of opportunities, which you have to grab when you can. This course definitely suits us big-hitters, it’s always open and you can let go a bit. I was normally hitting seven-iron into the greens,” Floyd said.

“I didn’t give myself as much opportunity on the front nine, but I pulled through in the end, to finish with a tap-in birdie was really nice. I made two silly mistakes that cost me birdies, but that’s okay, you just have to move on. You need to keep level-headed and not get ahead of yourself.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour golfers showed their talents in impressive fashion on Wednesday at the oblong Blue Valley Golf Estate, despite the heat, with 27 of the 61-strong field finishing under-par. The increased opportunities provided by the tour are clearly paying off, and are attracting strong international competition, and it is thanks to partners like Fidelity ADT.

Wahl Bartmann, the CEO of Fidelity Services Group, said “As Southern Africa’s largest integrated security solutions provider, we are committed to uplifting and supporting women’s professional sport. Our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour allows us to show our support tangibly and help create more opportunities for women in sport.” 

Renier von Zeuner, the Group Sponsorship Manager, added “We have been involved with the SA Open, as well as the Senior Tour, for a number of years, so adding a Sunshine Ladies Tour event to our portfolio is a tremendous privilege. We are honoured to contribute to the work done by the Sunshine Ladies Tour team, and incredibly proud of our group’s commitment to women’s sport.”

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