Fire and Ice lead Serengeti Team Champs
Golf may not be the most popular sport in France, yet French golf fans flocked to the Le Golf National for the Ryder Cup last year and it’s the French who led the revolution as team golf made its first appearance on the Sunshine Ladies Tour on Tuesday.
Marion ‘Fire’ Duvernay and Flora ‘Ice’ Peuch were untouchable in the opening round of the inaugural R100 000 Serengeti Team Championship.
Taking advantage of the Betterball format, the French duo racked up no less than seven birdies and fired two eagles at the Jack Nicklaus Signature Course at Serengeti Estates.
A total score of 46 points propelled Duvernay and Peuch to the top of the leaderboard and they will start Wednesday’s final round with a 3-point cushion.
English pair Ellie Givens and former Tshwane Ladies Open champion Kiran Matharu edged out South Africa’s Ivanna Samu and Lauren Taylor from England by 1 point for second, while another French national – two-time Ladies European Tour winner Anne-Lise Caudal – and her South African partner Bertine Faber collaborated for 41 points to finish fourth.
The class of 2019 also impressed in their second start on the local circuit.
Johannesburg rookies Chiara Contomathios and Kelsey Nicholas combined for 40 points, as did first-timers Brittney Fay-Berger from KwaZulu-Natal and Benoni golfer Casandra Hall, who were flawless around the championship layout.
Former Sunshine Ladies Tour winners Tandi Mc Callum and Kim Williams made it a three-way tie for fifth when they rallied with five birdies over their last nine holes.
The early clubhouse target belonged to amateur pair Kim de Klerk from Mossel Bay and GolfRSA Elite Squad member Kiera Floyd from Benoni, who also fired the opening salvo. They were overhauled by Contomathios and Nicholas until the French pair hit their stride.
“Marion and I both played our own games, but we always had each other’s backs. We dovetailed incredibly well,” said Golf De Valescure’s Peuch. “I contributed birdies at three, seven and 15 and I hit it to six feet at the eighth to have an eagle chance, but she denied me…her putter was on fire”
Duvernay birdied two and five, but left her approach into the par five well short of the pin.
“I had 25-foot left for eagle, but Flora was close, so I guided the ball towards the cup,” said the Evian Resort golfer. “And it dropped. That’s the beauty of this format.”
The French woman notched two more gains at nine and 11 and pencilled a second three on their card with an eagle at the par five 15th, followed with another birdie at 16.
“It’s a great golf course and you can score well if you hit it in the right spots,” said Duvernay. “We both hit it great from tee to green and we made the most of our chances. We had only the one bogey. We didn’t really look at our score, but I had a feeling that we were doing well.”
Winning the tandem won’t earn them Investec Property Order of Merit points, but the French pair are still going all out for glory.
“We are playing for the trophy, the honour and the prize money,” said Peuch. “We love coming here.
“It’s a great tour. It is very well run, and we are treated really well by the players, the staff and the South Africans. It will be a great honour for us to go home as Sunshine Ladies Tour winners.”
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Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.
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