Saturday, 9 April 2011
RUSTENBURG, North West (9 April 2010) – The country’s top two contenders will go head-to-head at the seventh Sanlam SA Women’s Amateur Golf Championship at Rustenburg Golf Club this week.
Smooth-swinging Kim Williams (pictured), ranked number one, and South Africa’s number two, Iliska Verwey, have both underlined their good form in the run-up to the country’s premier women’s amateur tournament.
Defending champion Williams was the only player to complete last year’s Stroke Play tournament under par. The Gauteng North golfer posted rounds of 69-75-70 for a two-under-par 214 total to claim a four shot victory. Then she disposed of Namibian number one Bonita Bredenhann 6 & 4 in the Match Play to win the coveted “double”.
Williams continued to make her mark by winning four more titles in 2010 and finished the season as the top ranked player in the country for the third time since 2007.
Picking up where she left off, Williams began her 2010 campaign with back-to-back stroke play victories at the Eastern Cape and Border Championships.
Although two victories and two runner-up spots in four starts is not a bad start to the year, Williams says would trade them all for a successful title defence this week. It is Craddock’s Verwey that has her worried.
Verwey won the Eastern Cape Match Play, the Western Province Match Play and Stroke Play and the double at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Championships.
“Iliska has been kicking my butt all season,” said the South African number one. “Her mantle is stacked already and we’re only in April. Seriously though, Iliska is a tough cookie.
“She keeps you on your toes. And she is teeing off with the momentum of those back-to-back double victories; that’s why I think she is one of the toughest competitors this week.”
While Verwey is undoubtedly one of the in-form players this week, there are a few more dark horses to watch out for, Williams warned.
“You can pick anyone of the girls in the top 10 and beyond,” she said.
Williams said that Alana van Greunen comes back to the Rustenburg layout with the positive memories of winning the North West Championship in March and Bertine Strauss, the local favourite and winner of the Border Championship Match Play, has the advantage of playing at her home course.
“Henrietta Frylinck, Nicole Becker, Tiffany Avern-Taplin and Michaela Fletcher are strong competitors,” she said. “This is our national amateur championship; everyone will bring their A-game because this is the one title we all want to win.”
Williams last played the course in March. She finished fourth in the North West Championships.
She does feel there is a degree of pressure on her.
“I’m playing pretty well, but I will have to lift my game this week,” she said after her practice round today. “The course is playing pretty much the same as in March. I like the way it’s laid out, so I’m looking forward to a good week.”
If Williams is half as dominant as she was last year, it will be tough to stop her.