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Ken Borland



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.

SA prodigy among a trio of leaders 0

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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