Mistry fired up for Jabra Ladies Classic
Randpark amateur Kajal Mistry is targeting a winning performance in the inaugural Jabra Ladies Classic following her fifth low-amateur result of the season in the Investec SA Women’s Open on Saturday.
The 18-year-old GolfRSA Elite Squad player wants to give it one last push in her final Sunshine Ladies Tour start to try and convert two runner-up finishes to victory at Glendower Golf Club.
“Glendower is a very tough course, but I’ve always enjoyed playing there,” said Mistry.
“I played my SA Women’s Amateur Stroke Play Championships at Glendower when I was 14 years old and I tied for 21st. That week taught me a lot. You have to think your way around this course, stay patient and wait for birdies. And to keep it in play. It’s a tight course and very demanding, so you can’t let your focus drop for a minute.”
Mistry began the season with the goal of finishing inside the top 10 of the Order of Merit, but after a tie for 30th at Westlake last Saturday that saw her lift the Jackie Mercer Trophy as the leading amateur for a fifth successive week, she leapfrogged reigning SA Women’s Masters champion Lejan Lewthwaite for second spot on the Investec Property Fund Order of Merit.
“I originally targeted a top 10 finish in the rankings, but I’ve reset my goal to top three,” said Mistry.
“I never ever expected to do so well on the Sunshine Ladies Tour; it’s been a massive confidence boost for my game going forward. I would have loved to have a go at winning the rankings, but I am going to miss the last event (Joburg Ladies Open).
“I am playing the Western Province Amateur next week, so the Jabra Ladies Classic is my last chance. I would love to finish with a win.”
Mistry rose to the number one spot in the Womens Golf South Africa Open Amateur rankings in December 2016 and never dropped outside top two until the middle of last year. Golf took a backseat as the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation member made her matric year a priority.
Having secured a golf scholarship to the University of Arkansas, the chance to mix it up the country’s top professional golfers and international competitors on the Sunshine Ladies Tour this year before she heads to the States has been a huge learning curve.
Mistry played alongside Lee-Anne Pace in the season-opening Canon Sunshine Ladies Tour Open at Irene and was paired with the former LPGA winner again when the duo tied for the lead in the second round of the Cape Town Ladies Open at Royal Cape two weeks ago.
“I learned a lot from Kim Williams and Lejan Lewthwaite during the SA Women’s Masters and I feel comfortable out there with the pros,” said Mistry. “I have been surprised at how easy it has been to build relationships with the pros.
“I have been learning a lot from watching them, especially around course management. They are easy to talk to and always keen to give advice. Players like Kim, Nicole Garcia and Nobuhle Dlamini, who were top amateurs in their time, didn’t have a Sunshine Ladies Tour to cut their teeth on. I am really thankful that we have this opportunity. It’s going to stand us in good stead going forward.”
Mistry will have her job cut out if she hopes to edge out the field for glory this week.
The Jabra Ladies Classic is the second new addition to the Sunshine Ladies Tour schedule and the R200 000 event comes with an exciting incentive for the winner.
The champion – or the first non-exempt Ladies European Tour thereafter up to the 20th finisher – will be granted a spot in the Jabra Ladies Open at the Evian Resort Golf Club in May.
With the chance to tee it up in this Ladies European Tour event, where winner and runner-up will gain starts in two Majors, the AIG Women’s British Open and the Evian Championship, the professionals lining up this week will definitely raise their game.
Current Investec Property Fund Order of Merit leader Nobuhle Dlamini from Swaziland will spearhead the challenge at Glendower, while last year’s points list winner Stacy Bregman leads the local contenders alongside Lewthwaite, Williams and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Tandi McCallum.
Some of the foreign campaigners expected to rise to the occasion are the 2019 SuperSport Ladies Challenge champion Jane Turner from Scotland, rising Swedish stars Emma Westin and Moa Folke, Serengeti Team Championship winners Marion Duvernay and Flora Peuch from France and compatriot Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, and former Sunshine Ladies Tour winner Kiran Matharu from England.
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HASHTAGS – #jabraladiesclassic
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OTHER – #buildingwomenchampions #itstartshere #empoweringwomensgolf
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the Sunshine Ladies Tour and WPGA.
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