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Ken Borland


Floyd’s game and mentality keep improving as she claims the lead

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

KEMPTON PARK, Ekurhuleni – Young Kiera Floyd’s game and mentality seemingly improves with every event as she fired a wonderful five-under-par 67 on Thursday to claim the lead after the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Absa Ladies Invitational at Serengeti Estates.

Floyd has produced back-to-back top-10 finishes in her last two tournaments and also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt before an 84 in the final round saw her slip down to a tie for 15th place. The 19-year-old is also playing at her home course at Serengeti and there is certainly a lot of expectation that the prodigy can notch up her breakthrough professional win this week.

She successfully managed that external pressure, and also composed herself brilliantly after an unfortunate double-bogey at the 122m par-three fifth hole, not dropping another shot as she finished with seven birdies in all. Three of those came in her first four holes, before her mishap on the first par-three, and then a birdie on the par-five eighth was followed by three more on the back nine.

“I know there is a lot of expectation on me this week and I know there are a lot of people who want me to do well here, but I put all that to the side. I just played like I had not played the course before, I started like it was a fresh round on a new course this morning,” Floyd said.

“And I was very happy with the way I played. The double-bogey was a bit unlucky because I hit my tee shot into a bunker where there was no sand, and then played a bit of ping-pong over the green.

“But I came back nicely and I am really happy with my performance. Off the tee and my putting were the best parts of my game, I sank a few nice ones, which definitely helps. It was not easy out there, but I gave myself a lot more opportunities to make birdie. But it is just the first round and I need to keep going,” Floyd said.

The 2022 SA Women’s Strokeplay champion is one stroke ahead of fellow South African Casandra Alexander, who provided the sort of birdie-birdie finish to her round that had the spectators recording the action on their cellular phones.

The 24-year-old Alexander’s 68 also included a double-bogey, at the par-five eighth, but she immediately pulled a stroke back by making a birdie at the par-three ninth. She was level-par at the turn, but birdies at the 11th and 15th holes, and then her two threes to finish saw Alexander soar up the leaderboard.

In a momentous day in this season’s Sunshine Ladies Tour, every place in the top-five is filled by a South African, breaking the overseas dominance that has been apparent in the previous four events.

Perennial winner Lee-Anne Pace, Tara Griebenow and Stacy Bregman all shot 70s on Thursday to share third place. Another South African, Nicole Garcia, was leading on four-under through 10 holes, but she struggled to a 39 coming home, finishing her round on the front nine, to join a dozen other golfers on level-par 72.

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