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Floyd’s game and mentality keep improving as she claims the lead 0

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.

Floyd surely not far from breakthrough victory given recent form 0

Posted on July 01, 2024 by Ken

Talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week’s Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads her to her first professional title.

Floyd has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied-15th.

And the good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5688m course.

“I’ve been playing Serengeti for many years and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes, which can make it a make-or-break situation. Just none of the holes are the same, there’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too,” Floyd says.

“It’s not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season, for me it is special, I really like the layout and it has its own way of playing it.

“I’m feeling really confident, I’m playing really nicely at the moment. The course is a bit longer, which suits me because I am a long hitter. But I still have to play well, I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course,” Floyd says.

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game, and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements. 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 six top-10 finishes on tour.

But on a course with so many different layers of difficulty, she has identified staying calm during the inevitable tough times as the key element of her game that needs to improve for her to make that next step into the winner’s circle as a professional.

“I’ve struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent, put both nines together. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the ‘W’, just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens,” Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway at Serengeti on Thursday.

But there will be other winners providing a stiff challenge in the R1.2 million event as well, such as seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany’s Helen Kreuzer and India’s Tvesa Malik, already winners on tour this season, as well as strong South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has not finished outside the top-14 yet this campaign.

One could tell Venter was poised for big things … and she delivers with Royal Cape win 0

Posted on June 07, 2024 by Ken

CAPE TOWN – Judging by her two previous appearances on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, one could tell young Gabrielle Venter was poised for big things and the 19-year-old duly delivered on Friday when she won the Standard Bank Ladies Open in a thrilling battle with the experienced Kylie Henry at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Venter had finished tied-fifth in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and second in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge earlier this season, and on Friday she showed her enormous talent and mettle by shooting a superb four-under-par 70 to finish on nine-under-par.

It was enough to overtake 37-year-old Henry, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, who had led after the first two rounds but could only post a level-par 74 on the final day, finishing on eight-under.

While the victory might not have been a big surprise for followers of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Venter said afterwards she had no inkling her maiden professional win was on the cards until she was on the 18th green.

“Honestly I was not focusing on the win at all because if you do that too much then you lose focus on the actual golf,” Venter said. “So I didn’t know what the scores were at all, I was just focused on my own game. I felt my game was in place to win, but if it didn’t happen then I would just wait for the next time.

“The first time I saw a scoreboard was when I was putting on 18, I missed the birdie putt and then you expect the best from your opponent and I was ready for a playoff with Kylie.”

While Henry had the misfortune to bogey the last two holes, she had played a full part in cultivating an exceptional final day in the R600 000 event. The Scotswoman recovered from a a double-bogey on the par-four first hole, while Venter made birdie to immediately catch up with the leader; Henry regained the sole lead with a birdie on the third hole and she matched Venter’s four on the par-five fifth.

The lead switched on the sixth hole, however, as Venter birdied the par-four and Henry dropped a shot. Both golfers birdied the par-five seventh, but they were level again when the Bloemfontein Golf Club representative three-putted the par-three eighth.

But she regained the lead with a birdie on the ninth, before Henry pulled level again with a birdie on the par-five 11th. Venter struck back with a birdie on the 12th, but another three-putt on a par-three followed as both golfers left the 13th green on nine-under-par.

Henry birdied the par-five 14th to lead again, but Venter’s birdie-bogey-par finish was enough to pip the Investec Order of Merit leader, who closed par-bogey-bogey.

While Venter’s pure ball-striking off the tee deserted her a bit in the closing stages, she made a lot of key putts and her short game was amazing. While the back nine was a little unkind to her, she showed impressive patience to pull off the win.

“It was quite a struggle on the back nine, but for the entire season my all-round game has been good. This win really means a lot to me because it puts me into a position to win the order of merit, which I really want to do.

“I will also take a lot of confidence into the co-sanctioned events – the SA Open and the Joburg Open – and I’ve learnt that every shot counts at this level. Now I know I can win here. This tour is a great tool to do well enough to be invited overseas and play against the best,” Venter said.

Emie Peronnin of France shared second with Henry after shooting a fantastic 70 that kept the pressure on the two leaders to not slip up.

Henry the frontrunner in final round at Royal Cape 0

Posted on June 06, 2024 by Ken

Cape Town – Scotland’s Kylie Henry will be the frontrunner in the final round of the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club, after she posted a three-under-par 71 on Thursday to stretch her lead to three shots ahead of the last day on Friday.

The 37-year-old is on eight-under-par overall after two rounds on the par-74, 5738 metre Royal Cape layout. Henry came from two strokes back to win the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt a month ago, but her previous Ladies European Tour victory came at the 2014 German Open when she led after the second and third rounds, her three straight 64s giving her record tallies for 36 and 54 holes on that tour.

A pair of South Africans are once again Investec Order of Merit leader Henry’s closest challengers, but now it is Casandra Alexander and Gabrielle Venter, who both shot 69s on Thursday to move to five-under-par.

Shawnelle de Lange (71) and Lora Assad (72) were second and third after the first round, but De Lange shot 77 in the second round to slip back to level-par, and Assad made 78 to slide to two-over.

SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Tvesa Malik is on four-under-par in a tie for fourth with France’s Emie Peronnin and Englishwoman Florentyna Parker. They all shot three-under 71s on Thursday.

De Lange initially kept in contact with Henry, but then a seven on the par-five 16th and a bogey on the par-four 17th saw her fall away.

Henry battled a bit to find her best game on the front nine, going out in level-par as she dropped shots on the first, seventh and eighth holes. But she also made back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes, and then again on nine and 10. The two-time Ladies European Tour winner’s beautiful ball-striking then enabled her to birdie the par-five 14th and 16th holes, as well as the par-three 16th for her to pull a little clear of the chasing pack.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

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